Since 1949, January 15 has been observed as Army Day to commemorate the day General KM Cariappa, later Field Marshal, succeeded Gen F R Roy Bucher as the first Indian Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Army.
The new combat uniform for the Indian Army was introduced during the ceremonies on Saturday, which included a parade and an address by Army Chief Gen M M Naravane.
The new uniform will be made accessible to the Indian Army’s almost 12 lakh men in stages.
What is the significance of an army’s uniform?
Uniforms are one of the most recognizable characteristics of every military force. The uniform not only distinguishes civilians from military troops and personnel from various militaries, but it also fosters unity, uniformity, and discipline among the personnel. On Army Day, the troops of the elite parachute unit marched to unveil the new uniform.
What distinguishes the new uniform from the Army’s previous outfit?
The camouflage pattern, design, and use of a new material are the key differences between the new uniform and the old one, which has been in use since 2008.
While the new unique camouflage design has the same colour palette — olive green and dirt tones — the pattern is now digital.
It was created with the numerous different operating environments in mind that soldiers face, such as deserts, high-altitude places, jungles, and plains.
What distinguishes the cloth used in the new uniform?
The other significant modification in the outfit is this. The new fabric is lighter, sturdier, more breathable, and better suited to the various terrains in which soldiers are stationed.
The 70:30 cotton-to-polyester ratio makes it quick to dry, pleasant to wear in humid and hot situations, and lightweight.
It is an ergonomically designed, operationally successful new-generation camouflage combat uniform, according to the Army. Compared to the current uniform, the fabric is 15% lighter and has 23% better tearing strength.
The ergonomic characteristics make it comfortable to wear for long periods of time, and tiny functions are included in for use by the wearer in field circumstances.
What about the uniform’s components and design?
Unlike the old uniform, the new one features a combat T-shirt below and a shirt on top. In addition, unlike in the past, the shirt will not be tucked in.
The shirt’s “jacket” features angular top pockets, lower pockets with vertical openings, back knife pleats, a pocket on the left sleeve, a pen holder on the left forearm, and improved-quality buttons.
The trousers will have a second layer at the waist and will be adjustable at the waist with elastic and buttons.
The girth of the caps will be adjustable, and the Army logo will be of higher quality than before.
For the first time, a customised version of the uniform has been created to meet the special needs of female Army leaders and troops.
Who created the outfit, and why did the Army choose it?
The design work began before Army Chief Gen Naravane took over in January 2020, and was completed by him. However, once a few designs were shortlisted, the Army Commanders had to make a consensus selection.
The uniform was designed by a 12-person team from the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), which includes seven professors, three students, and two graduates, after consulting with the Army and bearing in mind the “4Cs” — comfort, temperature, camouflage, and confidentiality.
The fabric was chosen from a list of five alternatives curated by NIFT exclusively for the Army, while the finalised pattern was one of 17 options created specifically for the Army.
Fabric, camouflage patterns, and design domain experts were enlisted, and prototypes were created through a continuous consultative process.
Is the outfit going to be sold at stores across the country?
While many forces upgrade their uniforms over time, the easy availability of the Army’s current fighting pattern cloth across the country was one of the causes that contributed to this transition. Soldiers could purchase the material and have their uniforms sewn together.
The new uniform will be available in over a dozen pre-stitched standard sizes to prevent random proliferation. To protect their uniqueness, the uniforms will be barcoded and QR coded, and will be distributed only through the ordnance chain or military canteens.
The Army will release tenders for the uniforms’ fabrication to private and public enterprises, and the uniforms will be distributed to personnel in stages.
Are the Army’s uniforms all changing?
No. It’s worth noting that just the combat outfit has altered. The Army has a variety of uniforms, including olive greens for peacekeeping deployments and ceremonial uniforms.