Army Day is celebrated on 15 January every year in India, in recognition of Lieutenant General K. M. Cariappa’s taking over as the first Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Army from General Sir Francis Butcher, the last British Commander-in-Chief of India, on 15 January 1949.
1. The Indian Army was formed in 1776, under the government of the East India Company in Kolkata.
2. The Indian Army has about 53 cantonments and 9 army bases, spread across India.
3. The Siachen Glacier, 5000 metres above sea level, is the highest battlefield in the world. And the Indian Army controls it.
4. The Indian Army is the biggest voluntary army in the world. To think that we have the maximum number of willing soldiers in the world is a matter of great pride.
5. The Military Engineering Services (MES) is one of the biggest construction agencies in India.
6. The Indian Army has a cavalry regiment. There are only 3 such regiments in the world.
7. Assam rifles, the oldest paramilitary force in India, was formed in 1835.
8. The Indian Army is one of the biggest troop contributors to the United Nations peace making operations.
9. The Baily Bridge is the highest bridge in the world, located in the Ladakh valley between the Dras and Suru rivers in the Himalayas. It was constructed by the Indian Army in 1982.
10. The President’s bodyguard is the oldest armoured regiment of the Indian Army. It was established in 1773, and is currently based in the Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi.
11. Soldiers of the Indian Army are considered among the best in jungle warfare. The Counter-insurgency and Jungle Warfare School is often visited by forces from the US, the UK, and Russia among others
12. India covertly tested its nuclear arsenal in the early 1970s and late 1990s without the CIA even knowing what was happening.
13. Unlike other government organisations and institutions in India, there are no provisions for reservations based on caste or religion.
14. In the Battle of Longewala, on which the famous Bollywood movie “Border” is based, there were only two casualties on the Indian side.
15. Operation Rahat (2013) was one of the biggest civilian rescue operations ever carried out in the world.
16. The Ezhimala Naval Academy in Kerala is the largest of its kind in Asia.
17.The Indian Air Force has an out-station base in Tajikistan and is seeking another in Afghanistan.
18. The Indo Pakistan War of 1971 came to end with the surrender of about 93,000 combatants and officials of the Pakistani Army.
19. Many popular celebrities are often awarded honorary ranks in the armed forces.