Indian Army & Sports: Achievements And Famous Athletes

Indian Army & Sports: Achievements And Famous Athletes

With the Pune Army Sports Institute being selected for the 2020 Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puraskar, the Indian Army has time and again displayed its brilliance in sports on a level similar to its feats on the borders.

Crux of the Matter

ASI Recognition
The Army Sports Institute (ASI) based in Pune has been selected for the Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puraskar for 2020 under the category of “Identification and Nurturing of Budding and Young Talent”. President Ram Nath Kovind will bestow the award on August 29 in a virtual event amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Army Sports Institute
The Army Sports Institute (ASI) Pune was established on 1 July, 2001, and trains sportsmen from the Army and young athletes in ‘Boys Sports Companies’ (between age of 8 to 14 years). The training is done by “internationally renowned foreign & Indian coaches and qualified physical trainers” and aided by a ‘team of specialists’ in sports medicine, nutrition, sports psychology, sports physiology etc. The institute currently trains in 7 fields – boxing, wrestling, athletics, archery, diving, fencing, and weightlifting.

The ASI was established under the “Mission Olympics Programme”. The other such 4 institutes are:

  • Army Rowing Node (Pune)
  • Army Marksmanship Unit (Mhow)
  • Army Equestrian Node (Meerut)
  • Army Yachting Node (Mumbai)

Contribution

  • The institute has facilitated the participation of 20 sportspersons in the Olympics to date.
  • 12 sportsperson from the institute have already qualified for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.
  • Athletes from the institute have brought 19 medals in Asian Games, 18 medals in Commonwealth Games, and 6 Youth Olympic Medals.
  • 450 international and 1,118 national medals have been won by the ASI athletes in the last 3 years.
  • 125 medals across 5 sports have been won by the ASI sportspersons in the last 3 Khelo India editions.

Famous Army Sportspersons

Subedar Paan Singh Tomar

  • 7-time National steeplechase race champion.
  • Represented India at the 1958 Asian Games.
  • Completed 3,000 metres run in 2,000 strides as compared to the average 2,500.
  • Turned rebel after local feuds.
  • Movie by the name Paan Singh Tomar released in 2012 starring Irrfan Khan as Tomar himself.

Naib Subedar Shivnath Singh

  • Won gold medal in 5000m race in 1974 Teheran Asian Games, ans also set a new Asian record of 14 minutes and 20.5 seconds.
  • Won silver medals in both 5,000m and 10,000m races in both 1973 and 1975 Asian Championships.
  • Still holds the national record for marathon of 2:12:00 hrs set in 1978.

Naib Subedar Milkha Singh

  • First Indian male to reach the final of any Olympic athletics event.
  • Won gold medals in both 200m and 400m races in 1958 Asian Games.
  • Won gold medals in both 400m and 4×400 relay races in 1962 Asian Games.
  • Awarded Padma Shri for his achievements.
  • Bhaag Milkha Bhaag film was made on him in 2013, starring Farhan Akhtar in the lead role.

Honorary Captain Sriram Singh Shekhawat

  • Won gold medals in 800m racing in both 1974 and 1978 Asian Games.
  • Awarded Padma Shri for his achievements.

Honorary Captain Padam Bahadur Mall

  • First Indian boxer to win gold medal in Asian Games. Won the medal in 1962 Asian Games.
  • Rejoined his unit in Srinagar which was followed by the India-China war 1962.
  • Captain Mall also fought in the 1965 and 1971 wars against Pakistan.

Honorary Captain Hawa Singh

  • Won Heavyweight National Championship consecutively from 1961 to 1972.
  • Won gold medals in the heavyweight division of both 1966 and 1970 Asian Games.

Colonel Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore

  • Won India’s first individual silver medal in Olympics.
  • Won silver in the 2004 Olympics in the double-trap shooting event.
  • Won gold medals in both individual and pairs double-trap events at the 2002 Commonwealth Games.
  • Won gold medal in individual double trap and silver medal in pairs double trap at the 2006 Commonwealth Games.
  • Received Padma Shri for his achievements.
  • 1999 Kargil war veteran.
  • Served as the Sports Minister between 2017 and 2019.

