Indians get army ranks

On August 25, 1917 Indians were introduced into the commissioned ranks in the Indian army.

Published - August 26, 2017 04:06 pm IST

Before the independence, the British Indian army was also known as the Indian Army. It took care of British India and the Princely States. Before the end of World War 1, a decision was taken to Indianise the Army. Seven Indians who had served the British Indian Army were granted King's Commission in the Infantry and the Cavalry. And two more were inducted a few months later.


Indians were to be introduced into the Commissioned ranks of the defence forces. The British were happy with the contribution made by the Indian troops who in turn wanted to be treated as equal to the British.

But, not many on the side of the British were happy. Edwin Montagu (British liberal politician and Secretary of State for India ) believed that it was not enough to merely appreciate the efforts of the Indian troops but steps should be taken to recognise the service of the members. Lord Frederick Roberts, a British soldier and a successful commander felt that though credit was due to them, he did not see them as future leaders. Claude Auchinleck, a British Army Commander too was against this idea.

The Montagu-Chelmsford report submitted in 1918 stated the need for the foundation of self governance in India. This led to the transferring of the nationality of the Indian Army officer corps from British to Indian. However, self governance was only figurative till the end of World War 11.

The next three years did not see any significant change and just 10 places were given to Indians at the Royal Military College in Sandhurst, near London. In 1921, a Military Recruitment Committee was established, with Lord Rawling as Chairman, and Indians were given a chance to prove their efficiency as officers. They were then promoted to higher ranks and Indian cadets were sent to the Royal Military Academy in England. The newly trained officers were also given full commission as King’s Commissioned Indian Officers who were equal to the British, and enjoyed complete authority over British troops.

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