India has one of the finest armies in the world. Our soldiers have proved their mettle in all theatres of wars since prehistoric times, hi recent times our soldiers were sent to the Congo, Suez, Indo-China and Korea on missions of peace.
During the last two World Wars our soldiers fought in Europe, Africa and the Middle East and won laurels for the British Empire. Our soldiers served in France and other countries also.
They helped to bring Hitler and his armies to their knees. Wherever they were sent, victory was theirs. It goes to the credit of the Indian Anny that the first Victoria Cross went to the credit of an Indian soldier.
Our soldiers have never surrendered. Their motto has always been "do or die". In the India-China war of October-November 1962 and later in the Indo-Pak war of September, 1965 one Indian soldier killed many times his enemy counterparts on various fronts.
If India retreated in the India-China war it was not for want of courage but for want of adequate weapons which the Chinese had and we did not. hi fact our soldiers were not even adequately clothed. As an American paper said, our soldiers were fighting on icy tops of the mountains in summer uniforms.
If we had fought for the British so heroically, we could certainly fight for defending our freedom. But we have to train our army for the purpose. We are not only short of weapons but also short of trained officers to lead the armies. We will have to fill all the gaps as rapidly as possible. It is a hazardous task to give rapid promotion to junior officers but we are sure they will justify the confidence of the nation placed in them.
The Indian Army has three wings-land forces, navy and air force. The Chiefs of the three forces are directly under the President of India, who is the Supreme Commander of our armed forces.
The three wings of the Indian Army need to be strengthened. It is a pity that some of the leaders of our country failed to foresee the Chinese threat and slowed down defense production. The India-China war has served a useful purpose. With the aid of friendly nations we will soon make up the loss. Let every Indian soldier remember the inspiring message of one of the ablest leaders of India, Sardar Patel:-
"The deeds of gallantry you performed in the two Great wars adorn the pages of world history. Even the enemy recognised your merit in war. You proved yourself first-class soldiers, inferior to none in the world. But then you fought for others. Now you have to fight for your own country, your beloved India.
"You should prepare yourself for the responsibility which will continue to increase. We have won the freedom. It is for you to guard it. You have to make an all-round effort to maintain and consolidate it. Let the discharge of your duties be your privilege. You will enhance the reputation of your country and the country will be proud of you."