Army Day is celebrated on 15 January every year in India, in recognition of Field Marshal K. M. Cariappa taking over as the first Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Army from General Sir Francis Butcher, the last British Commander-in-Chief of India, on 15 January 1949. The day is celebrated in the form of parades and other military shows in the national capital New Delhi as well as in all headquarters.
Field Marshal Cariappa led Indian forces on the Western Front during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947. He was appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Army in 1949.
He is one of only two Indian Army officers to hold the Five-star rank of Field Marshal; the other being Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw.
Before Francis Bucher, Sir Rob McGreyar McDonald Lockhart was the Army Chief from 15 August 1947 to 31 December 1947.
On 15 August 1947, the day India became independent, Lockhart was appointed as Commander-in-Chief, Indian Army, with the acting rank of general.
He was promoted to general on 1 September. After retiring on 1 October 1948, he was recalled by the British Forces during Malaya Emergency.
Today General MM Naravane, who took over the charge of India’s 28th Chief of Army Staff will inspect the Army parade in Cariappa Parade Ground in Delhi Cantonement. He will also address the Army men on the occasion. The gallantry awards and unit citations are also presented to army personnel for exemplary duties.
Shailesh Kumar is an independent journalist with over 15 years of experience in crime, political and defence reporting for leading media brands including Star News, India TV and NewsX. He is the founder editor of defence and security news portal, National Defence.