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Thread: Pics of Indian Army regimental enlisted bootcamp

  1. #1
    New Member RajKhalsa's Avatar
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    13 Jul 04

    Pics of Indian Army regimental enlisted bootcamp


    It is extremely rare (impossible?) to come across any pics of Indian army regimental training. Imagine my surprise when I found all these pics of the 9 Gorkha Rifles regiment enlisted boot camp.

    The Indian army is incredibly diverse, and as such is divided into relatively regional/ethnic/linguistic homogeneous infantry regiments for ease of communication. As such, depending on the region of India where a Jawan (soldier) is recruited, he goes to boot camp run by the regiment he is assigned to.

    Most of these Regiments date back to the British Indian Army with roots and traditions dating back to pre-British Raj armies and formations. Each regiment has its own unique traditions that reflect their cultural make up that is seen in its uniform, training styles, choice of weapon, martial art and physical training. There is immense pride attached to the history, glory, battle honors and accomplishment of the regiment.

    This can very much be seen in these pics from 9 Gorkha Rifles regiment, which has seen distinguished action in Europe and Asia in WW1 and WW2, 1947 Indo-Pakistan war, 1962 Indo-Pak war, 1962 India-China war, 1971 India-Pak war, and countless counter-insurgency/anti-terrorist operations in both Kashmir and in Northeast India.

    This regiment is comprised mostly of Nepali-speaking people from central Himalayan-bordering India (from Terai to Nepal to Sikkim to Arunachal Pradesh), with regimental headquarters in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh state.

    9 Gorkha Rifles war veterans with their Regimental Flag and battle honors. 9 GR is unique in that its flag and pendants are masted on the Trishul, or Trident, symbol of Hindu Lord Shiva, and the weapon of eighth century Hindu warrior-saint Guru Gorakhnath:

    Guru Gorkahnath, whom the Gorkhas (Gurkhas) are named after, led the Gorkhas and the hill people of the Himalaya to not only halt, but throw back the first Muslim advance in India, and led his Gorkha troops to liberate the Hindu frontier territory of Gandhara (now Khandahar, Afghanistan) from the waves of Muslim invasion.

    Battle honors aside, their motto, Kafar Bhanda Marnu Ramro, or "better to die than live a coward" should itself be testament enough to the bravery and quality of this regiment.

    The recruit training below is from the first (and as far as I know, only) comprehensive photography of Indian army recruit training, held at 9 Gorkha Rifles's Gorkha Training Centre in Varanasi, which it shares with 3 GR. The Indian army is notoriously camera-shy/secretive/paranoid/totally-ignorant-of-PR/whatever and pics are very, very hard to come by... especially intimate photos like these. Pics copyright Indiapicture.


    A scene I'm sure is familiar to new recruits all over the world. At least the guy's got the thousand yard stare down, already:

    HOOAH PT!! Here a drill instructor shames recruits with his sheer Bir-Gorkhaness:

    Like all Indian Army regiments, yoga is an integral part of the physical fitness regimen which increases strength, stamina and flexibility. Each regiment has its own flavor of the art:

    Here a drill instructor is busy 'motivating' his recruits. This particular exercise involves basically doing handstand pushups for upwards of 15-20 minutes:


    Initial Weapons training... here a drill instructor instructs recruits on the various infantry weapons used, like the INSAS, FN FAL, 7.62mm IB, etc. These pictures are several years old, and since then, army units have standardized with the INSAS system:

    One of the unique weapons of the Gorkha regiments is the Kukhri knife, which was, as legend goes, designed from the Trishul. Here, Kukhri weapons training with traditional training shield. Most regiments have some form of unique weapon relating to their histories and ethnic groups, like the Chakram of Sikh regiments, the Dah knife of Assam rgt, etc:

    Here an instructor demonstrates the proper use of the bayonet. I can almost hear him screaming the Gorkha war cry, "Jai Mahakali, Ayo Gorkhali" (O Goddess Khali, Here come the Gorkhas!):

    ...and the proper use of the Kukhri (on a recruit who I assume is frozen in shock/terror.) Yikes.


    Except for select exercises, Drill and PT involves constant cross training with weapons.:

    COIN ops can last for weeks, with units literally living off the land in jungles and traversing dangerous terrain in full kit:


    Training op tempo steps up exponentially throughout the training process: live fire (ha ha, get it?) exercises:

    (seriously, though, these are all literally live-firing exercises with live munition and bullets):


    ...continued below
    Last edited by RajKhalsa; 12 Jul 08, at 02:58.