Subedar Tarundeep Rai

  • Became the first Indian to win a silver medal in individual men’s archery by winning at the 2010 Asian Games.
  • Subedar Rai also won silver medal with the Indian team in the 2005 World Archery Championship.

Major Dhyan Chand

  • Won Indian hockey team 3 consecutive gold medals in 1928, 1932 and 1936 Olympics.
  • Reportedly scored 570 goals in 185 international matches.
  • Germany leader Adolf Hitler reportedly offered high army position to Dhyan Chand after India beat Germany 8-1 in 1936 Olympics.
    Reported offer due to his extraordinary performance in the games.
    Dhyan Chand rejected the offer.

Curiopedia
  • Joginder Singh Bedi is a Paralympian with the maximum number of medals by an individual at a Paralympics Games so far. Bedi won the SIlver medal at the Men’s Shot Put, bronze at the Discus and Javelin throw during the 1984 Games.
  • The Indian Territorial Army conferred the honorary rank of Lieutenant Colonel to MS Dhoni on 1 November 2011. He is the second Indian cricketer after Kapil Dev to receive this honour.
  • The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports gives the annual National Sports awards in various categories, including the Arjuna Award and Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna awards. The Ministry was set up as the Department of Sports at the time of organisation of 1982 Asian Games New Delhi.

Progressive Steps Of Indian Army

Progressive Steps Of Indian Army

The Supreme Court of India directed the Indian government on 7th July, 2020 to implement the provision of “Permanent Commission” for women Army officers within a month, marking a significant improvement for the female bravehearts in the Indian Army.

Crux of the Matter

Recent Order
While reviewing the petition of the Indian government asking for 6 months to provide the ‘Permanent Commission‘ to female Army officers, the Supreme Court of India instead directed the government to complete the implementation within 1 month. In its request, the Indian government had cited the Covid-19 pandemic as the reason for the delayed provision.

Summachar Coverage: SC Combats With Centre To Allow Women In Combat Roles

What Is ‘Permanent Commission’?
Short Service Commission (SSC) is a provision where officers have to serve in the army for a minimum of 10 years. Afterward, the officers have 3 options to choose from. They can
– leave the army
– apply for an extension of 4 years, or
– apply for the Permanent Commission.

Officers who choose either of the first two options do not receive a pension and the medical benefits. Prior to the order of the Supreme Court in February 2020, female officers of the Indian Army were ineligible for the Permanent Commission, However, the SC directed the government to provide the option of Permanent Commission to all female officers.

Previous Decisions
In February 2020, the Supreme Court had reprimanded the Central government for its recruitment and positioning of the female officers in the Army. The Indian government, arguing against making women officers the “commanders”, stated that “the troops are not yet mentally schooled to accept women officers in command”.

Discussing the functioning of women in the Army, the government also cited “absence during pregnancy, motherhood and domestic obligations” as obstructions in their duties.

LGBT In Army
Then Army Chief Bipin Rawat opposed the suggestion of including LGBT in the Armed Forces. In his statement, Rawat said that the “Army will not allow LGBT activities in the force… [there are] some section in Army acts to deal with this”. Supreme Court of India decriminalized homosexuality in 2018.

However, the situation has shown improvements in recent times, with the Indian government recently asking the views of the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) for recruiting transgender people in Armed forces.

History Of Women In Indian Army

  • All wings of the Indian Armed Forces allow combat roles for women after the 2016 decision.
  • 1992: Indian Army starts the recruitment of women for non-medical positions.
  • 2007: First all-female Formed Police Unit (FPU) for UN Peacekeeping is sent to Liberia. All women officers – more than 100 – were from India.


