Army chief to be honorary colonel of Brigade of the Guards

New Delhi, July 12 (Calcutta Tube) Gen. V.K. Singh will Wednesday take over as the honorary colonel of the Brigade of the Guards, an elite regiment of the Indian Army he heads.

An army spokesperson Monday said the ceremony would be held at Kamptee, Maharashtra, July 14 and 15.

The army chief will be the 17th honorary colonel of the mixed class composition infantry regiment – where troops from all parts of India serve together in various battalions of the regiment.

It was formed in 1949 by then army chief General K.M. Carriappa, India’s first Field Marshal, and Guards was a title coined to denote a body of handpicked soldiers

Apart from India, there are ‘Guards’ regiments in England, Switzerland, France, Russia and Holland.

India’s Brigade of the Guards was modeled on the British Coldstream Guards.

‘Raising of the brigade with mixed class composition was a bold experiment. No one was sure whether men in an infantry unit, who fought with exemplary zeal, in the name of their respective class composition would do so in a mixed battalion also, which was composed of all classes and religions,’ the spokesperson said.

Carriappa selected four existing infantry battalions — 2/2 Punjab now called the 1 Guards, 1 Grenadiers now called the 2 Guards, 1 Rajputana Rifles now 3 Guards and 1 Rajput now 4 Guards – which were among the oldest in the army.

Since Independence, Guards battalions have seen action on the India-China border, in Gaza and Angola with UN forces and in India-Pakistan wars and counter-insurgency operations.

Though the Brigade of The Guards is only 61 years old, its constituent battalions go back as far as 250 years and between them share 93 battle honours earned around the globe.

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