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Indian Army Day 2023 - History, Significance & Why Do We Celebrate?

By Shiwani PandeyJanuary 02, 2023
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Every year, Indian Army Day is celebrated on January 15 in honour of Field Marshal Kodandera M. Cariappa took charge as the first Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Army on this day from the last British Army Chief, General Francis Butcher, in 1949. In 2023, India will celebrate the 75th anniversary of Indian Army Day.

The day is celebrated by organising various parades, medals presenting, and cultural military shows in New Delhi and at all the Army Command headquarters.

Indian Army Day 2023 - History, Significance & Why Do We Celebrate?

Also Read: Republic Day 2023 - History, Significance & Why Do We Celebrate It

The formation of the Indian army is dated officially on 1 April 1895, with its first British Army, Chief Francis Butcher, in 1949. Later on January 15, 1949, the British commander-in-chief handed over the management of the Indian Army to Field Marshal K.M. Cariappa as the first Chief Commander of the Indian Army.

With countries like the US, China, and Russia, our nation’s army is one of the biggest armed forces in the world that operates on “Serve others before self” as its ultimate agenda. Discover more about the Indian Army Day's history, significance, and celebrations.

When is Indian Army Day?

In the upcoming year 2023, the country will be observing its 75th anniversary of Indian Army Day on January 15 in remembrance of the proud day when the Indian Army got its first Indian Commander in chief Kodandera M. Cariappa to lead & administer the operations of the army.

History Behind Indian Army Day

The historical happy Indian Army day commemorates when Field Marshal Kodandera M. Cariappa succeeded the British Army General Roy Butcher in 1949 and accepted his new role as the first Commander-in-Chief of independent India.

India became an independent nation after gaining freedom from British rulers in 1945 after almost 200 years. During that time, the country was experiencing a lot of chaos & riots as many refugees and people were migrating from Pakistan.

This administrative disorder compelled the need for an army invasion to control the situation so that peace could be established during the partition. During independent India, the reins of the nation’s army were controlled by the British officer Francis Butcher. This was when the British General gave Field Marshal Kodandera M. Cariappa the management of the country’s army.

Hence, happy Indian Army day has been celebrated to recognise his role in managing the Indian army. In other words, we are celebrating the day when the control of the national army gets transferred to an Indian citizen.

Celebrations of Indian Army Day 

The day is celebrated by all the army Command headquarters in New Delhi to honour the soldiers of the Indian army who lived, survived & died while protecting the country’s independence & dignity. After paying homage, grand celebrations take place throughout the country.

Various parades, including military shows, are held yearly at Cariappa Parade Ground of Delhi Cantonment to celebrate the day. It demonstrates the army’s strengths, bravery, daring, and dedication to the nation.

Gallantry awards & Sena Models like Param Vir Chakra and the Vir Chakra etc., are granted to the soldiers for their bravery & courageous acts. The Indian Army Chief performs a salute to the parade on this occasion. In honour of the brave Indian soldiers who died fighting for the nation, the day is marked.

Significance of Indian Army Day

Even though the country got freedom from British rulers in 1947, it didn't have the official reins of the Indian army in its hand until two years later, in 1979. Finally, on the day of 26th January 1950, the Constitution of the country was declared, and India became a republic country. The day reminds us that independence wasn’t just a fight of one day but a lengthy process.

The day is marked at many army command headquarters in New Delhi to honour the day when K. M. Cariappa became the first chief Commander of India after getting freedom. The day has national significance as the true fighters of the army who died while protecting the country are honoured on this day. The salute is given for their courageous actions on the battlefield to safeguard the country.

Know More About Field Marshal K. M. Cariappa

Field Marshal Kodandera Madappa Cariappa, known as K. M. Cariappa, became the first Chief Commander of the Indian army after the country gained independence from British rule.

He was born in 1899 in Karnataka. His father Kondera used to work as a revenue officer. Along with Sam Manekshaw, Cariappa is one of those army officers who earned the Five-Star title as Field Marshal. However, Cariappa’s legacy is more than just being the first Indian commander-in-chief or being one of the five-star army generals.

Before taking charge as Army chief, he administered the country’s army on the west during the Indo-Pak War of 1947. He had a vital contribution to various reattaining territories in Kargil. He got married in March 1937 to Muthu Machia, a forest officer’s daughter in Secunderabad. Together they have a son named K.C.Cariappa, born on 4th Jan 1938 and a daughter named  4th Jan 1938.

He was honoured with the “Order of the Chief Commander of the Legion of Merit”. In 1993, he died in Bangalore at the age of 94. Indian Army Day is celebrated to recognise the efforts of this Man of Principals. He was known for his compassion & discipline. He inspired generations by demonstrating the highest standards of patriotism.

Summing Up

Our Indian army has a rich history of contributing to global welfare and security issues before & after independence. Indian army day is observed to celebrate the bravery & courage of Indian army personnel while fighting to protect the country on the battlefield. The day is marked by parades in military establishments all across the country. 

Last updated date: 25th Sep 2023
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FAQs on Indian Army Day 2023 - History, Significance & Why Do We Celebrate?

1. When is Indian army day observed in India?

Indian Army Day is celebrated in India every year on 15 January to recognise Field Marshal K. M. Cariappa, who became the first Chief Commander of the nation’s Army on this day after the last British Army Chief officer Francis Butcher in 1949. 

2. In which year the Indian Army was established?

The Indian army was established in the year 1895 by the Britishers as a British army.

3. Who is the commander of the Indian Armed Forces?

The President of India formally serves as the Supreme Commander of the Indian Armed Forces.