The Indian army is one of the world’s most peaceful, owing to the fact that it has never initiated the first attack in any warfare.
When a person opts to join the Indian army, he becomes a soldier. Nothing more, nothing less.
The Indian army, ever since its inception, has been the home to countless heroes. The tales of soldiers’ valour have inspired generations and fill us with insurmountable pride. Our army is one of the world’s most peaceful, owing to the fact that it has never initiated the first attack in any warfare. Under enemy attack, however, we can be equally menacing. Most of us have seen the Hindi film, Border. It was based on the ‘Battle of Longewala’, which was fought in December 1971 between India and Pakistan. The aftermath of that battle saw heavy enemy casualties (around 200 soldiers killed, 34 tanks destroyed), while there were only two casualties on the Indian side!
And this doesn’t even begin to describe the admirable feats that our army has achieved during both war and peace-time! Here are some facts that will make you respect our forces even more.
There are several battlefields in the world. The highest of them is known as ‘Siachen’, a glacier situated 5000 meters above sea level. Here, a fruit can freeze and become inedible within seconds; temperatures can fall to 60 degrees below zero, and snowfall can stack up to 36 feet! India has around 10,000 soldiers camped here. More than 800 soldiers have died here because of the extreme conditions and yet, they continue to serve our country, living without any regard for their life, only to protect their motherland and her sons.
“When you go home, tell them of us and say, for your tomorrow, we gave our today”. This epitaph in the Kohima War memorial, Nagaland, is perhaps the most apposite description of the relation between a soldier and a civilian. In a lot of countries, it is compulsory to join the defence forces for some time. This practice, known as conscription or draft is not present in our country, making the Indian army the biggest "voluntary" army in the world. On top of that, there are no provisions for reservations based on caste or religion. When a person opts to join the Indian army, he becomes a soldier. Nothing more, nothing less.
Indian army has contributed a lot to the United Nations’ peacekeeping efforts around the world. Taking part in more than 40 peacekeeping missions, we have deployed a significant number of soldiers and even lost some of those Bravehearts, all for the sake of peace. During the 2013 Uttarakhand floods, Indian army also carried out one of the biggest civilian rescue operations - ‘Operation Rahat’, with the help of the Indian Air Force.
The CIA is considered one of the best intelligence agencies of the world. Yet, the Indian army carried out an operation so stealthily, it is considered one of the biggest failures of the American intelligence agency. Operation Smiling Buddha and operation Shakti, the programs through which India made its foray into the nuclear club were carried out so covertly that no one, other than the senior officials involved had a clue. APJ Abdul Kalam headed the whole planning with Colonel Gopal Kaushik of the Indian Army, making the programs a resounding success.
Apart from combating the enemy and foiling their plans, our army also works toward neutralizing internal threats. Be it Naxalites, separatist groups, extremists, or anti-national sects, the Indian army has, time and again, helped the police and local forces control situations which were on the verge of getting out of control.
And while we are talking about the Indian Army, we should also talk about the forces who ably support them in maintaining peace. These forces not only help to combat internal insurgencies, but also ensure the safety of our borders. These forces, collectively called the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) are an integral part of our nation. If not for the Border Security Force (BSF), Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), and Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB), our borders would be unguarded and internal terrorism would remain unchecked.
This army day, let us remember what our defence forces have done for us. Perfection is unattainable, but our soldiers are the people closest to perfection. On one hand, they are kind and caring Indian citizens, and on the other, focused and deadly killing machines. We are because they are. Let us wish them a good fortune.
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