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Army Day 2022: Who was Field Marshal KM Cariappa?

Field Marshal KM Cariappa is known as the man who took charge of the Indian Army from its last British Commander in Chief, General Sir Roy Bucher in 1949.

India TV News Desk Written by: India TV News Desk
New Delhi Updated on: January 15, 2022 7:27 IST
Army Day 2021: Who was Field Marshal KM Cariappa?
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Army Day 2021: Who was Field Marshal KM Cariappa?

Highlights

  • Cariappa was the first Indian Officer to be given command of a unit in 1942
  • He had led troops in the 1947 Indo-Pak war & successfully recaptured Zojila, Drass & Kargil
  • On January 15, 1949, Cariappa became the first Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Army

Army Day is celebrated on January 15 every year in recognition of Field Marshal KM Cariappa's taking over as the first Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Army from Sir Francis Butcher, the last British Commander in 1949.

Who was KM Cariappa?

Field Marshal Sir Kodandera Kipper Madappa Cariappa is known as the man who took charge of the Indian Army from its last British Commander in Chief, General Sir Roy Bucher. Born on January 28, 1899, in Shanivarsanthe, Coorg Province (present day Kodagu district in Karnataka), Cariappa completed his education at Central High School at Madikeri and went on to study at the Presidency College in Madras. He was among the first Indians to be selected for military training. 

Following his training in Indore, he joined the British Indian Army shortly after the end of World War I. Later, he was commissioned into the Carnatic Infantry. He became the first Indian Officer to be given command of a unit in 1942.

He had led his troops in World War II and the first Indo-Pak war of 1947. He successfully recaptured Zojila, Drass and Kargil and established a linkup with Leh.

He went on to receive many awards and accolades in his career spanning three decades. He received the prestigious order of the British Empire (OBE) for his role in Burma against the Japanese force during World War II.

Before taking over as the Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Army, Cariappa served as the commander of the Indian Army's Eastern and Western Commands. He has also conferred the 'Order of the Chief Commander of the Legion of Merit' - the first-ever award of its kind given to an Indian General, by President Harry Truman (the 33rd President of the United States).

In 1947, he became the first Indian to be selected to undergo a training course at Imperial Defence College, Camberley, UK. On January 15, 1949, Cariappa became the first Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Army.

In 1983, he was given the title of Field Marshal (five stars). The only other person who has been conferred the title so far is Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw in 1973.

After retiring from the Indian Army, Field Marshal KM Cariappa served as High Commissioner to Australia and New Zealand till 1956. He died on May 5, 1993, at the age of 94. 

READ MORE: Here's why everyone is talking about Indian Army's new uniform | 10 interesting facts

 

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