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Indian Army Flags

Last modified: 2016-06-29 by ian macdonald
Keywords: india | military | army |
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See also:

Indian Army personal flags

- based on Das (1981)

Field Marshal

[Field Marshal] 2:3 image by Joe McMillan

Red with crossed batons surrounded by a lotus flower wreath, the Ashoka lions emblem above the batons and five stars across the bottom, all in yellow. This has to be one of the rarest of personal flags, as there have been only two field marshals in the Indian Army since independence, and only one of them is still living, FM S.A.M. Manekshaw. For the image I used an image of the field marshal's rank insignia, modifying the baton and sword shown in the sample to be two batons instead. This conforms to Das's description and to British practice, which Indian rank devices generally follow.
Joe McMillan, 3 February 2003

The flag shown above is based on Das (1981), "Traditions and Customs of the Indian Armed Forces".  It has also been reported to us that "I have inspected an actual specimen of this flag which consists of a red field upon which are five five-pointed gold wire beautifully embroidered stars in a horizontal line near the lower fly edge of the flag, and above which is an equally beautifully embroidered emblem consisting of the Ashoka lions surmounting a solid (no spaces) gold wreath and inside of which is a crossed gold sword and baton."
Dr. Harold Lubick, 9 August 2004

General

[General] 2:3 image by Joe McMillan

Red with two crossed swords and the Ashoka lions emblem above them, all yellow. (I do not believe there are currently any full generals on active duty in the Indian Army except the Chief of Army Staff.).
Joe McMillan, 3 February 2003

Chief of Army Staff

[Chief of Army Staff] image by Miles Li and Paige Herring, 13 August 2009

 

Vice Chief of Army Staff

[Vice Chief of Army Staff] 2:3 image by Joe McMillan

Horizontal triband, French gray-black-French gray, with the crossed swords in the center and the Ashoka lions emblem above them, all yellow. (The field of this flag was formerly red-black-red.
Joe McMillan, 3 February 2003

Principal Staff Officers

[Principal Staff Officers] 2:3 image by Joe McMillan

French gray with yellow crossed swords and the blue Ashoka chakra from the national flag above them. (The field of this flag was formerly scarlet.) Principal staff officers are the heads of the various elements of the Army staff who report directly to the Chief of Army Staff. They are mostly if not all lieutenant generals.
Joe McMillan, 3 February 2003

Lieutenant Generals, Army Headquarters

[Lieutenant Generals, Army Headquarters] 2:3 image by Joe McMillan

French gray (formerly scarlet) with yellow crossed swords
Joe McMillan, 4 February 2003

Major Generals, Army Headquarters

[Major Generals, Army Headquarters] 2:3 image by Joe McMillan

French gray swallowtail with the formation sign of the Army Headquarters, a red over blue shield with a gold wheel on the center
Joe McMillan, 4 February 2003

General Officer Commanding in Chief of a Command

[Northern Command] 2:3 image by Ivan Sache

Essentially a banner made from the command's formation sign, which consists of a shield with three horizontal stripes, black-red-black, with a distinctive device, usually in yellow. (This is the traditional pattern for the flag of the commander of a field army in the British system.)
Joe McMillan, 4 February 2003

See Northern Command for more details on this flag in use.

Lieutenant General serving as Chief of Staff of a command

[Lieutenant General serving as Chief of Staff of a command] 2:3 image by Joe McMillan

French gray with the command's formation sign on the center. As an example, the flag of the Chief of Staff of the Eastern Area Command.
Joe McMillan, 4 February 2003

Major General serving as Chief of Staff of a command

Swallowtailed version of the lieutenant general's flag.
Joe McMillan, 4 February 2003

General serving as Chief of Staff of a command

[General serving as Chief of Staff of a command] 2:3 image by Joe McMillan

A banner made from the corps formation sign, which is a shield with three horizontal stripes, red-white-red, on which is placed a distinctive device. (In this usage, we're talking about a corps as an operational formation, not a corps as one of the specialties or branches of the Army, like engineers or signals.) This is the traditional pattern for a corps commander's flag in the British system. As an example, the flag of the General Officer Commanding of the Indian I Corps.
Joe McMillan, 4 February 2003

Major General on a Corps Staff

Swallowtailed version of the GOC's red-white-red flag.
Joe McMillan, 4 February 2003

General Officer commanding a Division

[General Officer commanding a Division] 2:3 image by Joe McMillan

Red swallowtail with the division's formation sign on the center. An example (1st Armoured Division) is shown. An area commander flies a similar flag, but with a blue field. As with command and corps flags, the red flag with formation sign is the traditional flag in the British system for a division commander.

[Division Headquarters] 2:3 image by Joe McMillan

The division headquarters itself flies the same flag in rectangular form. Remember that in India, as in the UK, most Army installations do not fly the national flag except on designated days; the daily use flag is that of the formation, unit, or corps (branch of the Army).
Joe McMillan, 4 February 2003

I have not illustrated the following flags of brigade and other commanders:

  • Brigade of a command or independent brigade - Red triangular pennant with formation sign of parent formation.
  • Subarea commander - Blue triangular pennant with formation sign.
  • Division artillery or artillery brigade - Red triangular pennant with silver gun.
  • Corps artillery or engineer brigade - Red triangular pennant with corps formation sign.
  • Director General, National Cadet Corps - Maroon swallowtail with NCC badge.
  • Director, NCC (Brigadier) - Maroon pennant with NCC badge.
  • Commandant, National Defence College - Scarlet with crossed yellow swords.
  • Commandant or commander of other training and educational institutions - French gray with college or school badge or sign.

Joe McMillan, 4 February 2003

While in Delhi, I had the opportunity to attend the Beating Retreat ceremony on 29 January (2006) that concludes the celebrations surrounding Republic Day. A major general (unidentified) flew a crimson swallowtailed flag, similar to the General Officer flag shown above, with a formation insignia consisting of what looked like a yellow bull on a yellow outlined red shield, but with a yellow star on each tail. Another car parked nearby had a triangular pennant with the same formation badge and one star in the fly, presumably that of a brigadier. I also saw a rectangular car flag in crimson with crossed yellow swords and three stars down the fly, which an Indian Army colonel with my group identified as that of a lieutenant general.
Joe McMillan, 2 February 2006


 
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