We’ve all seen the occasional movie about the Indian army, the movies often depict the gory parts of being in the army and fail to highlight the essence and many aspects of our Army we must learn to be proud of. Here are a few facts of our military which might tingle that dormant patriot who lives in all of us,even if we are ex INDIANS.
1. The Indian army is the largest voluntary army in the world.
That’s right. The Indian army doesn’t need to enforce employment rules as it is in a position to pick from their large pool of applicants every year.
2. The Indian army built one of the highest bridges in the world, the Bailey bridge.
The Bailey bridge, located in the ladakh valley between the Dras and Suru rivers in the Himalayas, is one of the highest bridges ever constructed in the world. It was built by the Indian army in August 1982.
3. Controls the highest battlefield in the world, in Siachen.
The Indian Army controls the highest battle ground in the world in Siachen (6000+ m). It deploys around 3000 troops round the year in Siachen at the edge of a glacier in sub-human conditions and holds a perfect record in all conflicts in that region.
4. The highest rank is field marshal.
Although the highest rank in the Indian army is the general, there exists an honorary rank above it known as the field marshal. Only 2 officers of the Indian army were conferred with this rank, one is Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw and the other is Field Marshal Kodandera Madappa Cariappa.
5. Ranks 3rd the world.
The Indian army is the second largest in the world behind China and the 3rd best army following USA and China respectively.
6. Param Veer Chakra, the highest military honour.
Three of the seven living recipients of the Param Veer Chakra Award in one picture: Yogendra Singh Yadav, Bana Singh and Sanjay Kumar
Param Veer chakra is the highest military decoration, awarded for the highest degree of valor and self-sacrifice in the presence of the enemy
7. Indian army had its inception in 1776.
The oldest armored regiment of Indian Army is ‘The President’s Bodyguards established in 1773. They are a mounted Calvary regiment, who are trained paratroopers.
8. Foreign military installations.
Indian Army has an Air force Base in Tajikistan (Farkhor Air Base) and another one is in negotiations with Afghanistan.
9. Celebrities are sometimes offered honorary military ranks in the army.
Celebrities such as MS Dhoni and Sachin Tendulkar were bestowed with honorary ranks in the military. While Sachin was awrded with the rank of an honoray captain in the IAF, MS Dhoni is an honorary lt. Colonel in the army.
10. No caste-based provisions.
Unlike other government organizations and institutions in India, there are no provisions for reservations based on caste or religion. Everyone is taken on the basis of merit and their fitness in all aspects during recruitment.
11. The prestigious ranks.
Not many of us are familiar with the prestigious ranks and hierarchy our military follows and maintains. A few of them include General, lieutenant general, major general, brigadier, colonel, lieutenant colonel, major and captain in hierarchical order.
12. Indian soldiers are considered to be one among the very best in high altitude and mountain warfare.
Indigenous multi-utility helicopter HAL Dhruv during a joint military exercise with the U.S and Indian troops.
The Indian army’s High Altitude Warfare School (HAWS) is one of the most elite military training centers in the world and is frequented by Special Ops teams from the U.S, U.K & Russia. U.S Special Forces trained at HAWS before their deployment during the invasion of Afghanistan.
13. India covertly tested its nuclear arsenal in the early 1970s and late 1990s without the CIA even knowing what was happening.
14. Operation Rahat of 2013 was one of the biggest civilian rescue operations ever carried out in the world.
Indian Air Force successfully evacuated civilians affected by the floods in Uttarakhand in 2013 using helicopters. The Indian Air Force airlifted a total of about 20000 people during the first phase of the operation. They flied a total of 2140 sorties and dropped a total of 382400 kg of relief material and equipment.
15. The Ezhimala Naval Academy in Kerala is the largest of its kind in Asia.
16. The Indo Pakistan War of 1971 came to end with the surrender of about 93,000 combatants and officials of the Pakistani Army.
The largest number of “Prisoner Of War” (POWs) taken into custody since World War II. The war resulted in the creation of the independent state of Bangladesh.
17. In the Battle of Longewala, 120 Indian men fought off 2000 Pakistani soldiers backed by 45 tanks and 1 mobile infantry brigade. There were only two casualties on the Indian side.
A burnt-out Pakistani T-59 tank hit during the battle.
18. The Military Engineering Services (MES) is one of the biggest construction agencies in India and is behind some of the most awesome roads and bridges ever to have been built.
The highest motorable road in the world the Khardungla Pass, the Magnetic Hill in Leh, etc are a few examples.
By Khuran Singh
Images are author’s self-contribution.