  2. #2
    New Member RajKhalsa's Avatar
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    13 Jul 04
    ...continued from above


    As the weeks progress, the exercises quickly take an ominous tone, as they become modeled on real-world situations:

    Troops are trained on a variety of weapons and kit, for real world-scenarios ranging from conventional to biological to anti-terror to COIN operations:

    Reality is a major component to these exercises, with open-ended scenarios that can go any number of ways, depending on how the recruits react to circumstances. :

    The drill instructors really get into it as well, here is one playing a villager complete with hut, goats and rural dress, during cordon search operation exercises. These tactics are, of course, vital components to anti-terror and COIN ops:


    Only if a recruit successfully completes the training does he get the honor with the title of Jawan ("soldier") of the Regiment. Each regiment has its own tradition for the Passing Out ceremonies:

    In the Gorkha Regiments, newly graduated Jawans take an oath to Regiment and country over the Regimental Bagvad Gita (Hindu holy book written of Lord Krishna's discourse to General Arjuna on the Dharma ("Duty") of a soldier, during the Mahabharat War)

    The final part of the ceremony is the honor of receiving the Kukhri sidearm, which will follow the Jawan to battle for the rest of his career and beyond:

    The Honor Guard salutes their new comrades. Note the distinctive ceremonial uniform, and the regimental crests of 3 and 9 GR on his topee, since this is a joint passing out parade:

    The new recruits then proudly march off:

    As the band plays "Bir Gorkhali" (O Brave Gorkha), and there is much celebrating between the instructors and their former recruits. Note the Band's ceremonial regimental dress in the background:


    After the graduation ceremony, a new Jawan of the 9 GR reads about the humbling honors that his Regiment earned:

    A new Jawan of 3 GR regiment, who shares the Varanasi Gorkha Training Centre, proudly sharpens his Kukhri after the parade:

    As a military history enthusiast, I found the photo series to be a fascinating peek in the colorful culture of Indian army. Hope you like it.

    Last edited by RajKhalsa; 12 Jul 08, at 02:53.

  3. #3
    Military Professional Ray's Avatar
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  4. #4
    Tamizhanban Senior Contributor Jay's Avatar
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    06 Aug 03
    good for psy ops
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  5. #5
    Senior Contributor Knaur Amarsh's Avatar
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    01 Oct 07
    Impressive,nice work Raj
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  6. #6
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    28 May 08
    It's true I guess, I mean we've all seen what training is like for the US/UK/Europe/Russia/China, I never have seen what it's like for India

    Good pics

    INSAS, is that an indigenous rifle? What's it like? Reminds me of the Israeli Galil

    Any more pics?

  7. #7
    Arzi Hukumat-e-Azad Hind Senior Contributor Tronic's Avatar
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    27 Dec 04
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    RajKhalsa! Thanks for the pics! I'm quite a follower of your posts at the other forum; militarypictures, expect to see more of you here!
    The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands but seeing with new eyes.

  8. #8
    Vinod2070's Avatar
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    27 Feb 07
    Thx. RajKhalsa. Great pictures.

    Waiting for more to come.
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  9. #9
    Sumku's Avatar
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    12 Apr 08
    Nice Pics these

  10. #10
    Military Professional T_igger_cs_30's Avatar
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    04 Jan 07
    Excellent pics .....well done
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  11. #11
    In Memoriam/OAF-Old Aggravating Fart Senior Contributor Shamus's Avatar
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    Awesome pictures-keep them coming if you can.
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  12. #12
    New Member RajKhalsa's Avatar
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    13 Jul 04
    Hi all, sorry for the long delay

    Here are some more pics from some interesting Indian formations: this time India's Tibetan Troops of the Special Frontier Force and the Ladakh Scouts.

    While Tibetan troops have historically always fought as Indian soldiers (records of the hardiness of Tibetan troops goes as far back as the Mahabharat War), they have long been considered taboo to talk about in modern India, lest their very existence be viewed as provocation. It's indeed ironic that considering that Tibetans and Ladakhis are amongst India's most patriotic peoples (Tibetan and Ladakhi per capita participation in the Indian military and security forces even exceed that of India's Gorkhas, with each family typically having two members actively serving.)

    However, perhaps due to the visibility of their success in the Kargil conflict and a seachange in the way modern India looks at itself, India's Tibetan troops, glories, service and war honors are finally getting the recognition they deserve.


