COMMON UNIFORMS FOR HIGHER OFFICIALS OF ARMY
WHY IN NEWS?
- A decision has been taken at the recent Army Commanders Conference that from August 1, all officers of the rank of Brigadier and above Major Generals, Lieutenant Generals, and General will wear common uniform items irrespective of their regimental or corps affiliation.
PROPOSED CHANGES :
- All officers of the rank of Brigadier, Maj General, Lt General, and General will now wear berets (caps) of the same colour, common badges of rank, a common belt buckle, and a common pattern of shoes.
- They will no longer wear regimental lanyards (cords) on their shoulders.
- They will also not wear any shoulder flashes like ‘Special Forces’, ‘Arunachal Scouts’, ‘Dogra Scouts’, etc.
- Thus, there will be no item of uniform that will identify them as belonging to a particular Regiment or Corps.
- All officers of these higher ranks will dress alike in the same pattern of uniform.
- The headgear, shoulder rank badges, gorget patches, belt and shoes of senior officers will be standardised as part of the decision.
REASON FOR MAKING THIS CHANGE:
- Regimental service in the Army ends at the rank of Colonel for most officers who rise further.
- Thus, all uniform affiliations with that particular Regiment or Corps must also end at that rank, so that any regimental parochialism that may exist is not promoted to the higher ranks.
- Since appointments at higher ranks can often mean commanding troops of mixed regimental lineage, it is only appropriate that the senior officers commanding these troops should present themselves in a neutral uniform rather than a regimental one.
- The distinct identity is vital strengthen camaraderie, esprit de corps and regimental ethos for junior leadership.
- The identity fosters a strong bond in the same regiment.
- This will also reinforce the Indian Army’s character to be a fair and equitable organisation.
IS THIS FIRST TIME CHANGE IS BEING DONE:
- In fact, the Army is now reverting to the practice that was followed almost 40 years ago, when the changes towards wearing regimental affiliations took hold in the service.
- Until about the mid-1980s, the regimental service was till the rank of Lt Colonel.
- Officers of the rank of Colonel and above had common uniform patterns and insignia.
- Colonels and Brigadiers shed their regimental insignia and wore the Ashoka emblem on their cap badges. The colour of beret was khaki.
- However, a decision was taken in the mid-1980s to upgrade the command of a Battalion or Regiment to the rank of Colonel.
- Thus, Colonels again started wearing the regimental insignia.
- In addition, Brigadiers were allowed to wear the cap badge of General officers which comprises crossed sword and baton with a wreath of oak leaves.
- As of now, all officers from the rank of Lieutenant to General wear uniform accoutrements (additional items of dress or equipment) as per their regimental or corps affiliation.
- The ceremonial headgear also varies while most Infantry regiments, Armoured Corps regiments, and other arms and services have a peak cap with the regimental badge, the Gorkha Rifles regiments, Kumaon Regiment, Garhwal Regiment, and Naga Regiment officers wear a kind of slouch hat which is called Terai Hat or Gorkha Hat colloquially.
- The buttons on the uniform also vary in accordance with the regimental tradition. The rifle regiments wear black buttons while officers of the Brigade of The Guards wear golden buttons.
- The belt has varied buckles as per regimental traditions, and each carries its own crest.
SYLLABUS: PRELIMS, CURRENT AFFAIRS