15 January 1949, When General Cariappa takes over as first commander-in-chief

President Ram Nath Kovind on Tuesday wished the Indian Army on the occasion of the 71st Army Day. The Army Day is celebrated on January 15 as on this day in 1949, Field Marshal Kodandera M Cariappa took over as the first Indian commander-in-chief of the Indian Army.

Field Marshal Kodandera “Kipper” Madappa Cariappa, OBE was the first Indian commander-in-chief (C-in-C) of the Indian Army. He is one of only two Indian Army officers to hold the five-star rank of field marshal. He was appointed commander-in-chief of the Indian Army in 1949.

An inspiration to all the officers of the Armed forces, he was born in 1899. He joined the British Indian Army and was commissioned as a temporary second lieutenant into the 2/88 Carnatic Infantry. He was transferred between multiple regiments early in his career before settling on 1/7 Rajputs, which became his permanent regiment.

He was the first Indian military officer to attend the Staff College, Quetta, the first Indian to command a battalion, and was also one of the first two Indians selected to undergo training at the Imperial Defence College, Camberley, UK. Before taking over as the C-in-C of the Indian Army, Cariappa served as the commander of the Indian Army’s Eastern and Western Commands.

 Extending the wishes for the Army Day on microblogging site Twitter, President Kovind wrote, “On Army Day, greetings to the valiant men and women of the Indian Army, to veterans and their families. You are our nation’s pride, the sentinels of our liberty. Citizens sleep securely knowing you are ever awake and ever vigilant.”

Indian Army chief General Bipin Rawat on congratulated all ranks, families, veterans, ‘veer naris’ and Armed Forces fraternity on the occasion of the 71st Army Day.

The Indian Army marks the day with parades at other events in the national capital. The force also remembers and pays tributes to soldiers, who sacrificed their lives in the line of duty.

According to reports, the Army Day parade on Tuesday is slated to be led by Lieutenant Bhavana Kasturi. This is for the first time when a woman officer will lead the Army Day parade. She will lead the Indian Army’s Service Corps contingent.

The Army’s 33-member Daredevils Motorcycle display team with also be led this year by a woman officer, Captain Shikha Surabhi.

Addressing the nation ahead of the Army Day, General Bipin Rawat on Monday remembered the martyrs, praising their inspiring and unparalleled gallantry. He said, “We solemnly remember our martyrs whose acts of unparalleled gallantry shall continue to inspire us in the years ahead.”

“Indian Army remains steadfast in its resolve to be enabled and prepared to pre-empt, negate and defeat any challenges to the national security,” the Army chief further said.

He added, “Past year has had its share of challenges. It makes me proud to state that we have been able to counter them effectively. We have given a befitting response to the perpetrators of proxy war in a highly professional manner in both – LoC and hinterland.”

On the eve of the Army Day on Monday, the Indian Army organised a cycle expedition based on them – Cycling for Peace and Prosperity.


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