The biggest strength that lies within the Indian Army is the high virtues of valor and sacrifice among its soldiers. A great thing which adds up to the Indian Army’s strength is that India is a peace-loving country and it never wishes to conquer or trouble any foreign land. It is much more involved in developing and earning than to waste its resources in wars. The only issue that exists in this scenario is that the sacrifices which the Indian soldiers make are much underrated among the people for whom it has been made. We as a true Indian should pay them the respect that they truly deserve. Here is a list of 35 Amazing Facts About Indian Army
1. Indian Army ranks third in the world after US and China. Indian Army currently operates at a strength of 1,129,900 active personnel and 960,000 reserve personnel. Of those in reserve 160,000 are in the Indian Territorial Army; however, only 40,000 of those regularly report for duty. This makes the Indian Army the world’s largest standing volunteer army. The world’s highest standing army is with china and though US has a smaller army than the Chinese in terms of manpower, their high-end technical weaponry makes them the strongest.
2. Param Veer Chakra is the highest military honour in India. Only 21 soldiers have so far been awarded Param Veer Chakra, of which 14 were awarded posthumously. We did an article back about Top 10 Brave Soldiers of Indian Army and 8 of them were recipient of Param Veer Chakra.
3. Unlike other government organisations 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.
4. By the end of World War II Royal Indian Army (under British rule) became the largest volunteering army in the history with over 25,00,000 men serving in infantry, airforce and naval regiments over Africa, Asia and Europe. The losses incurred by Indian Army from WW2 were loss of 36,000 Indian servicemen, 34,354 wounded and 67,340 became prisoners of war.
5. Indian Army had its inception in 1776 under the government of East India Company at Kolkata.
6. Upon independence and subsequent partition of India, four of the 10 Gurkha regiments were transferred to the British Army. The rest of the British Indian Army was divided between the newly created nations of Republic of India and Republic of Pakistan.
7. In the last conventional war that Indian Army fought back in 1971, it engaged its opponent (Pakistan) on two fronts (West and East). The Indian army was so brutally effective that we managed to liberate an entire country (Bangladesh) in just 13 days flat and installed a civilian and democratic system of governance (which works to this date) in the least possible time. Compare this with the performance of US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan (12 years and counting). More than 90,000 (highest figure in the history of military warfare after WWII) Pakistani soldiers surrendered before the Indian army at the end of one of the shortest full scale war ever. All this happened in spite of the threat of Chinese and American invasion.
8. After independence, India fought four wars (1947 Indo-Pak War, 1962 Sino-India War, 1965 Indo-Pak War, 1971 Indo-Pak War), three border conflicts (1967 Sino-India conflict, 1984 Indo-Pak Siachen conflict, 1999 Indo-Pak Kargil conflict), inclusion of Hyderabad, liberation of Goa, Daman and Diu. Apart from conflicts and wars, Indian Army provided medical assistance during Korean War and has undertaken numerous UN Peacekeeping missions.
9. Of all the wars fought, Indian Army never faced defeat expects at the hands of PLA of China in 1962. This failure has been attributed not to the capabilities of Indian Army, but to the horrendous mistakes made by our then PM and defense minister. Instead of giving fully operational control to Indian Army, political top brasses tried to micromanage the situation from Delhi. They also refused to provide air support requested by our troops. Though Indian Army lacked a lot of support from the center, Indian soldiers made a lasting impression on the Chinese army. Later a top Chinese general said that courage and determination were the only things that the Indian soldiers didn’t lack in that war.
10. India has one of the biggest contributors to the UN in Peace Keeping Forces’ missions.
11. Indian Army’s Special Forces units called Para Commandos are considered among the best in the world. They have successfully completed numerous clandestine and covert operations within and outside India. They are extremely secretive (so secretive that it’s very difficult to find a lot of info about them) and highly feared by all kinds of oppositions it has seen.
12. To become a Royal marine, one can simply volunteer for the service and undergo training. But in case of Indian army, one has to go regular training, which lasts at least up to 49 weeks and then undergo a commando course training before the age of 30. After this they have an option to become proper commandos (paratroopers) or NSG, which then has a training regime of year or so.
13. Other special operations units worth mentioning are the Special Action Group (SAG) of the National Security Guards (NSG) under the supervision of Ministry of Home Affairs, and the Special Frontier Force (SFF) of the Research & Analysis Wing (RAW).
14. 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.
15. Assam Rifles, formed in 1835, is the oldest paramilitary force in India.
16. Indian army has a horsed cavalry regiment. It is among one of the last 3 such regiments in the world.
17. Indian Army has an Airforce Base in Tajakistan (Farkhor Air Base) and another one is in negotiations with Afghanistan. China so far has no foreign military installations.
