President Droupadi Murmu, the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, conferred the President's Colour upon the Armed Forces Medical College (AFMC) in Pune on Friday. The President's Colour, also known as 'Rashtrapati ka Nishaan,' is the highest honour granted to a military unit. Additionally, she also e-inaugurated 'Prajna,' the Armed Forces Centre for Computational Medicine, during the ceremony.
Speaking on the occasion, Murmu lauded AFMC's standing as an institution of the utmost eminence in medical education. "The graduates of this institute have made the nation proud through their dedicated service in the face of war, counter-insurgency operations, natural calamities, and pandemics, both at home and beyond our national boundaries," she remarked.
Recognising the pivotal role of female officers in the Armed Forces Medical Services, she remarked, "I'm happy to note that many women cadets who graduated from AFMC have made significant contributions to the armed forces and have held high positions." She expressed confidence that these achievements would serve as inspiration for more women to pursue careers in the armed forces.
Murmu further encouraged the AFMC team, urging them to "lay emphasis on research in the field of medicine and use the latest technology." She highlighted the current advancements in medical technology, citing the utilisation of Artificial Intelligence (AI), precision medicine, 3D printing, telemedicine, etc. Emphasising the crucial role of the Armed Forces Medical Services in preserving optimal health and readiness among soldiers, she underscored the imperative need for top-tier medical care for all service personnel.
What is President's Colour?
The President's Colour, also referred to as 'Rashtrapati ka Nishaan,' is the highest honour bestowed upon a military unit. This prestigious flag, presented by the President, symbolises the unit's illustrious history and unwavering commitment to national security. In the Indian context, this presentation emphasises the strong bond between the armed forces and the nation's leadership.
The tradition of presenting the President's Colour traces back to historical military customs followed by Western militaries, including the British, and earlier by Indian armies before colonial rule. Originally, these colours or flags marked the location of specific formation commanders. Although the tradition of carrying these colours into battle has ceased, the ceremonial awarding and preservation of these flags continue today. Each flag awarded to various military formations from the three services or other uniformed services carries a design signifying the formation's role in the nation's security ecosystem.
Criteria such as years of service, awards, and recognitions are considered before identifying an institution for this prestigious honour. Ceremonies for the presentation of the President's Colour are conducted in the presence of serving and retired military leaders of the formation and typically include a ceremonial parade. During these ceremonies, the presiding officer receives full military honours, and the colours are mounted an altar constructed out of drums. Subsequently, the flag undergoes a Sarva Dharma Prarthana, an all-faith prayer ceremony conducted by the religious teachers of the Army. Different religious priests recite verses from their respective texts, offering prayers for the troops associated with the formation.
Designated by the unit as the Nishan Adhikari, an officer receives the colours from the presiding officer. Once a formation receives the President's Colour, the flag is carried with full military honours during every official ceremony of the formation.