“You have never lived until
You have almost died,
And for those who choose to fight,
Life has a special flavor,
The protected will never know!!!” -Capt R Subramanium Kirti Chakra (Posth)
Happy Army Day!
Saluting the Indian Army, to which I owe a lot in my life, I have put together some amazing facts for everyone to read. The more I dug into my research & reading, the more I found…I can’t really do justice to what this proud institution has done for Indians & for India. This is merely an attempt to educate the people out there…
- Indian army has close to 1.3 million soldiers, making it the second largest army in the world. Numbers do matter.
- Indian Army is located in some of the most inhospitable terrains of the world and have never buckled under pressure.
- Every scenario encountered in these terrains have been battled and faced by our armed forces.
- It is a united army not based on any social, economic, religious or cultural divide.
- We are considered to amongst the best in high altitude & mountain warfare.
- We are regarded as the best army to deal with counter insurgency operations.
- Indian Army controls the highest battlefield in the world – Siachen Glacier.
- We have fought four major wars and helped in the creation of an independent Bangla Desh.
- The Indo-Pakistan War of 1971 ended with the surrender of about 93,000 combatants and officials of the Pakistani Army. This is the largest number of POWs taken into custody since World War II.
- The Portuguese ruled Goa for more than 461 years until 1961. They refused to hand over Goa to India even after the Indian independence. The locals were resisting the Portuguese, but even after many diplomatic efforts, Portugal did not alter their stand. in 1961, India with a massive force outmatched the Portuguese force 10:1 and annexed Goa in just 36 hours.
- Battle of Longewala was fought in December 1971 between India and Pakistan, in which just 120 Indian Soldiers with 1 jeep mounted M40 recoil-less rifle held the fort against 2000 Pakistani soldiers backed by 45 tanks and 1 mobile infantry brigade. Indian soldiers held their grounds the whole night giving the Pakistanis the impression that there were around 500 Indians soldiers. When the fire was brought from the sky by Indian Air force in the morning, Pakistani soldiers fled their positions leaving behind 34 tanks.
- The Indian Army built the highest bridge in the world. The Bailey Bridge is the highest bridge in the world. It is located in the Ladakh valley between Dras and Suru rivers in the Himalayan mountains. It was built by the Indian Army in August 1982.
- The Indian army has a horsed cavalry regiment. It is one of the last three remaining of such regiments in the world.
- The Indian Army is respected because it is one army that knows, understands and fights terror on its own soil, daily. We have combat commanders that actually experience others shoot at them, and soldiers who actually experience the sheer chaos when thousands of men and machines try to kill each other.
- Indian troop commanders develop doctrine-strategy-operations-tactics based on their actual combat experience.
- India’s unique positioning allows its army to enjoy some of the best of what both West and East have to offer.
The Indian Army is a powerful one, not just in terms of numbers, but also in its resilience and ability to handle stress. Our soldiers complete a minimum of 2 years tour of duty as opposed to the American system of 6 months. I have always wondered whether soldiers from other armies would actually survive a 3 month tenure in Siachen?
Leadership in the army by and large focuses on the psychological & emotional well being of the soldiers. Yes, I know the question of soldier suicides is bound to come up here. Very rarely is this work related. Most of these cases are related to problems at home pertaining to spouse, family feuds & financial dealings. It is here that the rich tradition of regimental life has stood the test of time and the strong bonding woven in an army unit, results in high levels of camaraderie. For those interested in reading more about this, I would recommend Lt Gen Ata Hasnain’s blog – http://www.ibnlive.com/blogs/india/lt-gen-syed-ata-hasnain/why-the-indian-army-handles-stress-better-than-all-other-armies-14405-1153882.html
Indian Army has its share of problems and challenges. However, I do not think this is the day to highlight those. Today, we celebrate the 68th Indian Army Day and raise a toast to all those who fight to keep us alive.
When you see a soldier…
Be sure to shake his or her hand,
Let that soldier know you’re grateful,
For the protection the military affords our land.
But most of all express your thanks,
For every soldier’s personal sacrifice.
In order to serve our country,
They risk their entire lives!
Jai Hind ki Sena!