Situation In Other Countries

  • Canada: Allows women in all roles since 1989. 15.1% of its Armed Forces are women (2017).
  • USA: Removed the ban on female soldiers serving in combat roles in 2013.
  • Germany: Allows women to join in combat roles since 2001.
  • Israel: Allows women in combat roles since 1995. It is one of the few nations which have made military service mandatory for both, women and men.

Curiopedia
  • Field marshal is a five–star general officer rank and the highest attainable rank in the Indian Army. It is a largely ceremonial or wartime rank, having been awarded only twice. Sam Manekshaw and Kodandera M. Cariappa, are the only two officers to attain this rank.
  • “Don’t ask, don’t tell” (DADT) was the official United States policy on military service by gays, bisexuals, and lesbians, instituted by the Clinton Administration on February 28, 1994. The policy prohibited military personnel from discriminating against or harassing closeted homosexual or bisexual service members or applicants while barring openly gay, lesbian, or bisexual persons from military service.
  • Gilbert Baker was an American artist, gay rights activist, and designer of the rainbow flag (1978), a worldwide symbol of LGBTQ pride. His flag became widely associated with LGBT rights causes, a symbol of gay pride that has become ubiquitous in the decades since its debut.

What Is The Ghatak Platoon?

Indian Army's elite force Ghatak

Ghatak, meaning ‘lethal’ in Hindi, true to its name is one of the two elite forces present in every infantry battalion of the Indian Army that act as shock troops and spearhead assaults ahead of the battalion. In the recent Indo-China skirmish, the Ghatak platoons played a vital role in fighting the Chinese side.

Crux of the Matter

Strengths & Capabilities
Ghatak platoon consists of 20 soldiers in approximately every 350 infantry battalions of the army i.e. nearly a total strength of 7000. Every platoon consists of a Commanding Captain, 2 non-commissioned officers and some specialised soldiers along with assault troopers.

Ghatak Commandos are capable of carrying out tasks such as special reconnaissance, raids on enemy artillery positions and directing artillery and air attacks on targets deep within enemy lines. Their operations are similar to the Ranger Regiments of the US Army and the Commando Ranger Regiments of the Republic of Korea Army.

Training
They undergo a 6-week Commando Training course in Belgaum, Karnataka. There is an upper age limit of 30 years in this 2 phase training of Acclimatization and High Altitude. They are rigorously trained for heliborne assault, rock climbing, mountain warfare, demolitions, bomb diffusion, advanced weapon training, and infantry tactics.

Some of the qualified soldiers are even sent to the High Altitude Warfare School and the Counterinsurgency and Jungle Warfare School in Kashmir. The most physically fit soldiers either volunteer or are selected to be a part of the Ghatak platoon and it is mandatory for all infantry officers to pass the Commando Training Course.

Weapons
Ghatak Commandos are armed with INSAS Assault Rifles, AKM Assault Rifles, Pika General Purpose Machine Gun, M4 Carbine, B&T MP9 Submachine Gun, IWI Tavor TAR-21 Assault Rifles, Carl Gustav Recoilless Rifle, SVD Dragunov Sniper Rifle, MP5 Submachine Gun and INSAS Light Machine Guns.

They are equipped with standard-issue camouflage and body armour along with sniper teams, light machine gunners, medics, and radio operators. Depending on the mission, they may carry ropes, climbing gear, grenades, rocket launchers, laser target designators, and night vision equipment.

Other Special Forces
Special Forces of India are organised, trained and equipped to conduct special operations in extreme conditions on land, water and air. Three branches of the India armed forces have separate special forces unit namely: Para SF of Indian Army; MARCOS of Indian Navy and Garuda Commando Force of Indian Air Force.

Para commandos recognised with their maroon beret uniforms were formed in 1966. This regiment has the honour of being conferred the Bravest of Brave distinction. Garuda Commando Force established in 2004 has over 1500 personnel. They have been deployed for UN peacekeeping missions in Congo.

