Courtesy: Simple Soldier
Many civilians wish to enroll in the Armed Forces but do not wish to devote their lives to the pursuit and the Army offers such people the chance to experience the Army way of life by joining the Territorial Army. The Territorial Army (commonly referred to as TA in India) is an organization of volunteers who receive military training for a few days in a year so that in case of an emergency they can be mobilized for the defense of the country. It is a second line of defense after the Regular Indian Army therefore the Indian Territorial Army is not a profession, occupation or a source of employment. It is only meant for those people who are already in mainstay civilian professions, in fact, gainful employment or self-employment in a civil profession is a pre-requisite for joining the Territorial Army. Update: Dr. Deepak Rao, MS Dhoni and Abhinav Bindra were pipped in by the Army Chief Gen VK Singh on November 1st, 2011. Dr. Deepak Rao was commissioned into the Para TA Regiment with the Hon. Rank of Major by the President of India on 1 Nov 2011 for his contribution of 17 years in modernization of Close Quarter Battle for the Indian Army and MS Dhoni and Abhinav Bindra have been commissioned as Honorary Lt Colonel for their achievements in cricket and shooting. “Every Territorial is twice a citizen, once when he does his ordinary job and the second time when he dons his uniform and plays his part in defense.” – Field Marshal William Joseph Slim, 1st Viscount Slim, KG, GCB, GCMG, GCVO, GBE, DSO, MC. History The Indian Defence Force, formed by the British in 1917 was replaced by the Auxiliary Force (India) and the Indian Territorial Force in 1920. The modern Territorial Army was formally inaugurated by the first Indian Governor General Shri C. Rajagopalachari on October 9, 1949 after the Independence Territorial Army Act was passed in 1948. October 9 is celebrated as Prime Minister’s Territorial Army Day Parade. The Territorial Army initially had various types of units such as armoured regiments, infantry battalions, air defence, medical regiments, engineers field park companies, signal regiments, EME workshops, coast batteries, ASC GT Coy, ASC Compo Pl, and AMC field ambulances. All such units were disbanded or converted to Regular Army units with the exception of infantry battalions by 1972. The Territorial Army units were involved in military operations in 1962, 1965 and 1971 . The “Terriers” as they are called have also taken part in Operation Pawan in Srilanka, Operation Rakshak in Punjab & J&K, Operation Rhino and Operation Bajrang in the North East. Departmental units came to the aid of the civil authorities during industrial unrest and natural calamities, most famous being earthquake in Latoor (Maharastra), Uttarkashi in Garhwal Himalaya and the super cyclone in Orissa. The Ecological units have arrested man made environmental degradation by planting 2.5 crore trees over 20,000 hectare of land in Mussoori Hills & Pithoragarh (UP), Bikaner & Jaisalmer (Rajasthan) and ravines of Chambal in Madhya Pradesh. Force Structure The Territorial Army is part of the regular Indian Army and it’s present role is to relieve the Regular Army from static duties and assist civil administration in dealing with natural calamities and maintenance of essential services in situations where life of the communities is affected or the security of the country is threatened, and to provide units for the Regular Army as and when required. Presently the Territorial Army has a strength of approximately 40,000 first line troops (and 160,000 second line troops) comprising departmental Territorial Army units such as Railway, IOC, ONGC, Telecommunication and General Hospital, and the non Departmental Territorial Army units of Infantry Battalion and Ecological Battalion affiliated to various Infantry Regiments. Terrier Training Infantry training is carried out on either urban and provincial systems depending on where the recruit originates from. Urban Training System Recruit Training: Training is carried out on weekends and holidays. Four hours of training is counted as one day. Thirty-two days in the first year only including a camp of not less than four days if the trainee volunteers with the written consent of his employer, if any. Annual Training: A minimum of thirty days, with extensions up to a maximum of sixty days including a camp for fourteen days. Post Commission Training: All Officers are required to undergo ten weeks of Post commission training within two years of their commissioning. Voluntary training to gain additional military training, provided the trainee Volunteers with the written consent of the employer, if any. Provincial Training System Recruit Training: For a continuous period of thirty days in the first year only. Annual Training: For a continuous period of two calendar months in the first and subsequent years. Post commission Training: Officers receive ten weeks of compulsory post commission training within two years of commissioning. Voluntary Training to gain additional military training, provided the trainee volunteers with the written consent of his employer, if any. Notable Members Many famous Indians have been members of this unique force, including Brigadier K P Singh Deo, former Cabinet Minister; Captain Rao Birender Singh, former Chief Minister of the State of Haryana; Subir Raha, former Chairman, ONGC; Padam Shree, Brigadier (Retd) Dr. Kapil Mohan V.S.M. PhD Managing Director, Mohan Meakin Breweries and various present ministers, legislators, senior civil officers and professionals. Muthukrishnan Iyyappan, commissioned in 1999 was the first officer of the Territorial Army to be permanently seconded to the regular army. He joined the 3rd battalion of 8 Gorkha Rifles and served a tenure at the Siachen Glacier (first officer of Territorial Army to serve in Siachen). He was also posted at the Defense Services Staff College where he was the Officer Commanding – Troops during 1999-2000. Navdeep Singh, a lawyer, is known to have received the highest number of decorations/awards in the Territorial Army. Major Vishal Bakshi, Chairman of VR Industries, was awarded with the Vishisht Seva Medal, on Republic Day, 2010. Prof. Dr. Deepak Rao, a military trainer, scientist, author, and physician is an authority in the field of Close Quarter Battle training. He was commissioned into the Para TA Regiment with the Hon. Rank of Major by the President of India on 1 Nov 2011 for his contribution of 17 years in modernization of Close Quarter Battle for the Indian Army. He serves as the Executive Director of the Unarmed & Commando Combat Academy and has been appointed as Resource Personnel for imparting training in Close Quarter Battle by the Ministry of Home Affairs, India.