They work day and night to protect and safeguard the lives of 1.2 Billion; some are glorified while others are turned to dust without even a notice. Yes, they are the sole reason why you can get up every morning and do what you love, because their blood is spilt so that you can do as you please and free from oppression. This is the life of those in the Indian Army. Hardly noticed by most and the media, credited less than sport stars, but what they do is beyond our imagination. Collectively, this is the third largest army in the world, and while most people have no clue as to what they have to go through every single day, yet, they still do it for their country, for their land to be free from aggressors and for what they call their mother, their country. How much do you know of these noble men? After this you’d wish you had known more, because as you relax and sip your beer, they fight to give you that ability to fulfill your dreams, and their dream is for you to live yours in freedom. This is the Indian Army, and these are amazing facts of them that will make you proud.
1. The Indian Army has the largest Volunteer Army in the world and although the constitution has a provision for military conscription, it has never been used or needed because of the size of the volunteer army. You can now thank them for normal blokes like us not being forced to fight in battle.
2. Indian soldiers are considered the very best in the world when it comes to high altitude and mountain warfare, such that, its High Altitude Warfare School (HAWS) is one of the most elite training centers across the globe. The US, UK and Russia send their special Ops to train at this center to better their mountain warfare and in fact the US sent their soldiers to train at this very school before they deployed their regiments to Afghanistan.
3. The Indian Army holds the record for holding and controlling the highest battlefield in the world, the Saichen glacier, which is 5000-meters above sea level. At this spot, more soldiers succumb to the weather than actual battle. The temperatures drop -50 Degree C sometimes and the altitude makes it difficult to breathe. Often joked within soldiers as the punishment post, soldiers are required to stay there for a period of 3-months but in most cases stay there for 6-months to a year as no one wants to be posted here and they cannot leave without reinforcements replacing them. Around 800 soldiers have lost their lives here and even helicopters have to be pushed beyond their limit to reach this spot to deliver supplies. The effects of living more than 3-months in this very spot could be frost bites, dementia and so on. In short, this is the toughest battleground in the world.
4. The Battle of Longewala was fought between India and Pakistan in December 1971. Here 120 Indian soldiers with a jeep and M40 recoilless rifles marched against 2000 Pakistani soldiers who were backed by 45 tanks and one mobile infantry. To hold the fort, they fought through the night where the Indian soldiers fought valiantly and tirelessly to keep the Pakistani soldiers at bay. With the help of the Air Force they emerged victors, although outnumbered, and lost only two lives in battle.
5. India has a horse cavalry regiment and is the one of the only existing three around the world. This cavalry is bred for war and not a ceremonial one and in fact the 61st Cavalry regiment of the Indian Army is the largest in the world.
6. Another mega-record that the Indian Army holds is for building the highest ever bridge in the world. Stretching across the Ladakh valley, this bridge crosses the Dras and Suri rivers. It was built by the army in August 1982 to make mobility easier.
7. The Indian Army is the third largest contingent in the world only after USA and China. It has more than 1,325,000 active soldiers plus 960,000 reserve troops in which at least 40,000 of them report for duty every day.
8. With regard to the Indian Army, there is no such thing as discrimination between religion, caste, creed, color. Soldiers are selected after grueling and stringent tests and those fit based on their physique and mental capability are shortlisted. The selection of candidates for Commissioned Officers is apparently the toughest in the world to clear. Although the country suffers a shortage of 12,000 officers in order to be in the ideal situation, the selection process is as strict as it could be to make sure the quality of service never drops.
9. Since the World War II, the India Army holds the record for having the most prisoners of war (POWS) in custody. The Army held 93,000 Pakistani combatants as well as officers in custody till they surrendered their fight. It was rare occurrence in which the attacker ended up surrendering in such a shambolic manner and this led to the establishment and independence of Bangladesh in 1971.
10. The Battle of Saragarhi on 12th September 1897 is matched to the bravery of the 300 Spartans that fought against the multitude of Xerxes’s army. Here 21 Sikh soldiers battled against 10,000 Afghani soldiers. Like the Spartans, these soldiers battled till the end, they killed and seriously injured over a thousand Afghani soldiers till their last breath. Their valiance and bravery has made them historical figures in the country and among the army.
11. In the early 70’s and 90’s, the Indian Army managed to covertly test their nuclear arsenal even without the keen eye of the CIA noticing. The mission was undertaken with such tact that it resulted as one of the biggest failures of the CIA as they were clueless that it even happened.
12. Operation Rahat (2013) was one of the most successful and biggest civilian rescue operations ever carried out. The state of Uttarakhand was struck by flash floods that killed thousands who drowned or were buried by landslides caused by the floods. The Indian Army along with the Air force airlifted a total of 20,000 people, dropped a total of 3, 82,400 kilograms of food, supplies and relief equipment, and flew a total of 2,140 sorties. If not for the valiant effort put in by the army which worked round the clock, almost everyone would have died. Their efforts were praised by millions across the nation.
13. The Military Engineering Services (MES) is one of the finest and is one of the biggest construction agencies in the country. Their phenomenal development structures are marveled at, considering the locations they chose to build on. The Khardungla Pass, which is also known as the highest motorable road in the world, the magnetic hill in Leh and many more.
14. Their missile series is one of the best in the world, ones that are feared by most countries. The AGNI-I failed its first two tests and that made the country the laughing stalk amongst many nations but in its third attempt it ranked one of the best in the world. AGNI and Prithvi nuclear missiles are one of the most accurate in the world landing 50m within the desired destination. The AGNI –VI has a reach of 10,000kms making it possible for it to strike any part of the globe except a few parts of South America and North America. Last but not least is the BraMos, a missile made in collaboration with Russia. This hypersonic missile is the fastest in the world travelling at a speed of Mach 7, which is seven times the speed of sound in air.
15. The Indian Army is one of the few armies around the world that has never initiated an attack. Never has India attacked another country and any battle that they have been in has been out of retaliation.