Army Day - [January 14, 1949] This Day in History

15 January 1949

Army Day

What happened?

On 15 January 1949, Field Marshal Kodandera M. Cariappa, who was then a Lieutenant General, took over as the first Indian Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Army from General Sir Francis Butcher, the last British person to hold that post. This day is celebrated as Army Day in India annually.

Army Day Background

  • Kodandera M. Cariappa took over as the Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Army from General Butcher. He was an army officer with a distinguished career in the British Indian Army and later the Indian Army. In 1919, he joined the army when he received the King’s Commission with the first group of Indian cadets.
  • In 1933, he became the first Indian officer to attend the Staff College at Quetta (Pakistan). He was also the first Indian to command a battalion. In 1986, he was made a Field Marshal, which is a five-star general officer rank and the highest rank in the army. It is a ceremonial post that is awarded to an officer who has had an illustrious service.
  • Field Marshal Cariappa was also appointed a member of the Army Sub Committee of the Forces Reconstitution Committee during the country’s partition. He secured a harmonious settlement for the army’s division between India and Pakistan.
  • In 1965, the post of the Commander-in-Chief was renamed as the Chief of the Army Staff. The current Chief of the Army Staff is General Manoj Mukund Naravane.
  • On this day, every year, the country joins the army in observing ‘Army Day’.
  • A grand parade is held at the Cariappa Parade Ground at New Delhi. The parade is reviewed by the current Army Chief of Staff.
  • The Army Chief also presents gallantry and other awards to army personnel.
  • The Indian Army, headquartered in New Delhi, has 6 operational commands and 1 training command. Each headquarter command and HQs of other wings also showcase parades and celebrations.
  • The Indian Army is a completely voluntary service. It is the second largest army in the world. Currently, there are over 12 lakhs active personnel and under 10 lakhs reserve personnel.
  • The Indian Army’s motto is “Service Before Self”.
  • Its official date of founding is 1 April, 1895. Its origins can be traced to the armies of the East India Company.
  • It has won many battle and theatre honours before and after independence.
Also on this day

1929: Birth of American civil rights activist and Nobel laureate, Martin Luther King, Jr. 1996: Bombay renamed Mumbai. 1998: Death of former Prime Minister (Acting) Gulzari Lal Nanda.

See previous ‘This Day in History’ here.

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