NEW DELHI: The Army is now reviewing its colonial and pre-colonial era customs, traditions, battle honours and names that can be discarded in accordance with the government’s directive to “Indianise” the armed forces.
The Army’s review process comes after the new Naval Ensign, which included the removal of the red-coloured St George’s Cross from the flag, was unveiled by PM Narendra Modi during the commissioning of the indigenous aircraft carrier INS Vikrant on September 2. “The Army review process is in the internal discussion stage as of now. No final decision has been taken,” an officer said.
An agenda note circulated ahead of a meeting to be chaired by the Army’s adjutant general said the review was needed to “do away with the British colonial legacy” and that it was “essential to move away from archaic and ineffective practices” and align with the national sentiment.
The agenda note triggered widespread criticism from veterans on social media. They asserted the focus of the 12-lakh strong Army, which has “greatly Indianised” over the decades, should be on pressing concerns like modernisation of weapon systems, creation of theatre commands and integrated battle groups, operational strategies and tactics, instead of such needless things.
The agenda note said the review should include customs and traditions of colonial and pre-colonial era, uniforms, regulations and rules, names of buildings, establishments, roads and parks after top British commanders like Claude Auchinleck and Herbert Kitchener. Citing an example, it said the Queen Mary’s Technical Institute for Differently Abled Soldiers at Pune should be renamed. English names of some units and institutes, “pre-Independence theatre/battle honours awarded by the British to quell the Indian states and freedom” and the affiliation with the Commonwealth Graves Commission should also be reviewed, the note said.