MARCOS also called the Marine Commando Force was formed in 1987 to provide support to amphibious operations. They are also reputedly called the ‘Dadhiwala Fauj’ (The Bearded Army) by militants in Kashmir. Apart from these three forces, Indian forces also include COBRA Force, Special Frontier Force (SPF), and National Security Guard (NSG).

Stories of Bravery
Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorists attacked the Army’s 12th Brigade in Uri on 18 September 2016. After which the Ghatak platoon from 6th Bihar and 10th Dogra battalions led by 4th and 9th battalions of the Special forces conducted surgical strikes on terror camps in PoK. The Ghatak platoons were used in the flanking role as they are well versed with the areas across the LoC and are better acclimatized.

Captain Neikezhakuo Kenguruse was the Ghatak platoon commander during a night operation during Operation Vijay in 1999 during the Kargil War. After sustaining a bullet wound, he continued the operation and shot two men and killed two others using his knife in hand to hand combat. He was posthumously awarded the Mahavir Chakra.

In the very recent clash between India and China, the Ghatak commandos were part of the patrolling and backup team on the LAC.

Curiopedia
  • Lieutenant Colonel Mitali Madhumita, commissioned in 2000, is the first woman officer in India to receive a gallantry award, who received the Sena Medal in 2011 for exemplary courage shown during the attack on the Indian embassy in Kabul by terrorists in Kabul, Afghanistan.
  • General Bipin Chandra Joshi, PVSM, AVSM, ADC was the 17th Chief of Army Staff (COAS) of the Indian Army. General B. C. Joshi has been a recipient of the Param Vishisht Seva Medal, Ati Vishisht Seva Medal for distinguished service of the most exceptional order. He gave the name to Ghatak Platoon.
  • INSAS. an abbreviation of INdian Small Arms System is a family of infantry arms consisting of an assault rifle and a light machine gun (LMG). The INSAS assault rifle is the standard infantry weapon of the Indian Armed Forces and manufactured by the Ordnance Factories Board.

SC combats with centre to allow women in combat roles

Women Army Officer

In a turning moment for the Indian military, the Supreme Court slammed the Center for resisting the implementation of Delhi HC verdict on its 2010 order for granting permanent commission to women Army officers. It added that the submissions of Centre against it were based on “sex stereotypes”. The court has ordered the implementation of changes within three months. A woman colonel would then be able to command a battalion, which is the first level of independent command in the Army.

Crux of the Matter

Women in Combat Roles Globally
Eight nations including Canada, Denmark, Australia, France, Germany, Israel, New Zealand, and Norway send women in combat roles. When women officially became eligible for these positions in the American military in 2013, it was widely hailed as another step towards the equality of sexes. In 2018, the UK military followed suit by lifting a ban on women serving in close combat ground roles, clearing the way for them to serve in elite special forces.

The Centre for Military Readiness of the US, stated in an article on 1 April 2013, “Since the attack on America on September 11, 2001, a total of 149 women deployed in Afghanistan, Iraq, Kuwait, and Syria have lost their lives in service.” Most servicewomen were killed by improvised explosive devices (IEDs), and some died in military plane crashes, which implies that casualties due to live combat were extremely rare.

Here Hails Rani Lakshmibai
In India, woman officers can serve for 10-14 years in the Short Service Commission (SSC). Indian Air Force had 13.09% and 8.5%, Indian Navy 6% and 2.8% women, and Indian Army 3.80% and 3% in December 2018 and December 2014 respectively. In 1888, the role of women in the Indian army began when the “Indian Military Nursing Service” was formed during the British Raj.

Noor Inayat Khan of Indian and American descent was a British heroine of World War II renowned for her service in the Special Operations Executive. Dr. Seema Rao, also known as “India’s Wonder Woman“, is India’s first woman commando trainer, having trained over 15,000 Special Forces of India. Until now, there was no option to allow women in combat roles like infantry, armored, mechanized infantry, aviation, and artillery.

