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Knowing The Indian Army

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Do we really understand the importance of the Indian Army? Once a year we are reminded that it is the single largest group of volunteers in the world who have dedicated their lives to defend their motherland. And to die for it. Every strand of the varied religions, castes, languages and regions are represented in it. This year is also special as it is the centenary year of the end of World War I and occasion to remember and glorify the acts of bravery on foreign soil by warriors from the subcontinent.

Its participation in World War II has a special connotation in that there was general expectation that it would be repaid by the British Raj with the grant of dominion status to a colony that was acknowledged to be the “jewel in the crown”.

As it turned out the floodtide of the demand for self-rule germniated into the urgent insistence that Britain quit India after granting it independence and sovereign status. It eventually happened in 1947 with the partition of subcontinent into India and Pakistan. Almost immediately, those in the Armed Forces who opted to stay in India were confronted by former colleagues executing a sly manoeuvre to delink Jammu and Kashmir from the rest of India. Ever since then the Indian Army has been in a constant state of combat as hostile neighbours tried every trick to nibble away or instigate insurgencies all along the 7,000 km periphery from the northeast to Punjab in the west.

This is a factor not always appreciated by those who charge it with human rights violations in cordon-and-search operations. There are frequent demands for the repeal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act which provides protection to those fihgting undeclared wars by proxies of India’s enemies. Most of these complaints have been proven to be false and recognised to be part of the psychological warfare intended tos ubvert the morale of a fighting force that gave the nation a resounding victory in 1971 and in 1998, showed exemplary grit and determination to dislodge Pakistani soldiers from the rugged heights of Kargil.

The Indian Army has protected and preserved the nation’s territorial integrity and has risen to the task when political will dictated stern action.

That is why it hurts when criticism of its actions in the defence of the nation are torn out of the extant geopolitics of the region.

I, sometimes, wonder what has happened to our brothers and sisters in media houses who hardly highlight the positive stories of the Indian Army in the current context and the admittedly glorious history of the Indian Army. In fact, glorifying the Indian Army would have added a great value to the overall development of the young minds that are still very eager to join the Indian Army as crowds at recruitment centres testify.

Beside the regular Indian Army, we also have another force in place known as Territorial Army which takes over the defence of the lines of support to the men fighting on the frontlines. The TA consists of well-trained civilians who opt to serve the nation through joining this force.

This edition, dear reader, is to highlight the Indian Army and the importance and role of Territorial Army and I am sure you will come to know many unknown facts about the best army in theworld. So, enjoy reading this edition and do share your comments with us.

Jai Hind!

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