Infantry Day: 75 years of historic Indian Army landing at Srinagar airfield

SRINAGAR: Exactly 75 years ago troops of the Army’s 1 Sikh Regiment had arrived at the old airfield of Srinagar, carried in Dakota aircraft, to protect Jammu and Kashmir from Pakistani forces.
It was the first military operation of Independent India, a move that changed the course of the 1947-48 War.
The first of the Indian Army soldiers dispatched for the mission had landed at then dusty airfield on October 27, 1947 to repulse Pakistani forces.
This day is celebrated as Infantry Day by the Army to commemorate the historic event.
To mark the landmark occasion, the Army is hosting ‘Shaurya Diwas’ at the old airfield of Srinagar (Budgam airfield).
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir Manoj Sinha on Thursday arrived at the Air Force Station in Srinagar to attend the 75th anniversary of Infantry Day.
Some of the key scenes of the historic landings are scheduled to be reenacted there to mark the landmark occasion.
At the venue, huge cut-outs of Brig Rajinder Singh, Brig Mohd Usman, Maj Somnath Sharma and Maqbool Sherwani were mounted, ‘Shaurya Diwas’ posters were put up.
Usha Sharma, octogenarian daughter of Brig Rajinder Singh and family members of other martyrs are also attending the event.
The Army on Thursday morning in a tweet said, “‘Infantry–The Ultimate’. General Manoj Pande #COAS and All Ranks of #IndianArmy convey best wishes to all ranks, #Veterans, #VeerNaris and families of the #Infantry on the occasion of 76th #InfantryDay.”
It also shared a small video clip showcasing the strength of the infantry, and also some archival footage.
Srinagar-based Chinar Corps also took to Twitter to convey it’s wishes on the landmark occasion.
“#ChinarCorps extends greetings and best wishes to all ranks, veterans, veer naris and families of #Infantry on the occasion of 76th #InfantryDay. We salute the courage, valour and sacrifice of our infantrymen in line of duty for the Nation.” it tweeted.
During the Infantry Day celebrations last year, some of the major scenes from the historic event were reenacted.The Dakota, a Douglas DC-3 aircraft, which had carried the first forces personnel, was also displayed
Douglas DC-3 aircraft, better known as the Dakota, carried the troops of the Army’s 1 Sikh Regiment to Srinagar on October 27, 1947, during the first India-Pak War, besides carrying supplies and refugees.
The Army had landed at the airfield after the ‘instrument of accession’ was signed on October 26, 1947, between the then Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir Hari Singh and the Union of India.
The reenactment of the historic event to be organised at Old Air Field in Srinagar, is to pay obeisance to the brave soldiers and people of Jammu and Kashmir who laid down their lives, and also to honour the next of kin of war heroes who participated in the 1947-48 war, an official said on Wednesday.
Under command of Lieutenant Colonel Dewan Ranjit Rai, who later laid down his life at Baramulla, changed the course of the war, wherein people and soldiers of State Forces of Jammu and Kashmir and the Indian Army fought alongside valiantly, to evict Pakistani forces, driving them out of most of Jammu and Kashmir till ceasefire on January 5, 1949, the Army had earlier said. PTI

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