Centre’s Policy
On February 25, 2019, the Centre had taken a policy decision to grant Permanent Commission to SSC Women Officers in 8 streams of Indian Army which were: Signals, Engineers, Army Aviation, Army Air Defence, Electronic and Mechanical Engineers (EME), Army Service Corps, Army Ordinance Corps and Intelligence, in addition to Judge Advocate General and Army Educational Core (AEC).

But this was not extended to SSCWOs who had put in more than 14 years of service. The government had told the Supreme Court that “troops are not yet mentally schooled to accept women officers in command of units” since they are “predominantly drawn from a rural background”. The physical capabilities of women, the composition of the rank and file and psychological realities were put into limelight.

SC’s Fitting Reply
Asserting that the government’s arguments were discriminatory and based on stereotype, the SC said women who have served less than 14 years in the SSC can have the option of permanent commission. It also rejected the center’s arguments of social norms for denying permanent commission to women officers.

Physiological features of women have no link to their rights. The mindset must change.

– Justice D Y Chandrachud & Ajay Rastogi

The written submissions have referred to examples of women officers such as Squadron Leader Minty Agarwal, Divya Ajit Kumar, IAF officer Gunjan Saxena, who have received gallantry awards for their bravery during combat operations.

Curiopedia

Combat roles are those that involve engaging and fighting the enemy either in person or by using specialized equipment. A combat mission officer ensures that all things are in their proper places and are available at the time they are needed during military operations. They specialize their training according to their area of expertise, which also determines the setting for their training. Since every aspect of the battle has to be analysed to the smallest detail, some work in offices in command centers, and others choose to work outdoors in training drills and in actual combat situations. More Info

CDS Aims Theatre Commands By Rejigging Indian Military

CDS Rawat in talks for Theatre Commands

To integrate the operations of the Indian Army, Air Force, and Navy, India is set to begin operationalizing Military Theatre Commands three years from now which will be the biggest restructuring in India’s military history.

Crux of the Matter

Preliminary discussions between the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Bipin Rawat and the 3 service chiefs have paved way for beginning the process of setting up the Commands within a fixed time period.

Significant cost-cutting is expected to be achieved through common store management, shared bases, maintenance stocks and the utilization of similar weapons. The indigenous manufacturing of ammunition to a very high standard would also help to bring down costs.

CDS said that his immediate priorities are to minimize wastages, prevent overstocking supplies and if possible start ‘nil stocking’ of supplies which are immediately available from commercial vendors.

Theatre Commands
India would have a Peninsula Command, an Air Defence Command and Space Command and a multi-service Logistics Command and Training Command. The exact number of these Theatre Commands is not yet decided.

Each Theatre Command is expected to have an integral Air Force element and additional aircraft could be deployed depending on the requirement.

One of the far-reaching proposals is linked to the need of cutting down on the Rs 1.33 lakh crore pension budget of the Indian Armed forces that would enable non-officer ranks to be employed till the age of 58.

Currently, India has 17 command headquarters: 3 of the Navy and 7 each of the Army and Air Force. The Army western command is in Chandigarh, the Navy’s is in Mumbai and the IAF’s in New Delhi. In the East, IAF in Shillong, the Army in Kolkata and the Navy in Vishakhapatnam. Only at Andamans, all three services are part of the command located there.

It is our goal to develop the services as an armed force by integrating capabilities, logistics and manpower within the new Military Commands with an aim to bring down expenses, rationalize manpower and ensure that the armed forces fight as a cohesive unit.

– CDS Bipin Rawat
Curiopedia

Command Structure of the army operates six operational commands and one training command. Each command is headed by General Officer Commanding-in-Chief with the rank of lieutenant general. Each command is directly affiliated to the Army HQ in New Delhi. These commands are given below in their correct order of raising, location (city) and their commanders. There is also the Army Training Command abbreviated as ARTRAC. Besides these, army officers may head tri-service commands such as the Strategic Forces Command and Andaman and Nicobar Command, as well as institutions like Integrated Defence Staff. More Info