Army Day 2021: A look at some key dates in Indian defence history
India is observing its 73rd Army Day on Friday. On the occasion, Chief of defence staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat and chief of army staff (COAS) General Manoj Mukund Naravane extended their warm wishes to all army personnel and paid homage to soldiers who have sacrificed their lives in the line of duty.
India celebrates its military achievements and foundation days of its forces on various dates. Here’s a list of some such days:
1. Army Day (Jan15): This day commemorates General (later Field Marshal) KM Cariappa taking over as the first Commander-in-chief of the Indian Army from General Francis Butcher, in 1949. The Army Day parade takes places at the Cariappa parade ground in Delhi. Gallantry awards are also given on the day.
2. Coast Guard Day (Feb 1): The Indian Coast Guard (ICG) was established on February 1, 1977 on an “interim” basis. The force formally came into being on August 18, 1978. It is tasked with protecting India’s maritime interests and enforcing maritime law.
3. Kargil Vijay Diwas (July 26): On this day in 1999, the Indian Army recaptured all its outposts taken over by Pakistani intruders. The fourth of four wars between the two neighbours, it began in May of that year and ended with a decisive Indian win.
4. Air Force Day (Oct 8): The Indian Air Force (IAF) was established on October 8, 1932 as an auxiliary air force of the Royal Air Force (RAF). After partition of India into India and Pakistan, the Indian side retained the name of the Royal Indian Air Force (RIAF). The prefix “Royal” was removed in 1950 and the force was renamed as the present IAF.
5. Navy Day (Dec 4): The day commemorates the Indian Navy’s daring assault on its Pakistani counterpart during the 1971 war between the two nations. Called Operation Trident, the assault saw the Navy sink several Pakistani vessels and kill scores of Pakistan Navy personnel.
6. Armed Forces Flag Day (Dec 7): Celebrated on this date annually since 1949, the day is dedicated to collection of funds from the people of India for the welfare of the personnel of the Indian Armed Forces.
7. Vijay Diwas (Dec 16): On this day in 1971, the India-Pakistan war came to an end in less than two weeks, with over 93,000 soldiers of the Pakistan Army surrendering to India. The independent state of Bangladesh was born.