The Indian Army observes January 15 every year as Army day. It was on this day, back in the year 1949 that Field Marshal KM Kariappa was appointed as the first Indian chief of army staff (COAS).
As India celebrates Army Day, we look back at some of the glorious moments of the past with respect to the Indian Army.
1. 2016 Uri Surgical Strike
On the intervening night of September 28-29, 2016, in coordinated strikes across the Line of Control, after crossing over into Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (POK), commandos belonging to the Special Forces killed about 35-70 terrorists and their handlers, 2 Pakistani army soldiers and destroyed about 7 terror camps.
The commandos were airdropped by helicopters near the Line of Control at around 12:30 AM. Then they crossed over into PoK and carried out surgical strikes in Bhimber, Hot spring, Kel and Lipa sectors. These targets that were chosen were in the range of 500 metres to 3 kms from the LOC. The entire operation lasted for about four hours.
Indian Earth Observation satellite, Cartosat 2C was used to provide high-resolution images of the targets.
This was a response initiated by the Indian army after terrorists stormed the Uri Brigade headquarters and martyred about 19 soldiers on September 18th.
This strike signalled India’s newfound response to Pakistani state-sponsored terrorism and indicated that India was willing to hit the terrorists who were considered to be safe with the protection provided by the Pakistani intelligence and army.
2. 2015 Myanmar strike
On 9 June, 2015, 70 Indian Army commandos belonging to the 21 Para Regiment were dropped by the Dhruv helicopters near the Myanmar border. In a decisive strike on two terror camps operated by the Naga insurgents belonging to the NSCN (K) and KYKL insurgent groups, the commandos killed more than 70 insurgents and left many wounded.
The commandos were airdropped near the border at around 3 PM. Armed with assault rifles, rocket launchers, grenades, night vision goggles and Sniper rifles amongst others, the troops split into two groups after being airdropped. Each group was assigned one camp to destroy.
Then began, an arduous trek of 5 Kms.
Once the groups reached their allotted terror camps, they were further split into two groups.
One group was to carry out the assault on the camps and the other was to protect the perimeter and ensure that no militant escaped.
The actual attack took only 40 minutes and one terror camp was also set on fire. Thermal imagery was used and the Myanmar government was kept in the loop.
A MI-17 attack helicopter belonging to the Indian Air Force was kept on standby, in case anything went out of control.
The commandos then returned back on Indian soil victoriously.
The entire operation was monitored by Prime Minister Narendra Modi personally.
This was in response to the attack on a convoy carrying soldiers belonging to a battalion of the Dogra Regiment on June 4th in the Chandel area of Manipur. The attack martyred about 18 soldiers.
3. Operation Black Tornado
This was launched by commandos belonging to the 51 Special Action Group of the National Security Guards (NSG) in Mumbai on 27 November, 2008 when 10 terrorists belonging to the Lashkar-e-Taiba held the entire city of Mumbai to hostage.
This operation specifically was conducted at the Hotel Taj Mahal Palace, wherein four terrorists had sneaked in and created mayhem.
Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan, originally belonging to the Bihar Regiment, led a team of NSG commandos and in this operation, eliminated four terrorists and freed Taj Hotel. In the process, he also rescued many hostages.
His last reported words were “do not come up, I will handle them”. During a room to room search, a terrorist hiding in the dark shot the officer and he gave up his life fighting them bravely.
4. Operation Vijay
The Kargil War of 1999 was initiated by an unprovoked attack on the Indian armed forces and the occupation of Indian territories by the Pakistan Army.
In one such attack to recapture Point 4875 in the Mushkoh valley. Captain Vikram Batra of 13 Jammu and Kashmir Rifles played a critical role in ensuring the success of the operations.
Displaying utmost bravery, he managed to save the life of his fellow soldier and in the process, sustained sniper bullet injuries. He was successful in capturing the post. In the process, he passed away.
The government of India awarded him the Param Vir Chakra (PVC).
5. Operation Meghdoot
It was sometime in 1984 that Indian Intelligence received a tip-off that the Pakistani armed forces were shopping for winter clothing equipment. This triggered off a chain of thought that the Pakistanis were after the Siachen glacier.
The Indian army immediately swung into action and started preparing to fend off the Pakistani attack.
On 13th April, 1984, units from the Kumaon Regiment and the Ladakh Scouts were roped in for this challenging task.
Immediately the troops captured one peak after the other and managed to capture the important Saltaro ridge.
By 1987, India was firmly in control of the commanding heights of the Siachen glacier.
6. Tangail Airdrop
The objective of the mission was to capture the Poongli bridge on the Jamuna river and ensure that the Pakistan Army’s 93rd Brigade that was retreating from Mymensingh in the North to defend Dhaka, the capital of East Pakistan, was cut off.
The critical task was given to 2 Paras. They received the support of the Artillery and an Engineering battalion. Their task was to link up with the 1 Maratha Light Infantry, who would then proceed towards Dhaka.
The commandos of 2 Para landed at 4 PM and were received by a jubilant crowd. The actual operation began around 7 PM and the Pakistanis tried unsuccessfully to free the bridge, once it was captured by the Paras. All attacks were repulsed.
The final war led to the liberation of East Pakistan and the birth of Bangladesh on December 16, 1971.