History of Territorial Army in India
The Indian Defence Force that incorporated Europeans and Indians in distinct segments was established in 1917, by the British. This was replaced in the year 1920 by the Auxiliary Force (India) and the Indian Territorial Force for Indians. The current Territorial Army was officially inducted by C. Rajagopalachari, the first Indian Governor General, on 9th October, 1949 after the Independence Territorial Army Act was passed in the year 1948. This day is noted as Prime Minister's Territorial Army Day Parade. Initially, the Territorial Army in India had different types of units like armoured regiments, air defence, infantry battalions, medical regiments, ASC GT Coy, signal regiments, engineers field park companies, ASC Compo Pl, EME workshops, coast batteries and AMC field ambulances. By the year 1972, these units were either split up or transformed to Regular Army units, except the infantry battalions.
In India, Territorial Army units were vigorously engaged in military operations in1962, 1965 and 1971. The Terriers, as they are known, have also participated in Operation Rakshak in Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir, Operation Pawan in Sri Lanka, Operation Bajrang and Operation Rhino in the North East. The departmental units also provided aid to the civil authorities during industrial unrest and natural calamities, such as in the super cyclone in Orissa, earthquakes Uttarkashi in Garhwal Himalayaand Latur in Maharashtra. The Ecological units of Territorial Army in India have also provided support in reducing environmental degradation by planting 2.5 crore trees over 20,000 hectare of land in Mussoorie Hills, Pithoragarh, Bikaner, Jaisalmer and Chambal in Madhya Pradesh.
Functions of Territorial Army in India
The Territorial Army in India is a division of the Indian Army. The current function of the Territorial Army is to alleviate the regular Army from static responsibilities and support civil administration to deal with natural calamities. Moreover the organisation has to maintain essential services in situations when the security of the country is threatened or the life of civilians is affected. It also provides personnel units to regular Indian Army as and when needed.
At present, the Territorial Army in India has a force of around 40,000 first line troops and 160,000 second line troops and comprises of departmental Territorial Army units like Railway, ONGC, General Hospital, IOC and Telecommunication. It also consists of non Departmental Territorial Army units of Infantry Battalion and Ecological Battalion that are affiliated to diverse Infantry Regiments.
Training of Territorial Army in India
The Territorial Army in India provides infantry training on urban and provincial systems. These are discussed below-
Urban Systems of Training
* Recruit Training: Training sessions are conducted on weekends and national holidays. Four hours of combined training is counted as one single day and 32days in the first year, which also includes a camp of not less than 4 days, but only if the trainee volunteers have written consent of his employer.
* Annual Training: The annual training is conducted for a minimum period of 30 days, with can extend up to a maximum of 60 days, including a camp for a period of maximum 14 days.
* Post Commission Training: All Officers are required to undergo 10 weeks of Post commission training within 2 years of their commissioning.
Moreover, voluntary training is also provided to the trainee volunteers in order to gain additional military training, but with the written consent of the employer, if any.
Provincial Systems of Training
* Recruit Training: This is for a continuous period of 30 days in the first year only.
* Annual Training: the Annual training is for a continuous period of 2 calendar months in the first and subsequent years.
* Post commission Training: Officers receive 10 weeks of compulsory Post Commission Training within 2 years of commissioning.
Furthermore, voluntary Training is also provided to the trainee volunteers to gain additional military training, with the written consent of employer, if any.
Honorary Officers of Territorial Army in India
Many renowned and popular Indians have been members of the Territorial Army in India. Some distinguished personalities have also become Honorary Officers in the Indian Territorial Army such as Nana Patekar (Hon. Captain), Kapil Dev (Hon. Lieutenant Colonel), Mohanlal (Hon. Lieutenant Colonel), Deepak Rao (Hon. Rank of Major), Mahendra Singh Dhoni (Hon. Lt Col) and Abhinav Bindra (Hon. Lt Col).