On January 15, 1949, Lieutenant General K. M. Cariappa took over from General Sir Francis Butcher, the last British Commander-in-Chief of India, thus becoming the first Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Army. In order to honour this historic occasion and the brave men and women who serve and gave up their lives for the nation, January 15 is marked as Army Day every year.
The day is celebrated in the national capital of New Delhi as well as in the headquarters in the form of parades and other military shows. In 2019 India will be celebrating its 71st Army Day. Army Day marks a day to salute the valiant soldiers who sacrificed their lives to protect the country and its citizens.
Army Chief General Bipin Rawat said the Indian Army will continue to take strong action to deal with terrorist activities and infiltration along the Pakistan border. He also goes on to add that India’s neighbor along the western border was actively supporting and aiding terrorist groups and the armed forces will continue to deal with them effectively.
President Ram Nath Kovind, Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have extended their greetings to the soldiers and their families on Army Day. The President said soldiers are nation’s pride and the sentinels of liberty. He said, citizens sleep securely knowing that the soldiers are ever awake and ever vigilant.
The Prime Minister in his address on the 71st Army Day bows to the soldiers for their determination and relentless sacrifice for the nation. President Ram Nath Kovind said soldiers are the nation’s pride and they are the reason citizens sleep securely at night.
Here are some facts about the Indian Army that deserve your attention:
- India controls the highest battlefield in the world, the Siachen glacier, at 5000 metres above Mean Sea Level (MSL)
- Indian soldiers are considered among the very best in high altitude and mountain warfare.
- The Indian Army’s horsed cavalry regiments is among one of the last three regiments in the world.
- The credit to building the highest bridge in the world goes to the Indian Army. Built in 1982, the Bailey Bridge located in Ladkah valley was built by the Indian Army.
- The Military Engineering services (MES) is one of the biggest construction agencies in India. The Khardungla Pass which is the highest motorable road in the world and the magnetic Hill in Leh are all testimonies to their service.
- The Indian Army holds the record for the highest number of combatants surrendered during a war. This occurred during the Indo Pakistan War in 1971 where 93000 combatants of the Pakistani Army surrendered to the Indian Army.
- Popular celebrities are often rewarded honorary ranks in the armed forces. To name a few: Sachin Tendulkar holds the rank of Honorary Group Captain in the Indian Air Force., M.S Dhoni is an honorary Lt Col in the Indian Army.