    The first set of photos is of the the very highly trained Special Frontier Force (SFF). The SFF is by far India's most secretive and one of her most elite commando units -- and is also India's most interesting unit as its comprised almost entirely of ethnic Tibetans (including those descended from Tibetan refugee populations as well as India's own ethnic Tibetan ethnic groups from Ladakh, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh, as well as those descended from refugee populations and mountain peoples from Nepal and Bhutan.)

    It was conceived in the post Sino-Indian war period as a guerrilla force whose main goals was to conduct covert special operations behind Chinese lines, reconnaissance against the Chinese occupying forces in Tibet, aiding in the safe exit and exile of Tibetans and close protection of the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan Government in Exile.

    The SFF is not a military formation, but is under the Research and Analysis Wing, the Indian version of the CIA. However, the SFF works trains and works closely with military and other federal special operations groups, and undergo training for commando parachute and can also train for combat diving qualifications.

    Since the 1980s, units of the SFF have also been tasked with counter-terrorism, intelligence gathering on China and Pakistan, and combat air control.

    Below are amongst the only pics ever released of India's most secretive unit.

    SFF Badge:

    SFF Commandos participating in the liberation of Bangladesh during the 1971 India-Pakistan war, where they conducted successful operations with astonishing effect. The SFF weren't ordered to participate in what the Indian government viewed as a foreign war to them, but upon Prime Minister Gandhi's request voluntarily and formally took up arms both to as a show of thanks to India which had recently sheltered the Tibetans and the Dalai Lama, and to liberate the Bengalis of West Pakistan whose situation was regarded as analogous to the plight of Tibetans under China:

    A historic photo of a SFF Dapon ("Major" in Tibetan):

    The following are amongst the only modern pics from the 13,000 strong unit. The troops are amongst the best equipped and trained in India (an example being they were the first troops to receive Tavor rifles):

    SFF mountaineering skills are legendary, and SFF troops have participated in many Indian mountaineering expeditions:

    Several maroon beret-wearing SFF troops (as well as troops from the Parachute Regiment, who lack the distinct SFF crest) can be seen in this picture of an Indian expedition to Everest:


    The second unit is that of the Ladakh Scouts Indian Army regiment. Known as the Snow Warriors or Lama Fauj ("army of the Lamas"), it is India's newest infantry regiment but amongst the most highly decorated.

    Raised as a local pathfinder and border defense unit following the India-China war, it distinguished itself in the Indo-Pak wars. Its achievements and glories in the 1999 Kargil were so outstanding that the Ladakh Scouts were promoted to a full Infantry Regiment of the Indian Army, now boasting more than 300 gallantry awards including one Ashok Chakra, ten Mahavir Chakras, four Vir Chakra, two Kirti Chakras, three Sena Medals and one Chief of Army Staff's Banner.

    The Ladakh Scouts distinguished themselves in the Kargil War. The second photo is of popular war hero and Mahavir Chakra awardee Major Sonam Wangchuck and his famous troops of Indus Wing (battalion), Ladakh Scouts:

    The Ladakh Scouts underwent much expansion when they became a regiment, and now is the primary employer of the Ladakhi people, though many Gorkhas also serve in their ranks. Below, Ladakh Scouts Nonus (or "brothers" in Ladakhi) as they are affectionately known as in the Indian Army, practicing drill in 2000 after they had recently became India's juniormost regiment. In this picture, note the Ladakh Scouts regimental insignia, the Urial, native to the Himalayan mountains:

    Ladakh Scouts Jawans, hailing from the highest place on earth, naturally make amongst the worlds finest mountain troops and make up a significant deployment to Siachen Glacier:

    A portrait of Havaldar Cherring Muthup of the Ladakh Scouts who awarded the Ashoka Chakra for an action on the Siachen Glacier that remains classified to this day:

    They are equipped and trained to be India's first line of defense against China in the Western Sector, often charged with guarding the mountain passes in Leh and Ladakh:

    Troops paying homage to fallen comrades at Ladakh Scouts Regimental Center:

    A Ladakh Scouts Ghatak (commando) platoon. Ghatak platoons are elite commando platoons attached to each infantry battalion of the Indian Army:

    Well, that's all for now. I'll post some more pics later.

    Last edited by RajKhalsa; 31 Oct 08, at 09:45.

  13. #13
    In Memoriam Military Professional dave lukins's Avatar
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    Thanks Raj..very nice..very interesting

  14. #14
    Tamizhanban Senior Contributor Jay's Avatar
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    The portrait of the Havildar looks beautiful...Thanks Raj..
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  15. #15
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    Albany Rifles's Avatar
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    Thanks for sharing. Those are great.
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