New Delhi: Army Chief General V K Singh will
take over as the honorary Colonel of the Brigade of the Guards
regiment, a tradition in the Indian Army.
An Army press release said here today that the ceremony
in which Gen Singh would take over his honorary post would
take place at Kamtee on July 14 and 15. He will be the 17th
honorary Colonel of the Brigade of the Guards.
The Brigade of the Guards was formed in 1949 by then Army
Chief General K M Carriappa, who went on to become India`s
first Field Marshal.
`Guards` was a title coined to denote a body of
handpicked soldiers, who performed special functions around
the Royalty or Heads of States.
Apart from India, there are `Guards" regiments in
England, Switzerland, France, Russia and Holland.
"Indian Army`s Brigade of the Guards is modelled on the
British Coldstream Guards. Raising of Brigade of the Guards
with mixed class composition was a bold experiment. No one was
sure whether men in an infantry unit, who fought with
exemplary zeal in the name of their respective class
composition would do so in a mixed battalion also, which was
composed of all classes and religions," the release said.
Gen Carriappa selected four existing infantry battalions,
which were among the oldest in the army, had an excellent
operational record and had won a number of battle honours.
As in the Western armies, the four Guards Battalions were
given seniority over all battalions. Care was taken that the
four selected units did not lose their old identity.
The four battalions that were converted into Guards are
2/2 Punjab now called the 1 Guards, 1 Grenadiers now called
the 2 Guards, 1 Rajputana Rifles now 3 Guards and 1 Rajput now
4 Guards, the release said.
Since Independence, Guards battalions have seen action on
Indo-China border, in Gaza and Angola with UN forces, in
addition to Indo-Pak wars and counter-insurgency operations.
Though the Brigade of The Guards is only 61 years old,
its constituent battalions go back as far as 250 years and
between them share 93 battle honours earned around the globe.
When the Guards were raised, Field Marshal Cariappa
approached then President Rajendra Prasad to be the
Colonel-in-Chief of the senior-most and elite regiment, which
was accepted. Since then the Presidents have been
Colonels-in-Chief of The Brigade of Guards.
Cariappa became the first ex-officio Colonel of the
Brigade and the Commanders-in-Chief continued to hold this
title till Gen J N Choudhary relinquished it in January 1964.
Since then the Army chiefs have been honorary Colonels of
the Brigade of Guards.