INDIAN ARMY – THE SYMBOL OF COURAGE, VALOR AND SACRIFICE
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January 15, 1949: Field Marshal K M. Kariappa, the first Indian Commander-in-Chief, took over from a British General. Since then this day is being celebrated as Indian Army Day.
What is the significance of this day for the country and for the army?
Though we got independence in 1947, the senior British officers continued to command the Army, Navy and Air force for two years. It was on this day that Kariappa took over the reins of Army from a British officer. This is symbolic of complete indianisation of the army.
The Indian Army is a unique organisation. It is a “microscopic India”. It is secular, apolitical and maintains unity in diversity. It is the only army in the region which has never attempted to undermine the civilian authority. It stands on a good regimental system based on the ethos of service before self and courage & valour.
The Indian Army has two basic roles. The first is the external role: defence of the frontiers. The other is internal security. Over 1/3rd of the army is deployed in J&K and North East. In these areas the army is involved in counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency. Also, as a part of internal security it aids the civil authority in natural disasters like floods and earthquakes etc.
It was 45 years since India fought a war on itself. The last was 1971 Bangladesh liberation war. The motivation for the Indian army to fight a conventional essentially comes from the training to tackle counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism operations. Training during peace time saves blood during the war. The major part in motivation is played by the leadership of the units.
It is the bounded duty of every government to ensure readiness and operational preparedness of the forces; this depends on modernisation as well as having the wherewithal to fight a conventional war for a limited period of 20-25 days.
In the area of human resource management, this year a veteran’s organisation has been formally set up to look after the needs of ex-service men. The fundamental of the army is the soldier. He is the man behind the machine. The leadership has to make sure that soldier’s dignity and welfare are taken care of.