18. Military Engineer Services is the largest construction agency in the country. In times of war, MES can provide accessory services such as military roads, water and electricity supply, drainage, refrigeration, furniture, required by the Army, Navy and Air Force in India like no other agency.
19. The Baily Bridge is the highest bridge in the world. It is located in the Ladakh valley between Dras and Suru rivers in the Himalayan mountains. It was built by the Indian Army in August 1982.
20. Border Roads Organisation staffed from Corps of Engineers of Indian Army has constructed a large number of roads in once inaccessible areas of the Himalayas, Rajasthan and North East States thereby significantly contributing to their economic development. BRO stepped in to restore the Farkhor Air Base in Tajikistan when no private builder came forward to complete the job.
21. Battle of Longewala was fought in December 1971 between India and Pakistan, in which just 120 Indian Soldiers with 1 jeep mounted M40 recoilless rifle held the fort against 2000 Pakistani soldiers backed by 45 tanks and 1 mobile infantry brigade. Indian soldiers held their grounds the whole night giving the Pakistanis the impression that there were around 500 Indians soldiers. When the fire was brought from the sky by Indian Airforce in the morning, Pakistani soldiers fled their positions leaving behind 34 tanks (one pictured above).
22. In what can be described a spectacular scene from the Hollywood movie 300, some 21 sikhs bravely fought against a 10000-14000 afghans in the Battle of Saragarhi in 1897. All 21 of them lost their lives, but they fought until their last breath. After they ran out of artillery, a fierce hand-to-hand battle ensued in which around 800 Afghans were killed.
23. Operation Polo was one of the first wars that the free India fought to avoid the breakup of the Indian Union. The biggest kingdom in India (Hyderabad) refused to join Indian Union and wanted to be a separate nation. 35000 Indian soldiers fought 22,000 soldiers of the Hyderabad Nizam (the then richest person in the world) and 200,000 irregulars. The war ended in just 5 days with 32 casualties on the Indian side and 3500 on the enemy side (with 4000 prisoners). Although the numbers were equally matched, the causalities for India vs the loss for Hyderabad was 1:100.
24. The Portuguese ruled Goa for more than 461 years until 1961. They refused to hand over Goa to India even after the Indian independence. The locals were resisting the Portuguese, but even after many diplomatic efforts, Portugal did not alter their stand. in 1961, India with a massive force outmatched the Portuguese force 10:1 and annexed Goa in just 36 hours.
25. Indian Army has defeated enemy in worst cases like the one in 1998 Kargil, wherein the Pakistani army was at much advantageous position having striking ratio of 20:1. Even during the fateful battles of 1962 Chinese invasion, Kumaon regiment, Dogra regiments among others fought till the last bullet and last man, killing waves of Chinese army.
26. 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. Cold kills more soldiers here than bullets. Indian Government spends a couple of crores every day to maintain its bases in Siachen. The temperature goes down as low as minus 50 degrees and soldiers only eat de-humidified food there.
27. Indian soldiers are considered among the very best in high altitude and mountain warfare. The Indian army’s High Altitude Warfare School is one of the most elite military training centers in the world and is frequented by US, UK & Russian armies. US Special Forces trained at HAWS before their deployment during the invasion of Afghanistan.
28. Indian Army is also considered among the best in Jungle warfare and its Counter-insurgency and Jungle Warfare School is often visited by US, UK, Russian, Israel forces. Individually, Indian soldiers make up one of the best trained and conditioned forces in the world.
29. Sepoy Kamal Ram of Royal Indian Army was the youngest Indian to receive Victoria Cross for his valor in WW2 at just the age of 19.
31. Futuristic Infantry Soldier As a System (F-INSAS) is the Indian Army’s principal modernisation program from 2012 to 2020. In the first phase, to be completed by 2012, the infantry soldiers will be equipped with modular weapon systems that will have multi-functions. The Indian Army intends to modernise all of its 465 infantry and paramilitary battalions by 2020 with this program.
32. Organisations like DRDO, BEML, BEL, HAL, ODF, BDL (all of them under ministry of defence) have world class manufacturing facilities producing top notch defence equipments ranging from food to guns and vehicles to missiles necessary for Indian Armed Forces during combat.
33. Arjun tanks are some of the best quality tanks present today. They are fully computerized and made in India. Its cover and attack is said to be better than 3rd Generation tanks.
34. General Sam Manekshaw was the first to get the Field Marshal rank, the highest rank in army.
35. The Indian Army is a voluntary service and although a provision for military conscription exists in the Indian constitution, it has never been imposed.