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Republic of India

The modern Republic of India (भारत गणराज्य) was born in 1947 following a non-violent struggle for independence from Great Britain. Following the dissolution of the British Indian Empire, the nation of Pakistan was formed out of territories with a Muslim majority, leaving over 10 million displaced people forced to migrate towards one or the other of the new nations. The two nations have been to war twice (in 1947 and again in 1965) over the province of Kashmir, and India also came to the aid of the Mukti Bahini during the Bangladesh War of Liberation (which ended in the creation of Bangladesh). Relations between India and Pakistan continue to be strained at best.

The Sino-Indian War broke out between India and China in 1962 under the pretext of a border dispute in the Himalayas. Although a ceasefire was announced in November of that year, it was not until 1993 that the two nations agreed to sign a peace agreement.

India maintains the third-largest military force in the world, and is a frequent participant in United Nations peacekeeping efforts around the world. The Armed Forces of India include the traditional Army, Navy and Air Force, the Coast Guard, the Strategic Forces Commando (Nuclear Command) and the Paramilitary Forces of India (PFI). The latter consists of the Central Police Organizations (including the State Armed Police, Central Reserve Police Force, Rapid Action Force, the Indian Home Guard, Civil Defense, and several specialist units), and the Central Paramilitary Forces (including Border Security Force, Indo-Tibetan Border Police, Special Frontier Force, and several other agencies).

The majority of units of the Indian Armed Forces wear camouflage in one form or another, many having patterns specific to their particular Force or group. Some Regiments within the Army also employ their own unique patterns. The standard camouflage of the Indian Armed Forces is called Disruptive Pattern Material (DPM) although it has no relationship whatsoever to the British camouflage design of the same name. India has a very large textile and garment industry, supplying not only its own military needs but exporting fabric and uniforms to other nations as well.

Indian Camouflage Patterns

  • Possibly as early as the 1960s, India began reproducing the British-designed brushstroke camouflage pattern for use by its own Airborne and Para-Commando troops. The pattern continued to be used by these units into the 1970s and is apparently still seen occasionally among paratroopers on their airborne smocks. Several color variations have been documented, a feature that is not at all unusual with Indian made textiles. Updated versions of this pattern are still being worn by Indian Para-Commando forces.

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  • The pattern that has come to be known as Indian DPM has no relationship to the British design of the same name. It is an overlapping pattern of green and brown palm leaf shapes on a khaki background, although there is a tremendous variability from very light to very dark. All manner of uniform styles have been produced in this pattern, as well as some pieces of field equipment. The pattern is often called "palm frond" or "Indian leaf" pattern.

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  • India at one point had a warm relationship with the Soviet Union, which may have prompted its adoption of a copy of the Soviet 1988 TTsKO tricolor woodland pattern, which has been worn by some Indian Army units in the 1990s. A faithful copy of the Soviet pattern, the fabric and uniforms are all locally-made.


  • An interesting irregular stripe or brushstroke camouflage pattern has been attributed to use by several Indian Army units, including the Gurkha & Marattha Regiments, and those operating in the Maharashtra region of Central Asia. The pattern has also been worn by units of the paramilitary commando units since around 2001.

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  • A blue variation of the standard Indian DPM pattern is worn by the Rapid Action Force (RAF) and the Civil Reserve Police Force (CRPF). This variation features overlapping dark and medium blue palm leaf shapes on a pale blue background.


  • Another variation of the standard DPM pattern having a brown-dominant colorway is documented in use by the Border Security Force (BSF). The pattern was first documented in 1992.


  • In the late 1990s, India began producing its own versions of the US m81 woodland camouflage pattern, with the usual variability as to color and fabric types. These have been worn by Indian Army personnel on UN deployments, and by Air Force Security Personnel.

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  • The woodland-type pattern seen here, as well as variations, has been documented in use by the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPS) throughout the sub-continent. The CRPF is the largest of India's armed police forces, and operates under the command of the Ministry of Home Affairs, both to maintain law and order and conduct counter-insurgency operations.


  • A three-color pattern featuring large brown & olive green patches on a khaki background has been observed in use by the Border Security Force and some Internal Security units since the late 1990s.


  • An interesting leaf pattern variant has been worn by the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) or Armed Border Force (previously known as the Special Service Bureau) since the late 1990s. The pattern has black, brown and green leaf shapes on a khaki background.

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  • Indian Army units based in Rajasthan are believed to wear a desert-themed "vertical lizard" pattern of rust and ochre stripes on a sandy background. This pattern first started appearing in the late 1990s also, and more recently has been documented in use by the National Security Guard (NSG), the national anti-terrorist unit.


  • A new general purpose pattern for the Indian Army appeared in 2006. The design incorporates horizontal swathes of black, brown and green on a khaki-green background. The crossed sword logo of the Indian Army, with letting in English and Hindi, is conservatively imprinted into the pattern. Although there are similarities between the new "PC DPM" pattern and the French CE woodland pattern show some similarities, the former version does not appear to have been copied directly from the French. The official designation of this pattern is PC Disruptive with Indian Army Logo, PC referring to peacekeeping forces.

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  • A more accurate copy of the French CE woodland camouflage design is also being worn by the Indian Army forces. This pattern also has the Indian Army logo embedded, but the colors are essentially the same as those of the French design, and it incorporates the same shapes.


  • The Indian National Cadet Corps wear a very bright pink variation of the standard Indian DPM camouflage design having overlapping purple and bright pink palm leaf shapes on an off-white background.


  • Some units of the Border Security Force wear a locally-produced variation of the German flecktarn pattern having dark brown and dark green dots on a khaki background. This pattern first appeared in 2008.


  • Indian Army and Police personnel serving in Kashmir have been observed wearing a three-color arid camouflage pattern having large blotches of dark green and reddish-brown on a pale green background.


  • An interesting orange spot camouflage pattern began appearing circa 2010, but seems only to be printed on a parachutist style smock, possibly a Goretex-type all weather jacket.


  • Less commonly observed than the blue "fern" or DPM pattern of the Rapid Action Force is this woodland variation with a blue colorway.


  • The Central Industrial Security Forces (CISF), a paramilitary agency falling under the Ministry of Home Affairs, is charged with the security of power plants, space instalations, Indian Ordnance Factories (& other production units), mints, oil fields and refineries, major ports, heavy engineering installations, steel plants, barrages, fertilizer units, airports and hydroelectric/thermal power plants. Some members of this unit wear a three-color "desert" type camouflage pattern inspired by the US tricolor desert design.


  • Since the middle of 2012, the Indian Navy's elite Marine Commando unit has adopted a locally-produced copy of the Universal Camouflage Pattern of the United States. The pattern has also been observed in use with the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel.


  • Circa 2015, the Garud Commando Force (गरुड़ कमांडो बल), the special operations force of the Indian Air Force, adopted a new pixelated camouflage design incorporating brown, foliage green, and a hint of black on a sand-colored background. This design may have been influenced by the Russian-designged SURPAT camouflage.


  • Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) or भारत-तिब्बत सीमा पुलिस बल is one of the five Central Armed Police Forces of India raised in 1962. In 2015, personnel from this service were documented wearing a pixelated camouflage design combining dark brown, medium brown, olive green and tan colors.