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Territorial army: The Terriers

THE TERRITORIAL Army (TA) is part of Army and its present role is to relieve the Regular Army from static duties and assist civil administration in dealing with natural calamities and maintenance of essential services in situations where life of the communities is affected or the security of the country is threatened and to provide units for regular Army as and when required.

india Updated: Jun 05, 2006 14:45 IST
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THE TERRITORIAL Army (TA) is part of Army and its present role is to relieve the Regular Army from static duties and assist civil administration in dealing with natural calamities and maintenance of essential services in situations where life of the communities is affected or the security of the country is threatened and to provide units for regular Army as and when required.

Raised in 1920 through Indian Territorial Act of 1920, it was organised into two wings namely - ‘The Auxiliary Force’ for Europeans & Anglo-Indians and ‘The Indian Territorial Force for Indian volunteers. After Independence Territorial Army Act was passed in 1948 and the Territorial Army was formally inaugurated by the first Indian Governor General C Rajagopalachari on October 9 1949. This day is celebrated as TA Day every year.

Presently the Territorial Army has strength of approximately 40000 persons comprising of Departmental TA units such as Railway, IOC, ONGC, telecommunication and general hospital (TA) and the non-departmental TA units of Infantry Battalion (TA) and Ecological Battalion (TA) affiliated to various Infantry Regiments.

The TA units were actively involved in 1962, 1965 and 1971 operations. The “Terriers” have also taken part in, OP RAKSHAK, OP RHINO, OP BAJRANG in Northeast, OP PAWAN in Srilanka, OP VIJAY and OP PARAKRAM in J&K and displayed their efficiency and sincerity. Departmental units came to the aid of the civil authorities during industrial unrest and natural calamities, most famous being earthquake in Latoor (Maharashtra), Uttarkashi in Uttaranchal and the super cyclone in Orissa.

The ecological units have arrested man made environmental degradation by planting 2.5 crore trees over 20,000 hectare of land in Mussoori Hills & Pithoragarh (UP), Bikaner & Jaisalmer (Rajasthan) and ravines of Chambal in Madhya Pradesh, including Bhatti Mines at Delhi.

Men of TA have taken active part in various adventure activities, famous one being scaling of Mt Tengchen Khang (6010 Mtr) in West Sikkim by joint Indo-British TA Mountaineering Expedition in May 1998 and Mt Kokthang (6147 Mtr) twice in October 1982 and September 1994.

The officers and men of the Territorial Army have been decorated for their gallantry and distinguished services. So far they have earned 2 Ati Vishisht Seva Medal (AVSM), 15 VSM, 5 Vir Chakra, 13 Sena Medal, 25 Mentioned-in-Dispatches and 43 COAS commendation card.

The Territorial Army initially had various types of units such as Armoured Regiment (TA), Infantry Battalion (TA), Air Defence (TA), Medium Artillery Regiment (TA), Engineers Field Park Company (TA), Signal Regiment (TA), EME Workshop (TA), Coast Battery (TA), ASC GT Company (TA), ASC Composite Platoon (TA) and AMC Field Ambulance (TA). Post 1972 most of these units have now converted to regular army except Infantry Battalion (TA).

All Indian nationals between 18 to 42 years having prescribed physical and medical standards are eligible for Commission. Commission in the Infantry TA is offered twice in a year depending on vacancies. Notification to this effect is published in leading newspapers and Employment News in January/February and June/July every year.

Candidates are screened by a preliminary interview board held at all TA Group HQ Commands. Successful candidates are then required to appear before Services Selection Board and Medical Board before final selection. Ex-officers are selected for commission by an Army HQ Interview Board and Medical Board.

Did you know?
Four consecutive generations of an Ahlawat family have served in the Skinner’s Horse, the Armoured Regiment raised in 1803. Risaldar Maj.

(Hon. Lt.) Sheo Chand (1886-1918), his son Capt. Daryao Singh (1918-46), grandson Lt. Col. Shamsher Singh Ahlawat (1955-82) and great-grandson Sandeep Singh (commissioned on June 12, 1993).

Another Ahlawat family has had three generations serving the 4 JAT Regiment. Subedar Major (Hon. Capt.) Mauji Ram (1907-44), OBI class I, his son Major Ram Singh (1941-70) saw action in Malaysia during the World War and was captured at Singapore.

Later, he was part of UN Peacekeeping Mission at Congo. Lt. Col. Rajinder Singh Ahlawat was commissioned in 1976 and was part of the IPKF Srilankan operations. Interestingly, Mauji Ram’s painting by the then regimental commander’s wife has been taken as the symbol of the idol JAT recruit.

First Published: Jun 05, 2006 14:45 IST