Wednesday, February 1, 2023
HomeDefenceIndian Army’s only cavalry unit set to replace its horses with tanks

Indian Army’s only cavalry unit set to replace its horses with tanks

The Jaipur-based 61st Cavalry is set to say goodbye to its horses, as the government is said to have approved a proposal to equip it with T-72 tanks.

Text Size:

New Delhi: One of the world’s last remaining horse-mounted cavalry regiments may be riding into the sunset.

The Indian Army’s only mounted cavalry regiment is set to say goodbye to its horses, with the government approving a proposal to equip the 61st Cavalry with tanks, two senior officers said on condition of anonymity.

The famous 61st Cavalry is being converted into a regular armoured regiment on the basis of a recommendation made by the Lieutenant General DB Shekatkar (retd) committee in a report on sharpening the army’s combat edge and trimming its revenue expenditure, said one of the officers cited above.

The Jaipur-based 61st Cavalry is likely to be equipped with T-72 tanks, said the second officer cited above. “Three independent squadrons of other regiments are being amalgamated under the headquarters of the 61st Cavalry to form the new tank unit,” the officer added.

The regiment’s 300-odd horses (200 in Jaipur and around 100 with a squadron of 61st Cavalry in Delhi) will become part of a new equestrian node, he said.

Lieutenant General Shekatkar, who headed the 11-member expert committee named after him, said the recommendation to mechanise the 61st Cavalry was taken after scrutinising the track record of the unit.

“It has not taken part in any operation during the last 25 years. Nowhere in the world is playing polo or taking part in equestrian sports the main occupation of any army unit. It’s in the army’s best interests that it (the unit) operates tanks instead of horses,” Shekatkar said. He said the President’s Bodyguard, also a mounted unit, has the well-defined role of performing ceremonial duties for the country’s President. The decision to mechanise the mounted regiment, steeped in tradition and sporting history, has evoked mixed reactions. While some in the army argue that the regiment’s military heritage should have been preserved, others counter that it makes more sense to assign the 61st Cavalry an operational role rather than limiting it to ceremonial functions and sporting events.

“The 61st Cavalry has a rich and storied history that should have been preserved. There can be no 61st Cavalry without horses. It’s heartbreaking to see the unit being disbanded,” said an armoured corps officer who asked not to be named. Another officer, however, said mechanisation of the regiment was the way forward and mounted units were a thing of the past.

The 61st Cavalry was raised in Jaipur in October 1953 by putting together mounted elements of cavalry regiments of the erstwhile princely states of India.

Rich in sporting history, the regiment accounts for one Padma Shri, 10 Arjuna Awards, 11 Asian Games medals and a raft of representations at the Polo World Cup and international equestrian competitions. It has been a part of the annual Republic Day parade for several decades.

Also read:Lt Gen. Hanut Singh — bold commander who led from front in 1971, but was never made Army chief

By special arrangement with

Subscribe to our channels on YouTube & Telegram

Support Our Journalism

India needs fair, non-hyphenated and questioning journalism, packed with on-ground reporting. ThePrint – with exceptional reporters, columnists and editors – is doing just that.

Sustaining this needs support from wonderful readers like you.

Whether you live in India or overseas, you can take a paid subscription by clicking here.

Support Our Journalism


  1. India’s defence exports rise over 5 times in last 4 years
    • According to the DDP dashboard, India’s export of military equipment increased from Rs 1521.86 in FY 2016-17 to Rs 8,620.59 in the last fiscal 2019-20.

    • Increase in India’s defence exports in the last four years has been more than 5-and-half times while the target for FY 2020-21 is Rs 15,000 crore, according to the data updated by DDP on April 14, 2020.

    • Private sector companies have been the biggest beneficiaries of the export orders as per data released by the Department of Defence Production. Their exports have increased from just Rs 194.35 crore in FY 2016-17 to over Rs 8013.65 crore in fiscal 2019-20. On the other hand, export by DPSUs and OFB have come down from Rs 1327.51 crore in FY 2016-17 to just Rs 403.94 crore in fiscal 2019-20.


    By : Tribhuvan Darbari
    MD & CEO – TDSPL &
    CE, Texmaco Rail & Engineering Ltd.

    The Board of Directors, Texmaco Defence: Mr. Ravindra Chamaria, Mr. Dharam Vir, Mr. Tribhuvan Darbari, MD & CEO (TDSPL), along with the Advisor to the Board, Wing Commander Anil Arora (Retd), had pro-active discussions with Mr. Valentin Makarov, President, RUSSOFT Association, Russia and a Research Scientist, Dr. Vadim V. Kokotkov, in July, 2019, in New Delhi, with a view to work together for setting up an ICT Centre of Excellence in India bringing in the state-of-the-art technologies from Russia in the field Cyber Security, Artificial Intelligence & Block chain, Quantum Technologies, etc.

    An Agreement to this effect was signed between Mr. Tribhuvan Darbari, MD & CEO, TDSPL & Chief Executive, Texmaco Rail, and the Vice President, bee Pitron, Mr. Vadim V Kokotkov, and Mr. Valentin Makarov, President, RUSSOFT Association, Russia. Industry experts from India in emerging technologies, namely, Mr. Pawan Duggal, Dr. Prabhat Kumar, Mr. S.D. Saxena, provided valuable technical inputs for institutionalizing the concept & the idea from Mr. Tribhuvan Darbari of setting up a dedicated ICT Centre for Excellence under the proposed Indo – Russian Joint Venture Initiative.This Centre for Excellence in India under the “Make-in-India’ Program, shall be specifically catering to the emerging requirements of the Indian Defence & Aerospace, Paramilitary and multi sectoral Civilian requirements.

    The parties further agreed to work in close collaboration with each other and to actively support each other in offering of the various services as detailed above in the Indian market and for the purposes of commercialization of the offered production and services.


  3. IT is better to replace horses with Ass, a good combination of indian solders with asses, T-72 Tanks are costly vehicle and consumed lot of diesel during operation. There will be no change in performance during the war thy have to runaway from the fields as usual , a long history of cowerdness is in indian solders.

    • Let’s talk facts
      1) 93000 soldiers surrendered in 1971 to India. Can you name the country that produced these asses?
      2) A county lost 1/3 of its territory and Bangladesh was formed. Can you name the country this inefficient army represented?

  4. Welcome step but why don’t regiment be civilian equestrian club . Open to the world

  5. Horse riding like things mst go out now!!
    In Those times horses serve jst like now tanks do… moreso modernisation is Above all!!
    In MES over 9k posts r wiped out already & Tour proposal under consideration like many more. Actually we r late to adopt these changes as per recommendations. Now is the time to update & that is 100%fair to jawans to hv upper hand with their counterparts!!
    Jai hind!

Comments are closed.

Most Popular