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Southern Command: Army’s shining star

By OneIndia Defence Desk

The Indian Army is gearing up to celebrate the 67th Army Day on January 15, 2015. With growing pressures across the borders and increasing low-intensity conflicts within the country, the role of Indian Army is changing by the day.

On the occasion of Army Day, here's a close look at the Southern Command and some of its significant achievements. The Command is headquartered in Pune. (The matter is being sourced from the Ministry of Defence, the Indian Army and the Press Information Bureau).


Investiture Ceremony in Mumbai this year

The Army Day is celebrated every year on January 15 to mark the taking over of the Indian Army by the first Indian Commander-in-Chief, Lieutenant General (Later Field Marshal) K M Cariappa on the January 15, 1948. He took over the reins of the Indian Army from Lieutenant General Sir Francis Butcher, the last British Commander-in-Chief.

The day is marked by ceremonial events all over India. This year, the Southern Command will be hosting an Investiture Ceremony in Mumbai at the Gateway of India on January 15. 2015. Thirty recipients of various gallantry and distinguished services awards will be honoured on the occasion.

The formal raising of Southern Command was on April 1, 1895. The Southern Command is responsible for guarding the Western and Southern borders. It has taken part in all major military operations since Independence. The Command has also provided succor to the citizens in times of natural calamities and disasters.


Key role during Indo-Pak War in 1965

The Command was responsible for Junagarh and Hyderabad signing the Instruments of Accession to India. The process of nation building also saw the Southern Command playing a stellar role in the liberation of Goa from the Portuguese in 1961. The Command played an important part in the 1965 war with Pakistan.

The Southern Star Command gave an outstanding account of itself in 1971 Indo-Pak war. The legendary Battle of Longewala was fought in the Jaisalmer Sector under the Command. The offensive launched by the Southern Command in Khokrapar and Gadra city in West Pakistan was instrumental in capturing nearly 9000 square kms of Pakistani territory in the Barmer Sector which was the largest area captured in the Western Theatre while the major part of the war raged on in the Eastern Theatre.


Playing a real hero when it matters the most

The Command has provided relief to the citizens on a number of occasions when nature's fury or man-made disasters have struck the citizens in the Southern part of the country.

Be it the Bombay Dock Workers' Strike in 1947, the Koyna earthquake of 1960, the Khadakswala Dam burst of 1961, earthquakes in Latur in 1993 and in Bhuj in 2001, the tsunami in 2004, the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai or floods which have ravaged various parts of India every year, the Southern Command has always been there to help those who were affected.

Infallible and indefatigable soldiers of Southern Command have always put their lives at risk to save the helpless victims. In 2014, the soldiers of Southern Command were called out to provide rescue and relief during a number of natural calamities including cyclone Hud-Hud that hit Coastal Andhra Pradesh in October 2014 and floods that swept Vadodara in September 2014.

The Command also provided material and manpower for Op Meghraahat, flood relief in the devastating floods in the Kashmir Valley in September 2014.


Best training establishments under the Command

The Southern Command also has the proud privilege of being home to some of the best training establishments of the Indian Army like the NDA, the School of Artillery, Deolali, the OTA, Chennai, the Armoured Corps Centre and the School, Ahmednagar, College of Military Engineering, Pune to name a few. In all, there are 23 major training institutions located in the Southern Command.

Sports persons are trained regularly at the Army Sports Institute (ASI), Pune and the Army Rowing Node (ARN), CME, Pune. Various Army teams have brought laurels for the nation during the Asian Games 2014 held at Incheon.


Series of welfare measures

The Command has also initiated a number of welfare measures to take care of the the need of veterans and veer naries residing in the area of responsibility. The formation remains steadfast in furthering the cause of the Indian Army to take care of all personnel associated with it both serving and retired, and their families.

Photo Courtesy: MoD (Chennai)

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