India greets soldiers on Army Day

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Prime Minister Modi, President Kovind, CDS Bipin Rawat and Army chief General Narawane

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday extended greetings to the Indian army soldiers and their family members on the occasion of 73rd Army Day, saying that the courageous Army always held the head of nation high with pride.

“Congratulations to the mighty soldiers of the country who stand in defence of Mother Bharati and their family members on Army Day. Our army is strong, courageous and determined, and has always held the head of nation high with pride. I salute the Indian Army on behalf of all the countrymen,” he tweeted.

Army Day is celebrated on 15 January every year in India, in recognition of Field Marshal Kodandera M. Cariappa’s 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.

President Ram Nath Kovind also took to twitter to mark the occasion. He tweeted that India will remain forever grateful to courageous and committed soldiers.

“On Army Day, greetings to the valiant men and women of the Indian Army. We remember the bravehearts who made the supreme sacrifice in service to the nation. India will remain forever grateful to courageous and committed soldiers, veterans and their families. Jai Hind!” the president tweeted.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh also extended greetings to the Indian Army saying that the “nation salutes the Indian Army’s indomitable courage, valour and sacrifices.”

“Greetings to Indian Army personnel and their families on the occasion of Army Day. The nation salutes the Indian Army’s indomitable courage, valour and sacrifices. India is proud of their selfless service to the nation,” Singh tweeted.

Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat also extended his wishes and said the soldiers’ valour and sacrifices are an inspiration to many. “On the historic Army Day, we pay homage and express our gratitude to those brave soldiers, whose valour and Supreme sacrifice in line of duty inspires us to rededicate ourselves with renewed vigour,” Rawat said in a message.

“Your dauntless courage, indomitable spirit and unparalleled devotion to duty in the true traditions and ethos of the Indian army will continue to inspire future generations. Jai Hind!” he added.

During the fifth Armed Forces Veterans’ Day on Thursday, the Defence Minister warned that India would give a befitting response if its pride is hurt by any super power.

“If any super power hurts our national pride, our soldiers are capable of giving a fitting response though we do not want a war,” Singh said at the fifth Armed Forces Veterans’ Day here, without naming any country amid the border standoff with China since June 2020.

Noting that India stood for peace and friendly relations with all the countries, especially in the region, Singh said the nation is against armed conflict and wants to maintain peace, which is its hoary culture.

“India is for protecting one’s security but not in favour of war though our troops are capable of defending the country’s borders,” reiterated Singh.

Lauding the soldiers for eliminating hundreds of terrorists intruding from across the western border, Singh said they have also displayed bravery in protecting the country in the northern border facing China.

Earlier, Singh and Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat placed wreaths and paid homage at the War Memorial at the Indian Air Force (IAF) training command in the city. IAF and Indian Navy officers also laid wreaths as a mark of respect to the war heroes.

“Singh and Rawat interacted with the military veterans and martyrs’ kin and members of ex-servicemen organisations,” a defence official said in a statement.

Indian armed forces celebrate Veterans Day on January 14 every year in recognition of the services rendered by the country’s first Field Marshal, K.M. Cariappa, who retired on the same day in 1953.

Cariappa (1899-1993), who hailed from Karnataka’s Coorg (Kodagu), led the Indian forces on the western front during the first India-Pakistan war in 1947 as the army’s first Commander-in-Chief. He also fought in World War II.

The only other Field Marshal, Sam Manekshaw (1914-2008), also retired on January 14, 1973.

Entry for the event was restricted due to Covid-induced curbs to contain the pandemic spread.

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