Indian Army
PC : PTI

The Army has initiated a review of the pattern of uniforms worn by its personnel with the first change being effected to the Dress 6 (b), wherein a uniformity of pattern has been introduced to the summer mess dress of officers of the rank of Brigadiers and above.

In a letter dated February 26, the Army Headquarters has informed the various units and formations about the change being effected from April 1. While at present only the Dress 6 (b) has been changed, a comprehensive review of all uniforms is in progress and gradually they too will be changed in a phased manner.

As per the letter, officers in the rank of Brigadiers and above (Major General, Lt General and General) will no longer wear regimental pattern badges of rank on the summer mess dress. These badges of rank till now have had regimental colour backings, black badges of rank in case of rifle regiments, and brass coloured ones for other regiments and Corps.

Henceforth, all such officers will wear only brass badges of rank on the Dress 6 (b) without any backing. The letter states that regimental/corps side titles will not be worn.

A common black coloured side cap will be worn by these officers while a black turban will be worn by Sikh officers. A black cummerbund with Army crest will be worn by officers in the rank of Brigadier and above. Earlier, the cummerbund used to be on the pattern of regimental colours.

The buttons on the shirt of Dress 6 (b) will only be mother of pearl or synthetic.

There will not be any change in the pattern of dress worn by officers upto the rank of Colonels and they can continue to wear the regimental affiliations on their mess dress.

While the orders have come into effect from April 1, but a transition period upto June 30 has been allowed for these changes to come into effect. However, from July 1, 2021 the Dress 6 (b) will be worn as per the new regulations.

Reacting to the development, Lt Gen HS Panag (retd), former General Officer Commanding in Chief of Northern and Central Commands said that these were welcome changes, which ensure a uniformity of appearance in flag ranks.

“There had always been a difference in the uniforms worn by the officers of the rank of Colonel and above in the years gone by. The Colonels at the time used to serve on staff and regimental affiliations were not on display on the uniform. The Colonels used to wear the Ashoka emblem on their caps and even their berets used to be a Khaki kind of colour,” said Lt Gen Panag.

The former Army Commander, however, pointed out that the all changes in uniform must be in consonance with the weather in the country and that of ease of maintaining the uniform. “The cloth which is currently used for our uniforms is not at all friendly for the tropical weather. Also, there is a need to do away with the brass in the badges of rank and cap badges, leather belts etc as these require a lot of maintenance,” he said.

Lt Gen Panag said that the biggest need of the hour was to design shoes, which are of the best quality for soldiers. “The present shoes worn by the average jawan is not comfortable at all. You can gauge its quality by the ridiculously low price for which it is available in open market. This basic piece of equipment for the foot soldier is not being given the importance that is needed,’ he said.