The Army has decided that brigadiers and above rank officers will have a common uniform from August 1 irrespective of their parent cadre and appointment.
- Brigadiers and officers ranked above them will now share a common uniform. The Indian Army made the decision during the Army Commanders Conference.
- There will be no change to the uniform worn by Colonels and below-rank officers.
What will change?
- The headgear, shoulder rank badges, gorget patches, belt and shoes of senior officers will be standardised as part of the decision.
- Senior officers will no longer display regimental lanyards on their shoulders.
- Shoulder flashes such as ‘Special Forces’, ‘Arunachal Scouts’, ‘Dogra Scouts’ will also not be worn.
What has been the current practice?
- In the current practice, senior officers of different ranks wear insignia of their respective arms and regiments on their uniform.
- Infantry and military intelligence officers currently wear green berets, while armoured corp officers wear black berets.
- The dark blue beret is worn by artillery, engineers, signals, air defence, and some minor corps officers, while army aviation corps officers don grey berets.
- Para officers wear their maroon beret once they are promoted to brigadier.
What is the reason for making the change?
- Common identity for all senior-rank officers —
- Although, the distinct identity strengthen camaraderie, esprit de corps and regimental ethos for junior leadership. The identity fosters a strong bond in the same regiment.
- However, brigadiers and above officers are those who have already commanded units, battalions.They are mostly posted at headquarters or establishments.
- Hence, a standard uniform will ensure a common identity for all senior-rank officers while reflecting the true ethos of the Indian Army.
- To reinforce the Indian Army’s character to be a fair and equitable organisation —
- Regimental service in the Army ends at the rank of Colonel for most officers who rise further.
- Therefore, affiliations with a particular regiment or corps must also end at that rank – in order to avoid regimental parochialism in the higher ranks.
- Those at higher ranks often command troops from across regiments, thus it is only appropriate that these officers present themselves in a neutral uniform.
Is this the first time that this is being done?
- In fact, the Army is now reverting to the practice that was followed almost 40 years ago, when the changes towards wearing regimental affiliations took hold in the service.
- Until about the mid-1980s, the regimental service was till the rank of Lt Colonel. Officers of the rank of Colonel and above had common uniform patterns and insignia.
- Colonels and Brigadiers shed their regimental insignia and wore the Ashoka emblem on their cap badges. The colour of beret was khaki.
What is the tradition in other armies?
- British Army —
- In the British army, from where the Indian Army derives its uniform pattern, the uniform worn by officers of the rank of Colonel and above is referred to as the Staff uniform.
- This is to distinguish it from the Regimental uniform.
- Neighbouring countries – Pakistan and Bangladesh —
- Among neighbouring countries, the Pakistan and Bangladesh armies follow the same pattern as the British army.
- All regimental uniform items are discarded beyond the rank of Lt Colonel. All officers of the rank of Brigadier and above wear similar pattern uniforms.