Territorial Army inducts five Chinese language interpreters for border talks
Five Chinese-speaking translators were hired by the Territorial Army (TA) in August to help the army at border personnel meetings (BPMs) with China, according to sources in the military. Additionally, plans exist to hire cyber experts.
The Indian Territorial Army (TA) is a voluntary, auxiliary military organization that offers support services to the Indian Army. In addition to bearing ranks similar to those in the Indian Army, it is made up of officers, junior commissioned officers, non-commissioned officers, and other individuals. The purpose of the TA is to “relieve the regular army from static duties and assist the civil administration in dealing with natural calamities and maintenance of essential services”, along with “provide units for the regular army as and when required”
What is the historical background behind the Territorial Army?
- Colonial Period: The English East India Company recognized the necessity for a group of part-time troops to defend its economic interests when it first established a foothold in India in the early 17th century. These part-time troops were frequently available staff members for the business. These part-time forces developed over time into the TA’s founding elements.
- Companie of Trained Bands: The English East India Company established the “Companies of Trained Bands” at Madras (Chennai) in 1687 to protect itself from rival European nations like the French East India Company and indigenous princely states. These forces participated in the early conflicts and were sporadic.
- Indian Rebellion of 1857: The Sepoy Mutiny, also known as the Indian Rebellion of 1857, was a pivotal event. Following the uprising, the British Crown replaced the East India Company as the country’s ruler. As a result, part-time troops that already existed were restructured, and the Volunteer Force (VFI) was established legally.
- Volunteer Force (VFI): Indians and Europeans who volunteered for part-time service made up the Volunteer Force (VFI), which was established in the late 19th century. It participated in several wars, including World War I and the Second Boer War. Part-time volunteer forces became more popular during this time.
- Indian Defence Force (IDF): The Indian Defence Force (IDF) was founded in 1917 during World War I to relieve regular troops from garrison responsibilities. It was essential to the war effort and consisted of both Indian volunteers and conscripts from Europe.
- Indian Territorial Force (ITF): The VFI and IDF were replaced and reorganized to create the ITF in 1920. The University Training Corps (UTC), the ITF’s youth division, was made up of part-time Indian soldiers. This signalled the use of part-time forces in a more planned and organised manner.
- Post-Independence: Part-time volunteer forces were still required after India attained independence in 1947. In 1948, the Constituent Assembly received the Territorial Army Bill, which resulted in the creation of the Territorial Army in its contemporary form. The TA was constituted by reorganizing and re-designing existing ITF infantry units.
What are the roles of the Territorial Army?
- Release from Static Duties of Regular Army: One of the main purposes of the TA is to release the regular army from static duties. The regular army can then concentrate on tasks that are more tactical and combat-oriented by delegating some non-operational, administrative, and garrison functions to TA units. During times of peace, this release from static chores is especially beneficial.
- Assisting Civil Administration during Natural Calamities: Aiding the civil administration in times of natural disasters The TA is frequently asked to support civil government during natural disaster relief operations. TA units can offer essential assistance during crises caused by earthquakes, cyclones, floods, and other natural disasters. In rescue and relief efforts, they assist with the distribution of necessary supplies and the evacuation of populations.
- Maintenance of essential Services: The TA can help maintain important services during emergencies or when they are interrupted. Tasks including assuring the supply of necessities, handling logistics, and assisting with the operation of vital infrastructure like power plants and communication networks are included in this.
- Units for the Regular Army: The TA acts as a pool of qualified individuals who can be called up and incorporated into the regular army as and when necessary. TA units and troops may be requested to help the regular army in times of national emergency or during times of increased security threats.
- Supporting Specialist Activities: The TA has taken part in several specialist activities, including mountaineering excursions and environmental projects. In addition to performing typical military duties, TA units have scaled mountains, planted trees, and participated in environmental conservation initiatives.
- Participating in Peacekeeping Missions: Although less frequent than other responsibilities, certain TA units have been sent on missions to maintain international peace and security.
What are the major operations that TA were part of?
- 1962 Sino-Indian War: TA battalions were activated and took an active part in the conflict. During this fight on the Indo-China border, they assisted the regular Indian Army.
- Indo-Pakistani War of 1965: TA units were once more called into combat during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965 to assist the regular army in defending India’s borders against Pakistani incursions.
- Indo-Pakistani War of 1971: Bangladesh was founded as a result of the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, in which the TA played a crucial part. The western and eastern fronts were just two of the war’s theatres in which TA units participated.
- Kargil War (1999): TA units were called into action during the 1999 Kargil War, which involved fighting Pakistani forces in the Kargil sector of Jammu and Kashmir. In the difficult terrain of the area, they gave vital help.
- Operation Pawan (1987): As a component of the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF), TA units participated in Operation Pawan in Sri Lanka, conducting counter-insurgency and peacekeeping operations.
- Operation Rakshak: As part of Operation Rakshak, TA units have been actively engaged in counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations in areas like Punjab Jammu and Kashmir.
- Humanitarian and Disaster Relief operations: Assistance during earthquakes (such as the 1991 Uttarkashi earthquake and the 1993 Latur earthquake), cyclones (such as the 1999 Odisha cyclone), and other natural calamities have been requested of the TA on multiple occasions.
- Mountaineering excursions: To encourage adventure and military training, several TA units have participated in mountaineering excursions, ascending peaks both inside and outside of India.
- Ecological projects: In several parts of India, TA units have been involved in ecological projects like as tree planting and conservation activities.