India celebrates its 75th Army Day: Here's everything you need to know
Every year India celebrates Army Day on January 15 to commemorate Field Marshal Kodandera M. Cariappa who became the first commander-in-chief of the Indian Army in 1949 replacing his British predecessor. This year the country is celebrating its 75th Army Day where for the first time the events will take place outside the national capital Delhi since they began over seven decades ago. The Army Day parade which is the main highlight of the day will be held in the Indian state Karnataka’s city of Bengaluru, “in order to give wider visibility and participation of citizens,” the Ministry of Defence, in a statement, in December.
Why is this day commemorated?
Celebrated across India, Army Day is dedicated to remembering those who fight relentlessly to protect our nation and its people. It also marks an important day which recognises army personnel and celebrates their achievements.
The day January 15, 1949 years after the country gained independence, signifies the formal taking over of the Indian Army formally known as the British Indian Army by its first Indian commander-in-chief Field Marshal Cariappa.
The British Indian Army under the administration of the British government was established in 1858. Field Marshal Cariappa who was a Lieutenant General at the time succeeded the last British Army Chief Officer, General Sir Francis Robert Roy Bucher on this day over 70 years ago. Therefore, this day is a significant one for India as despite gaining independence in 1947, we did not have an Indian commander-in-chief until 1949.
How is it celebrated?
Every year the celebrations are marked with several events on the day including the main Army Day parade which is typically held at the Cariappa Parade Ground in the Delhi Cantonment. In the weeks leading up to January 15, the Indian Army organises outreach programmes and other events like weapons and equipment displays, band performances, quiz competitions, and painting and essay writing competitions in schools and colleges and remote villages, across the nation.
Additionally, Sena medals and gallantry awards are also distributed on Army Day to recognise the achievements of army personnel.
Indian Army Day 2023
As mentioned earlier, this is the first time that this event of national importance is held outside the capital. Noting the significance of this change, the Defence Ministry, last month in a statement said, “While the conduct of this historical event at Bengaluru is in recognition of the valour, sacrifices and services of the people of Southern India for the nation, it is also an apt tribute to Field Marshal KM Cariappa who hails from Karnataka.”
This year’s Army Day parade is taking place at Madras Engineering Group (MEG) and Centre in Bengaluru with India’s Defence Minister Rajnath Singh as the chief guest. While the Chief of the Army Staff, General Manoj Pande would review the parade as well as present the gallantry awards. Additionally, preceding the parade, on early Sunday, he also laid a wreath and paid his respects to soldiers who lost their lives in service of the nation.
Addressing the media, earlier today, Major General Ravi Murugan, General Officer Commanding (GOC), Karnataka and Kerala sub-area, said that the Army Day parade this year will witness the participation of “eight marching contingents, including a horse-mounted contingent from the Army Service Corps and a military band composed of five regimental brass bands. Each of these contingents represents regiments with glorious histories and unique traditions.”
He added, “The Army Day Parade will be supported by a fly-past of the Army Aviation Dhruv and Rudra helicopters”. This year’s celebrations also took place under the supervision of the Indian Army’s Southern Command, which is headquartered in the state of Maharashtra’s city of Pune.
A day before the Army Day parade which was set to commence early Sunday, Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Anil Chauhan along with Army Chief Pande, Indian Air Force chief Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari and Navy Chief Admiral R Hari Kumar laid wreaths at National War Memorial to mark Army Day in Delhi to honour the bravehearts and pay homage to the fallen soldiers.
The parade while highlighting the Indian Army’s strength, efforts, and prowess will showcase its transformation into a technologically driven, lethal, and future-ready force. According to reports, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) unit will also be awarded for their exceptional performance, valour and meritorious service.
Additionally, several weapons and equipment of the Indian Army including Pinaka Rockets, 190 mm Bofors Guns, T-90 Tanks, and so on, will be on display. Furthermore, media reports suggest that the event will also feature skydiving by the paratroopers, a flypast by Army aviation helicopters, band displays, motorcycle stunts and so on, following the parade.
Indian PM, President, and Defence Minister extend greetings on Army Day
Earlier today, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the President of India, Droupadi Murmu, and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh took to Twitter and extended their best wishes to all army personnel, veterans and their families.