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Indian Army: Colours and Standards

Last modified: 2006-04-22 by ian macdonald
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The official Indian Army website provides great detail on Indian Army practices relating to colours, standards, and the like. I've expanded some abbreviations [in square brackets].

Presentation of Colours
37. New regimental colours will be presented by the President of India as follows:-

(a) Combined parades for all battalions of a regiment.
(b) Single parade in the case of Corps.
(c) Groups of regiments conveniently located in the case of Armoured Regiments.
(Authority : Army HQ letter No. 00943/Policy/AG/CW-1 dated 07 Jul 94)

38. The Chief of the Army Staff will present colours to those newly raised units whose parent Regiments have already been presented colours by the President of India.
(Authority : Army HQ letter No. 00943/Policy/AG/CW-1 dated 07 Jul 94)

Regimental Colours/Standards
39. Units are authorised to carry Colours/Standards according to their entitlement. No other flag except the National Flag will be carried or borne by the units along with the Regimental colours. Only the President's Bodyguard, when in attendance on President will carry the President's Standard of the Bodyguard in addition to the Regimental Standard of the unit.

40. The President's approval is necessary for all details pertaining to changes in the design of Colours/Standards. Such requests, supported by full reasons should be submitted to Army HQ (AG/CW-1) with the approval of the Colonel or Colonel Commandant of the Regiment or Corps through normal staff channel.

41. Regimental Colours/Standards shall not be worshipped or used for oath-taking or similar purposes. However, on attestation parades these may be carried in addition to the National Flag.

42. For details of entitlement, design, shape and description, battle honours of the background, material and embroidery and dress, Army HQ letter quoted below may be referred.
(Authority : Army HQ letter No. 00943/Policy/AG/CW-1 dated 7 Jul 94 and para 734 to 737 of RA 1987).

Procedure : Presentation of Regimental Colours, Standards
43. Presentation of Colours, and Standards will not be treated as a routine. Newly raised units will be considered for presentation of these symbols of recognition after three years and ten years respectively of their raising when some indications of their efficiency and performance are available.
(Authority : Army HQ letter No. 00943/Policy/AG/CW-1 dated 07 Jul 94)

44. For further details on design, shape & description, colour of the background, material & embroidery, dress to be used by all ranks for the parades & related matters, instructions issued by CW Dte are referred.
(Authority : Army HQ letter No. 00943/Policy/AG/CW-1 dated 07 Jul 94)

Emblazonment of Battle Honours on Colours/Standards - Administrative Instructions
45. The following instructions are issued in regard to the emblazoning:-
(a) Number of Battle Honours. A maximum of 36 Battle Honours may be emblazoned on Regimental Colours etc which will include a maximum of 10 Battle Honours from the approved list earned prior to Independence.

(b) Selection of Battle Honours. The Battle Honours to be emblazoned on colours etc will be selected by the Regiments out of those earned by them in consultation with the Colonels/Colonels Commandant and a final list forwarded to Army Headquarters. Once the list of selected battle Honours has been finally settled and approved by Army Headquarters, the names of such Battle Honours will be published in bold type letters in the Army list to indicate the Battle Honours to be emblazoned on Colours/Standards/Guidons. Other Battle Honours which are not selected for emblazonment on colours etc will continue to be printed in small letters in the Army List.

(c) Pooling of Battle Honours. In order to promote esprit-de-corps amongst all the battalions of the Regiment, Battle Honours earned by different battalions of the Regiment may be pooled for emblazonment on the colours of the regimental centre and all its battalions.

(d) Use of Multiple Honour. Where more than one honour of the same name is earned in different years, the name of that honour will be mentioned only once with different years - dates, with a view to avoid duplicacy and conserve space.

(e) Method of Displaying Battle Honours.

(i) The same Battle Honours will be emblazoned both on the front and reverse side of the colours.

(ii) The Battle Honours will be emblazoned in chronological order starting from top right hand corner proceeding clockwise. As and when a Regiment/Unit is awarded President's insignia for special meritorious service, the top four Battle Honours scrolls in the top left hand corner will be removed to make necessary space available for incorporation of this award. In case the President's insignia is awarded to any Regiment/Unit after it has earned and emblazoned the maximum number of Battle Honours, the award will be super-imposed on the top left hand four Battle Honours scrolls themselves.

(iii) The dimension of Battle honours scrolls will be 6 1/2 inches long and 1 inch broad on regiment Colours which are 3 ft 9 inches by 3 ft. These may be proportionately smaller in size on Regimental Standards and Guidons, which are 2 ft 5 1/2 by 2 ft 3 inches and 3 ft 5 inches by 2 ft 3 inches respectively.

(iv) The lettering of the Battle Honours to be emblazoned on colours will be in Hindi in Devnagri script. Figures will be written in international numerals.

46. Battle Honours won by a battalions when part of a regiment, will continue to be used by that regiment even when the concerned battalion is transferred to another regiment. In the new regiment the transferred battalion which has earned Battle Honours when part of the old regiment will continue to use these but the same will not be used by the new regiment. However, these instructions will not be operative with retrospective effect.

47. Battle Honours selected as given above will be approved by the Colonel/Colonel Commandant of the Regt/Corps. Thereafter, the centre concerned will forward the list of Battle Honours in both English and Hindi (Devnagri) letterings, in duplicate, direct to this HQ for approval.
(Authority : 51991/BH/AG/CW-1 dated 15 Jul 80 and AO 24/2001/CW).

Flying of Flags and Display of Star Plates
48. Offrs of the rank of Brigadier and above are authorized to fly car flags as per entitlement mentioned in AO 46/87.

49. New Designs of Car Flags. Stars have been added to the car flag designs – starting with one ‘star’ for the Brigadier level and four stars on the car of the C[hief] O[f] A[rmy] S[taff]. To add a distinctive sign, as an additionality, an Army HQ sign to the car flag of V[ice] COAS, and the Ashoka Lion for the car flag of Army Commander have been added.

50. Flying of Car Flags by Officiating [i.e., acting] Incumbent. The off[iciatin]g incumbent will fly their own flag, where applicable, while carrying out duties in offg capacity, e.g. C[hief] O[f] S[taff] of a Corps will fly car flag applicable to Maj Gen even while officiating as Corps C[omman]d[e]r. D[eput]y Cdr of a B[riga]de will not fly any flag while officiating as Bde Cdr.

51. It has been noticed that orders relating to use of flags and star plates on Staff/Private cars are not being complied with and there is gross misuse of flags and star plates. For example entitled officers wearing civilian clothes fly flags and/or display star plates when visiting shopping centres, places of entertainment and attending private function. Car Flags are being flown and star plates displayed even when families and children of entitled officers are being conveyed to shopping centres, cinema houses and schools.

52. Drivers of staff/private cars must be instructed to cover the star plates and the flag when the entitled officer is not in the vehicle or travelling in it.
(Authority : AO 46/87, B/42127/AG/CW-1 dated 30 Jun 04 and 13 Jul 04).

Issue of Approval for the Designs of First Day Covers, Special Day Covers, Cancellation and the First Page of the Information Brochure
53. While submitting the designs for subjects mentioned above, certain guidelines gives in Army HQ/CW Dte's letter referred below should be adhered to strictly.
(Authority : Army HQ letter No. 58776/FDC/AG/CW-1 dated 18 Jan 91 and QMG Branch letter No. 04659/Q1(E) dated 13 Feb 01).

Joe McMillan, 21 March 2006

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