New Delhi: The Territorial Army, popularly known as citizens army, on Saturday celebrated 61 years of its existence after having ably served the nation in battles within and those waged by neighbours.
To commemorate its 61st raising day, various events were organized throughout the country including blood donations camps.
As part of adventure activities and awareness programmes, a trans-India cycle expedition - 'Pradeshik Bhraman' - was flagged off by Indian Army Chief General V.K. Singh Friday.
The expedition will cover a distance of 100,000 km, over a period of four months, and travel through many states, finally culminating in Delhi in March 2011, to coincide with the Prime Minister's Territorial Army Day Parade.
The history of the Indian Territorial Army dates back to Oct 9, 1949 when its foundation was laid by the first governor general of India C. Rajagopalachari.
The aim of raising the force was to relieve the regular army as well as provide reserve units to them. Territorial Army provides an opportunity to citizens to serve the nation while still following their individual career in civil life.
Over the years it has played an important role in nation-building. It started with just 11 battalions, which have now grown to 66 battalions.
The citizen soldiers of these battalions have participated in the India-China war in 1962, and between India and Pakistan in 1965 and 1971 and the Kargil operation in 1992.
Terriers, as the soldiers are popularly known, have also participated in many counter- terrorist operations in Jammu and Kashmir and the northeast as well as in relief operations during natural calamities and to aid civil authorities.
On the other front, its ecological battalions -- known as 'Eco Warriors' -- are extensively involved in the country's Go Green project that aims to revive the environment from manmade ecological degradation in some of the most difficult areas of the country.
Over the last 61 years, Terriers have won many gallantry and distinguished service awards, including four Ati Vishisht Seva Medals, one Yudh Seva Medal, five Vir Chakras, three Shaurya Chakras, 49 Sena Medals and 22 Vishisht Seva Medals.