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Dinesh Singh asked: What is the importance of regimentation in the army?

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  • Vivek Chadha replies: The idea of regimentation emerged from the British Indian Army, which was created on regional lines. Over the years, it underwent several stages of restructuring especially after the transfer of power from East India Company to the British Government. However, the underlying core of the regimental system remained intact. This included recruitment of soldiers from specific regions across the country and building up of associations which remained in place well into the retirement of soldiers.

    Interestingly, even after independence, the Indian Army chose to retain the fundamentals of the regimental system, given the strengths it had built over the years. This includes a sense of pride in the history and achievements of each of the regiments, which was created over the decades and in some cases centuries. It included victories on the battlefield and traditions and customs which were peculiar to them. In addition, the regimental system through its regional associations created a social structure which strengthened ties amongst members of the ever-enlarging family. It instilled a sense of belonging amongst the battalions and within the regiment. This, in turn, helped nurture the esprit de corps or brotherhood – an invaluable element both during peace and war.

    The regimental system also ensured a sense of continuity that binds the soldiers into one large family. It contributes to morale and pride, both essential factors for warfighting.

    In many ways, the regimental system of the Indian Army is a microcosm of the country which has wide regional distinctions. While each region takes pride in their local customs and traditions, the strength of the regimental identity further contributes to the larger national cause by bringing out the very best in them. Regimentation helps achieve excellence within each battalion, which is the most important building block of the Indian Army.

    Posted on July 01, 2020

    Views expressed are of the expert and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Manohar Parrikar IDSA or the Government of India.