The Indian military fraternity marked the 76th Infantry Day on Thursday to mark the first military engagement after independence. Infantry Day is commemorated on October 27 every year to recognize the contributions of infantry, which is the greatest combat arm of the Indian Army.
To mark the 76th Infantry Day, the Indian Army organized bicycle rallies from four cardinal directions. The rallies started their journey on October 16 from Udhampur (Jammu and Kashmir), Ahmedabad (Gujarat), Wellington (Tamil Nadu) and Shillong (Meghalaya) to commemorate the landing of the Sikh Regiment in Srinagar. As part of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, the bike rallies were also flagged by the Chief of the Defense Staff at the National War Memorial. The event saw cyclists covering a cumulative distance of over 8,000 kilometers in around 10 days while interacting with veer naris, veterans and cadets from the National Cadet Corps.
This year’s Infantry Day celebrations have marked a unique significance for the nation as it marks the Golden Jubilee celebration of Indian Air Force Kashmir Air Base. It was on this day that the 1st Battalion of the Sikh Regiment of the Indian Army landed at Srinagar Airbase. The soldiers of the infantry battalion showed extraordinary determination and courage to thwart the evil designs of the Pakistani army during the Indo-Pakistani war of 1947. The act drove back the Pakistani invaders from the outskirts of Srinagar and saved Jammu and Kashmir from a Pakistani-led invasion in the First Indo-Pakistani War.
Importance of infantry in the army
Described as “the least spectacular of all weapons, but without which one can do nothing, nothing at all”, by the official website of the Indian army, the infantry has been at the forefront of combat since ancient times. Infantry troops are men in the field, at the forefront of any engagement and are the ones who engage the enemy in the ultimate battles. Infantrymen are those who hold out against enemy assaults until the “last man’s turn”.
It is with infantry at its core that the rest of the Indian Army is configured, in wartime as well as in peacetime. According to the Indian army, if it is the last bastion of national security, the infantry remains its penultimate force. Currently, there are 27 infantry regiments in the Indian Army.