Jammu: To honour the supreme sacrifice of the infantry in fighting the Pakistani raiders in Jammu and Kashmir in 1947, the Indian Army on Tuesday celebrated its 68th Infantry Day with traditional solemnity and gaiety all across the Northern Command.
The General Officer Commanding in Chief (GOC-in-C) of the Northern Command, Lt Gen DS Hooda, laid wreath on the 'Dhruva Shahid Smarak' in Udhampur, in remembrance and honour of all those members of the Infantry fraternity, who made the supreme sacrifice for the honour and safety of the country , defence spokesman Col SD Goswami said.
Similar memorial services were held all across Jammu and Kashmir, he said.
October 27 is celebrated as Infantry Day by the Indian Army as it was on this day that an Infantry Company of the First Battalion of the Sikh Regiment was airlifted from Delhi to Srinagar to liberate Kashmir from the invading tribals who were supported by Pakistan Army.
This action was ordered by then Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru after Maharaja Hari Singh signed the Instrument of Accession acceding Jammu Kashmir to India.
In his message to the Infantry, Lt Gen Hooda, the senior most Infantry officer in the region, complimented all Infantry men for their devotion towards duty and indomitable spirit while working under trying and difficult conditions.
He acknowledged their tremendous contribution in maintaining the sanctity of the nation's borders and fighting terrorism in Jamu and Kashmir.
Another significance is that, it was on this day in 1947, India as an independent nation was first time engaged in operations against an aggressor, Goswami said.
Infantry, also popularly known as the "Queen of the Battle", is the largest fighting arm of the Indian Army, he said, adding, it is the backbone of the Indian Army and its soldiers bear the main brunt in any battle.
"Physical fitness, aggression and discipline are the basic qualities required in these men. The Infantry units of Indian Army have been modernized, equipped and trained to make the force amongst the best in the world", he said.
He said that the Pakistan Army had launched 'Operation Gulmarg' in early October 1947 using tribals to annex Jammu and Kashmir.
"Hostilities began in early October 1947, when a tribal rebellion was instigated in Poonch in Southwest Kashmir. By October 20, 1947 the Pakistani Army entered the conflict in support of the tribal forces."
"On October 22, 1947, a Lashkar of 5,000 tribals invaded the Kashmir Valley from Abbottabad. Maharaja Hari Singh signed the Instrument of Accession on October 26, 1947, thus making Jammu and Kashmir an integral part of India and the Indian Army was thereafter ordered to evict the invaders", he said.
He said that the entire campaign was predominantly Infantry centric and its commencement on October 27, 1947 is commemorated as 'Infantry Day'.