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11 Facts About The Indian Army You Definitely Did Not Know

We owe so much to the Indian Army. They are the reason we sleep peacefully at night, a perfect example of bravery. But there's still so much we don't know about our men of steel. Take a look and educate yourself.

We owe so much to the Indian Army. They are the reason we sleep peacefully at night, a perfect example of bravery.

But there's still so much we don't know about our men of steel. Take a look and educate yourself.

1. The Indian Army was formed in 1776, under the government of the East India Company in Kolkata.

2. The Indian Army has about 53 cantonments and 9 army bases, spread across India.

3. The Siachen Glacier, 5000 metres above sea level, is the highest battlefield in the world. And the Indian Army controls it.

4. The Indian Army is the biggest voluntary army in the world. To think that we have the maximum number of willing soldiers in the world is a matter of great pride.

5. The Military Engineering Services (MES) is one of the biggest construction agencies in India.

6. The Indian Army has a cavalry regiment. There are only 3 such regiments in the world.

7. Assam rifles, the oldest paramilitary force in India, was formed in 1835.

8. The Indian Army is one of the biggest troop contributors to the United Nations peace making operations.

9. The Baily Bridge is the highest bridge in the world, located in the Ladakh valley between the Dras and Suru rivers in the Himalayas. It was constructed by the Indian Army in 1982.

10. The President's bodyguard is the oldest armoured regiment of the Indian Army. It was established in 1773, and is currently based in the Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi.

11. Soldiers of the Indian Army are considered among the best in jungle warfare. The Counter-insurgency and Jungle Warfare School is often visited by forces from the US, the UK, and Russia among others.

US wants India’s help in multilateral naval engagements in Asia-Pacific

The US still wants India to act as a "lynchpin'' in its ongoing strategic "re-balancing'' of military forces towards the Asia-Pacific, or at least help cobble up multilateral naval engagements for greater stability in what it considers to be an increasingly critical region.

NEW DELHI: The US still wants India to act as a "lynchpin'' in its ongoing strategic "re-balancing'' of military forces towards the Asia-Pacific, or at least help cobble up multilateral naval engagements for greater stability in what it considers to be an increasingly critical region.

Visiting US Pacific Fleet commander Admiral Harry Harris, after meeting Navy chief Admiral Robin Dhowan and others on Tuesday, said China was indulging in "provocative" tactics in the South China Sea which were "raising tensions" in the entire region. "It's an issue of concern for all of us... It's a dramatic land reclamation. We don't view South China Sea as anybody's territorial waters... they are international waters," he said.

Slated to soon take over the reins of the massive US Pacific Command that covers 36 nations, Admiral Harris was, however, quick to add that the "re-balance" to Asia-Pacific, under which 60% of the formidable US naval fleet will be positioned in the Pacific by 2020, was not directed against China.

"It is not about China. It's really about us. It's about recognising that our economic future lies in the Pacific and Indian Oceans," he said, adding it was up to India to decide whether it wanted to show more "presence" in the South China Sea though he would "personally welcome" it.

But India does not want to get caught in the middle of this new 'Great Game' unfolding in Asia-Pacific, with China already irked by the US strategy to increasingly show the flag in the region. India, however, has stressed that all should respect "unhindered freedom of navigation in international waters" like South China Sea, where China is locked in territorial disputes with the Philippines, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia and others.

The US is also very keen on upgrading the annual Indo-US Malabar naval exercise into a multilateral venture, with regular participation from countries like Japan and Australia. "There is a role for each of our navies to play in building multinational maritime relationships in the Indo-Asia-Pacific," Admiral Harris said.

"An enhanced India-US partnership helps us to ensure other nations respect international law and drives our mutual commitment to open access by all nations to the shared global commons of sea, air, space and cyberspace," he added.

India has largely restricted the Malabar exercise to a bilateral one with the US after China protested against the 2007 edition of the war games in the Bay of Bengal since they were expanded to include the Australian, Japanese and Singaporean navies as well. But Japan did take part in the 2009 and 2014 editions, and is likely to do so this year as well.

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