New Delhi: Army Day on January 15, 2022, showed the Indian soldier in a new Battle Dress Uniform (BDU), one which has been designed to ensure better camouflage and comfort. The BDU was finalised after analysing and studying 15 patterns, eight designs, and four fabrics.
The honour of donning the new BDU at the Army Day Parade in New Delhi went to a unit of the 23rd Battalion of Parachute Regiment commanded by Major Vishesh Pawar.
The new uniform in a digital disruptive pattern is like the ones being used by armies of other developed countries including the United States of America. Developed and designed in 13 different sizes to cater to the almost 13-lakh strong Indian Army, the new digital disruptive pattern uniform is more climate-friendly keeping in mind the varied terrains and conditions that the soldiers are deployed in.
It not only provides better camouflage so as to increase the soldier’s survivability but also protects against extreme heat and cold conditions too. The new uniform is lighter than the ones currently in use and also dries quickly.
While the shirts won’t be tucked in as in the current uniform, additional pockets have been given in the trousers. The rank badges have also been moved to the chest in the new BDU from the shoulders as it is presently on the current uniform.
Lieutenant General Syed Ata Hasnain, who was the General Officer Commanding of 21 Corps in Bhopal and 15 Corps in Srinagar, welcomed the Army’s new BDU. “Wearing of rank badges on the chest and not on the shoulders in the case of BDU, is an international practice. Its adoption by the Indian Army is also a welcome step.”
Developed with the help of the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), the fabric for the new uniform is a 70:30 combination of cotton and polyester. The colour is earthy and olive.
The plan, unlike the current uniform which is easily available in the open market, is to issue the new BDU to the soldiers and officers through their respective units and formation to ensure security.
Lt Gen Hasnain (retd) also cautioned that care should be taken to ensure that there is no unauthorised manufacturing of the new uniform. “While welcoming the new BDU, the Army needs to remain cautioned that the cloth and uniform need to have exclusivity and security. No unauthorised person should be able to procure it. There needs to be accountability in manufacturing and distribution process to deny inimical elements getting hold of these at any time,” he stated.
At present all Army officers purchase their dress from the open market or get it stitched as they get an outfit allowance but soldiers and other ranks are issued through their respective units. But a large number of soldiers face the issue of size and fitting, so they end up paying stitching charges.
The current uniform also starts to fade very easily after around 20 washes.
The Indian Army’s uniform was first changed after Independence from the one being used under British rule followed by another major redesign after the 1962 war with China, then in 1980 and again in 2005.