The President of India Droupadi Murmu has presented Silver Trumpet and Trumpet Banner to the President’s Bodyguard. It possesses the unique distinction of being the only military unit of the Indian Army privileged to carry the President’s Silver Trumpet and Trumpet Banner.
History of President’s Bodyguard –
- The PBG is the oldest regiment of the Indian Army.
- It is the senior-most unit of the Army, whose distinction is in its position as ‘Right of the Line’ on all official and ceremonial occasions. The PBG, thus, takes precedence over all other regiments and corps.
- The PBG was raised in 1773 at Benares (now Varanasi) by then Governor Warren Hastings, with a strength of 50 handpicked troopers.
- This nucleus of the Bodyguard was later augmented by another 50 horsemen, provided by Raja Cheyt Singh of Benares, thus bringing the overall strength of the regiment up to 100 horses and men by the end of that year.
- The establishment of the regiment varied through the years, being augmented in times of war and it attained its maximum strength of 1,929 all ranks, as per the Army List of 1845, just prior to the First Sikh War.
- The PBG continued to be a select Cavalry Unit, primarily for the personal and battlefield security of the Governor and later Governor General, who often had to personally lead his forces into battle.
- The Raising Charter clearly spelt out the role of the PBG, namely — “To act as Bodyguard to the Governor in peace and to accompany him as Commander-in-Chief in battle”.
- This unique band of select troops, in over two centuries of service, has seen action in various roles — as mounted and dismounted cavalry; Artillery, with ‘Galloper Guns’ in the Egyptian Expedition of 1801-1802; Marines in 1809, protecting naval transports in the Bay of Bengal; and more recently as mechanised and airborne troops.
About the President’s Bodyguard today –
- As of today, PBG is a small body of handpicked men, comprising four officers, 14 Junior Commissioned Officers (JCOs) and 161 troopers backed by administrative support personnel.
- This establishment has not changed much since the 19th century.
- Its men are trained for operational duties, both, as tankmen and airborne troops in addition to their ceremonial role.
- The physical standards for the PBG are very specific with six feet being the minimum height for a trooper.
- Men of the PBG are expert horsemen, adept at ceremonial punctilio, trained combat paratroopers, armoured vehicle crewmen and tradesmen.
- Honed in diverse combat skills, the PBG personnel have proven their worth in battle as well as in mounted tourneys and equestrian skills.