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ET Explains: Why the Indian Army doesn't want police personnel to wear camouflage

The Army has also asked that the camouflage uniform should be worn by the CAPF and police forces only in the jungle terrain in Maoist-affected areas. It has also requested that the sale of Army pattern clothes in the open market needs to be regulated The Army has said that private vendors should establish identity and maintain a record of personnel.

ET Online|
Last Updated: Mar 02, 2020, 12.56 PM IST
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PTI
Army fatigues
Security personnel conduct patrolling as they walk past Bhagirathi Vihar area of the riot-affected north east Delhi, Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2020.
The Indian Army has asked the newly formed Department of Military Affairs (DMA) to request the ministries of Defence and Home to issue guidelines to ensure that combat dress, popularly known as camouflages, is not worn by the police personnel.

Why does the Army have this reservation against other security forces wearing the uniform? Here's an explainer.
  1. What the Army has requested?
    The Army has pointed out to the Department of Military Affairs (DMA) that bulletproof jackets of the CAPFs and state police should be of plain Khaki colour and not of the "combat colour". The Army has also asked that the camouflage uniform should be worn by the CAPF and police forces only in the jungle terrain in Maoist-affected areas. Army has also requested that the sale of Army pattern clothes in the open market needs to be regulated. On the sale of Army pattern uniforms in the civilian market, the Army has said that private vendors should establish identity and maintain a record of personnel to whom such clothing are being sold. Sources told The Economic Times that this requirement was proposed by the Home Affairs Ministry on March 31, 2016, but no formal direction has been issued till date.
  2. When did the Army raised this issue?
    The Army wrote to the Chief of Defence Staff-led DMA about the matter on Monday (February 24, 2020) - the first day of Delhi riots. Way back in 2004, the defence ministry had raised with the MHA the issue of CAPFs and state police forces wearing Army pattern clothing for routine policing tasks, including election duties. The MHA had issued an advisory to the CAPFs on not wearing Army pattern combat dress. Post the deployment of the Army in aid to civil authority during the Jat agitation in Haryana in 2016, the issue of CAPFs and State Police wearing near similar Army pattern combat dress was again raised.
  3. Why now?
    The issue arose after several central armed police forces and Delhi police personnel deployed for the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protest at Jaffrabad in Delhi on Sunday were seen wearing Army pattern combat uniform.
  4. What's the contention?
    CAPFs and State Police forces over a period of time have started wearing combat uniforms which are just slightly different from the ones worn by Indian Army personnel. These minor variations cannot be distinguished by most civilians, giving them the impression that the personnel wearing such dresses while engaged in Internal security duties, escorting VIPs and policing duties, are Army personnel. Wearing combat dress by CAPFs and State Police forces may be misinterpreted as the Army being deployed for Internal Security duties and elections, sources told The Economic Times.

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