Army Day 2020: Why does India celebrate Army Day on January 15

Army soldiers display their war skills during the 71st Army Day Parade at Cariappa Parade Ground, in New Delhi BCCL
India will be celebrating 72nd Army Day on 15 January 2020. Preparations are already underway will rehearsals being conducted in the national capital, New Delhi.

Not only will soldiers display their prowess marching in parades all over the country, but the Army will also showcase its arsenal of weapons — including the BLT T-72 ‘Bharat Rakshak’ tank, the 155mm Soltum Gun, Advanced Light Helicopters and the BhaMos Missles.

Army soldiers march during the 71st Army Day Parade at Cariappa Parade Ground, in New Delhi BCCL

Why does India celebrate Army Day on January 15?
The Indian army was officially established on 1 April 1895. However, it was only in 1949 — after independence — that the Army got its first chief. On January 15, command of the Indian Army was handed over from General Sir Francis Butcher to Lieutenant General KM Cariappa.

Cariappa led the Indian Army on the western border in the Indo-Pak war in 1947. He was the second person to receive the title of Field Marshal of India on 14 January 1986 — the first went to Sam Manekshaw in 1973.

Field Marshal Kodandera Madappa Cariappa, the first Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Army, 1949.BCCL

How do we celebrate Army Day?
The transfer of power from the British to India signifies an important moment in Indian history. Army Command headquarters in the national capital, as well as in other parts of the country, celebrate the occasion by organising military parades and other shows of strength.

The main event is always the parade at Cariappa Parade Ground at Delhi Cannt. which kicks off when the Indian Army Chief takes salute. Bravery awards like unit credentials and Sena medals are also distributed on the day.

Army Chief Gen Bipin Rawat inspects the guard of honour during the 71st Army Day Parade at Cariappa Parade Ground, in New Delhi BCCL

Does India celebrate Veterans Day?
The celebration of Army Day on January 15 is akin to Veterans Day celebrations in the US on November 11. Both events celebrate all the army soldiers who served to protect the country’s citizens.

On Army Day, the country pays tribute to Indian Army soldiers at the ‘Amar Jawan Jyoti’ at India Gate in New Delhi.

71st Army Day paradeBCCL

What’s special about India’s 72nd Army Day in 2020?
The 72nd Army Day will be the first time that a woman army officer will lead the Army Day Parade. Tania Sher Gill is a fourth-generation army officer who joined the armed forces in 2017 after graduating from the Officers Training Academy in Chennai.


As the Parade Adjutant, she will be leading an all-men contingent on January 15.

71st Army Day parade

Who has the largest army in the world?
China has the largest army in the world but India isn’t too far behind coming in second with 1.4 million active military personnel. However, when it comes to being powerful, India falls fourth behind the US, China and Russia.

See also:
Budget 2020: Five charts that explain what you can expect from India’s defence expenditure this year

India’s ready to spend on defence — just not on modernisation