Indian armed forces on Thursday observed Veterans Day, commemorating the respect and recognition of the services rendered by the first Indian Commander-in-Chief Field Marshal KM Cariappa OBE, who retired on this day in 1953.

The day acknowledges and honours the selfless devotion and sacrifice of the veterans. 

Appreciating the role of veterans, Indian Army chief Gen MM Naravane said, "Last year had been very challenging for our nation and the armed forces. The armed forces bravely stayed at the northern borders while also battling the pandemic efficiently. I am proud that we had the support of our Veterans in carrying this out."

He also announced that the year 2021 will be observed as "Golden Victory Year" as a mark of victory of India over Pakistan in 1971, which gave birth of Bangladesh.

"Some Veterans had expressed disappointment that not much importance is being given to the 50 years of 1971 war. I would like to say that this entire year will be celebrated as 'Golden Victory Year' to mark 1971 war victory. Several events will be organised across the country," Gen Naravane said. 

Pakistan publicly surrendered before the Indian Army, which is considered to be the largest surrender post World War-II. Indian Army made Pakistani forces kneel and took 93,000 Pakistani prisoners.

Extending gratitude towards veterans for their selfless services towards the country, Indian Navy Chief Admiral Karambir Singh said, "All of us who are in uniform and service today gratefully acknowledge that the multi-dimensional and credible force that we are today is due to the vision, perseverance and fortitude of our Veterans."

Indian Air Force Chief Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria said, "For Air Force starting as an auxiliary force in 1932 and growing to where we're today, a lethal, potent aerospace power."

"On this Veterans' Day, I'd like to acknowledge with respect and pride the contribution of our Veterans in this journey," ACM Bhadauria added.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat presided over a function at Bengaluru Air Force station.