Over the years I have covered a lot of Indian items on the blog, but up until now they have all been items produced in British India. India of course left the Empire and was granted independence in 1948 and there has been another seventy years of military history and indeed production since then. Despite this, Indian Army items are rarely seen in the UK and so it was fantastic to finally add my first piece of post partition Indian militaria to my collection the form of this camouflage hat:The camouflage is the Indian Disruptive Pattern, not to be confused with the British DPM fabric. Camopedia describes this pattern as:
It is an overlapping pattern of green and brown palm leaf shapes on a khaki background, although there is a tremendous variability from very light to very dark. All manner of uniform styles have been produced in this pattern, as well as some pieces of field equipment. The pattern is often called “palm frond” or “Indian leaf” pattern.
The hat has a pair of metal ventilation grommets in the crown:Note also the fabric loops to thread foliage through and he metal hook and corresponding thread loop. These allow the sides of the hat’s brim to be drawn up:A tape two piece chin strap is sewn into the hat, with Velcro to attach it together and prevent the hat for blowing off:Two labels are sewn into the hat, one in Hindi:And the other in English:This shows that the hat is the 1998 pattern, whilst the date stamp in the top right corner dates actual manufacture to 2000.
It is interesting to note that the stores number is marked ‘NIV’ which is presumably the same as British stores nomenclature and stands for ‘not in vocab’.
Here the hat can be seen being worn by an Indian Air Force Commando:The caption accompanying this photograph explains:
The Indian Air Force raised its commando force in 2004 for tasks such as rapid response to a terror strike on air bases.
The Garuds not only protect IAF bases from attacks like the one in Srinagar in 2001, but are also trained to operate behind enemy lines in the event of a war.
They wear black berets, unlike the brown ones sported by army’s Special Forces. They also can be spotted wearing a boonie hat. The Garuds are now a part of IAF’s exercises like Iron Fist and Live Wire; they carry Israeli Tavor assault rifles.