Indian War Costumes

Members of the armed forces and paramilitaries of different countries wear uniforms that are standard. Shirts, pants, and a cap are the components of the Indian Army’s basic uniform. The clothing essentially has camouflage printing, which is useful in wooded areas. It consists of a button-up shirt with two breast pockets. Additionally, the pants contain one back pocket, two side pockets, and two thigh pockets. The purpose of wearing an Indian war costume is to instil courage, a positive outlook, and good physical strength in the wearer. During wartime, traditional metal ranks are not worn; instead, the ranks are weaved onto the folds of this outfit. During a battle or training, the rank and name are displayed on the outfit; other items are displayed during peacetime. The professionalism and dedication to the Army Values of honour, honesty, and personal bravery are embodied by Indian war clothing. The Indian uniform is a representation of pride in oneself and of tradition, esprit de corps, and morale.

The Scarlet Tunic

When the East India Company arrived in India and established itself in Bengal, it began enlisting local men for its army. These soldiers’ attire was a reconstruction of the gear used by soldiers who served the British king. The uniform of choice was either a red coat or a scarlet tunic. Traditional Indian clothing was also a part of it in the beginning. But by 1857, the uniform was the same as that worn by other soldiers in the British Empire. The British Indian forces could be distinguished from the French, Dutch, and Portuguese soldiers by their striking red uniforms. During this time, the scarlet tunic rose to become the Union Jack’s global ambassador. But several Indian armies also changed their uniform colors. A true British Army tradition, the artillery lances of the Bombay Army donned the Royal Regiment of Artillery colours of blue with crimson facings. Additionally, the Bengal pioneers wore green uniforms rather than crimson. However, the British soldiers were easy targets due to their bright red clothing.


Following the 1857 uprising, the British Indian Army gradually switched from its customary scarlet tunic to khaki uniforms. The usual red was a poor choice; khaki was a far better option because it was more comfortable to wear, absorbed less heat, and also aided with camouflage in the dusty Indian Subcontinent. The uniform of all British military personnel, including British Indian troops, had changed to Khaki by the 1890s. During the first and second world wars, khaki uniforms were the standard uniform. Khaki shorts were worn by Indian troops because they were frequently stationed in tropical areas.

The Iconic Olive Green

The Indian army chose the olive-green uniform after gaining independence in 1947. This was done specifically to distinguish Indian troops from Pakistani troops. Even in its contemporary ceremonial uniforms, the Pakistani Army still wears the khaki outfit. Since then, the Indian army has been associated with olive green. The Indian army’s regular battle outfit during the 1965 conflict and the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War was the plain olive green uniform. The Indian army saw the necessity of creating camouflage designs, though, in light of the circumstances. As a result, the Indian Army adopted a new brush-stroke camouflage uniform but kept its storied olive-green uniform for service, which is still in use today.

Camouflage and the Brush Strokes

In the early 1980s, the Indian Army began using the brush stroke pattern. The Indian army’s initial use of camouflage was this pattern. The soldiers’ ability to blend into their surroundings and evade visual detection from a distance was aided by the camouflage pattern. The Indian missile expert Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, as well as other well-known scientists, can be seen in the photos above sporting the Brush Stroke pattern uniform. The nuclear tests at Pokhran II are depicted in these images.


The contemporary PC DPM camouflage pattern was used by the Indian army in the early 2000s. DPM, or distributed pattern material, is used here. Around this time, camouflage patterns were being developed by all contemporary forces. It serves as the Indian Army’s current battle uniform. The French Woodland DPM pattern has a major influence on the PC DPM design. The PC DPM pattern is ideal for the majority of Indian circumstances, including the northeast’s vast jungles and the LOC’s dense foliage. However, desert camouflage patterns work better in environments like Rajasthan, where the terrain is more rugged.


We have reviewed a couple of the Indian military’s wardresses here. However, only a few Indian Army branches wear distinctive uniforms. The Armoured Corps and NSG, for example, both wear traditional black uniforms, but the Military Police dress in khaki. A military or combat outfit is also constantly changing to meet the demands of the army. A war costume always possesses various characteristics and functions that help personnel during wartime. War uniforms have been worn in India since the mediaeval period. Every component of a uniform has its own significance. Throughout its evolution, some Indian uniforms gave soldiers a camouflage effect, some provided enough space to carry weapons, and some showed the strength of the wearer. Nevertheless, it is clear that an Indian war costume had a significant impact on both enemies and the Indian army throughout history.

Updated on: 16-Dec-2022


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