Indian Army to adopt new digital pattern combat uniform next year

The Indian Army is set to replace its decades-old woodland camo with a new digital pattern combat uniform that will provide soldiers better camouflage, more comfort, and uniformity in design.

The Combat Uniform of the Indian Army is changing and its first look will be visible in the Army Day Parade on 15 January. For the first time, the marching squads in the Army Day Parade will be according to the uniform and weapons of the Indian Army at different times. Similarly, for the first time, the army squads that will participate in the Republic Day parade will be according to the uniform of different rounds.

According to Hindustan Times the new uniform with the digital camouflage pattern, similar to the one used by the British Army, will be showcased at the 2022 Army Day parade on January 15.

Indian army new uniform camo
one of those trial camos of Indian army, which is similar to British army standard camo

The new uniform pattern has been selected after a careful study of the army’s working requirements and the need to introduce uniformity in battle fatigues worn by soldiers. Variations in the existing uniform pattern worn by soldiers have drawn criticism from some quarters. The National Institute of Fashion Technology has helped the army finalise the new uniform.

Sources in the defence establishment told ThePrint that the new combat uniform, which will be a mix of colours including olive and earthen.

Formally known as the camouflages or battle dress uniforms (BDU), they are the standard uniform for combat.

Current woodland combat uniform of Indian army
Current woodland combat uniform of Indian army

These uniforms are camouflaged, either in monochrome such as shades of green or brown to blend in with the background or in a disruptive pattern like what the Indian Navy and certain central armed police forces have.

Sources said that the implementation of the new uniform, which has been shortlisted after a study focused on various uniforms worn by major Armies across the world, will be rolled out next year itself and it will cater to both officers and men.

The Army is also in the process of changing its regular olive uniform. No final decision, however, has been taken yet. The sources said that one of the ideas is to have different coloured pants and shirts.

Sources said that the new combat uniform will be made of “lighter but sturdy material”, which will be suitable for both summer and winters.

They also said that under the new uniform, there will be no tucking in of shirts unlike the current style.

“The uniform has been selected keeping the comfort of the soldier in combat in mind,” a source said, adding that a need to change the uniform has been felt for a long time, keeping modern warfare in mind.

Moreover, various central armed police forces, state police and even insurgents in the northeast had started wearing similar uniforms.

The Army had last year requested the Defence Ministry and the Home Ministry to issue guidelines against wearing combat uniforms while handling law and order situations or in urban areas affected by terrorism.

Asked whether the uniform will be distributed to soldiers or whether they will have to buy it from authorised stores for which they will be reimbursed, sources said the process is still being worked out.

It was also not clear whether the new combat uniform will have shoulder and collar tags like the present or blackened ones for better camouflage.

The shoulder stripes — denoting rank — could also be moved to the front buttons, sources said adding it is a pattern followed by other major armies also.

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