Northern Command (India)

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Northern Command
IA Northern Command.jpg
Northern Command's insignia today
Active 1908-1947
1972 - Present
Country  India
Branch India Indian Army
Type Command
Garrison/HQ Udhampur
Lt Gen Devraj Anbu

The Northern Command is a Command of the Indian Army. It was originally formed as a formation of the British Indian Army in 1895, scrapped upon India's independence in 1947 and later reformed in 1972. Its present commander is Lt Gen Devraj Anbu.[1]


The Presidency armies were abolished with effect from 1 April 1895 when the three Presidency armies became the Indian Army.[2] The Indian Army was divided into four Commands (Bengal Command, Bombay Command, Madras Command and Punjab Command) each under a lieutenant general.[2]

In 1908, the four commands were merged into two Armies (Northern Army and Southern Army): this system persisted until 1920 when the arrangement reverted to four commands again (Eastern Command, Northern Command, Southern Command and Western Command).[2] Northern Command was re-formed again as North Western Army in April 1942 to guard the North West Frontier. It controlled the Kohat, Peshawar, Rawalpindi, Baluchistan and Waziristan Districts.[3] The former Western Command, was absorbed by the new North Western Army at that time.[4] The formation reverted to the title Northern Command in November 1945.[5] In 1947 Headquarters Northern Command became the new headquarters of the Pakistan Army. General Sir Frank Messervy continued to serve as Chief of Staff of the Pakistan Army from 1947 to 1948.[6]

Composition 1942-45[edit]

The composition was:

Commanders prior to Independence[edit]

Commanders included:[7]
General Officer Commanding-in-Chief Punjab Command

General Officer Commanding-in-Chief Northern Army

General Officer Commanding-in-Chief Northern Command

General Officer Commanding-in-Chief North Western Army

General Officer Commanding-in-Chief Northern Command


The government of India decided to raise a separate command to oversee operations in the northern borders with Pakistan and China. Lt Gen Premindra Singh Bhagat, VC was appointed as the first Army Commander in June 1972. Bhagat's main activities as Army Commander were the improvement of defences and the living and working condition of his troops.[8] Headquarters for the command was established at Udhampur, J&K.[9]

The XIV Corps (Leh), XV Corps (Srinagar) and XVI Corps (Nagrota) control the operational units in Northern Command. 71 Independent Sub Area is part of the Command. III Corps and its 57th Mountain Division were shifted into the command as a reserve for Operation Parakram in 2001-2002.[9]


  1. ^ "Devraj Anbu is Northern Army Commander". 10 November 2016. Retrieved 19 November 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c "Northern Army". Retrieved 4 January 2010. 
  3. ^ a b "North Western Army". Order of Battle. Retrieved 2009-10-14. 
  4. ^ "British Military History". British Military History. Retrieved 2013-06-01. 
  5. ^ Major General Cecil Watton Toovey CB, CBE, MC
  6. ^ Ammentorp, Steen. "Generals of World War II". Retrieved 2 June 2013. 
  7. ^ Army Commands
  8. ^ Singh, V.K. Leadership in the Indian army: biographies of twelve soldiers (Illustrated ed.). New Delhi: Sage. p. 417. ISBN 978-0-7619-3322-9. Retrieved 10 August 2010. 
  9. ^ a b Renaldi and Rikhye 2011, p. 21


  • Rinaldi, Richard; Rikhye, Ravi (2011). Indian Army Order of Battle. General Data. ISBN 978-0982054178.