17 Interesting Facts About President’s Bodyguard You Should Know
Hello Defence Lovers, President’s Body Guard (PBG) is the oldest surviving mounted unit and the senior most regiment of the Indian Army. The President’s Bodyguard (PBG) is an elite household cavalry regiment of the Indian Army. It is senior-most in the order of precedence of the units of the Indian Army.
- The primary role of the President’s Bodyguard is to escort and protect the President of India which is why the regiment is based in the Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi, India. It is equipped as a mounted unit, with horses for ceremonies at the presidential palace and BTR-80 vehicles for use in combat.
- The personnel of the regiment are also trained as paratroopers and nominally are expected to lead in airborne assaults in the role of pathfinders. The regiment is the successor of the Governor General’s Bodyguard of the British Raj.
- The first bodyguard to be raised in India was in 1773 when European troops, already recruited into the East India Company’s service as infantry, were earmarked for the role. Since the army of the East India Company had no cavalry of any kind at that point of time, two troops of dragoons and one troop of hussars were raised – the latter becoming the personal bodyguard of the Governor-General.
- The Commanding Officer (CO) of PBG has always been of Brigadier or Colonel rank. He is assisted by Majors, Captains, Risaldars and Daffadars. Soldiers hold the ranks of Sowar or Naik.
- Recruitment to the Regiment in India now is in equal share, to Jat Sikhs, Hindu Jats and Rajputs, with officers and administrative staff from all over India.
- Strength of the regiment varied throughout its history. Minimum strength of the unit was 50 when it was raised in 1773 but the precise maximum strength of the unit is not known.
- President of India’s website claims a number of 1929 just before the First Sikh war but some historians believe the number to be 469.
- As per the book “Historical Records of the Governor General’s Body Guards” published in 1910, maximum strength of the unit was 529 all ranks on 12th Feb, 1844 just before the first Sikh War. In addition to 529 all ranks, orders were also issued to attach two Rissalahs of Irregular Cavalry, taking the strength of the unit to 730 all ranks.
- Currently Jat, Sikhs & Rajputs are taken in equal number primarily from the states of Punjab, Haryana & Rajasthan. Minimum height necessary to be enlisted is 6 feet.
- Before independence the average height of the troopers was 6 feet 3 inches. Because of the personality & appearance of the men, popular acronym of GGBG was ‘God’s Gift to Beautiful Girls’.
- Currently PBG has an establishment of 4 officers, 20 JCOs & 198 soldiers Bodyguards along with the administrative support personnel.
- Their Motto is भारत माता की जय Bharat Mata Ki Jai (Victory to Mother India).
- All the Bodyguards are trained paratroopers & tank men and perform their operational duties with the same perfection as the ceremonial duties like swearing in the President & Government, Republic Day parade, Beating Retreat, visits by heads of states, Guard Changing Ceremony etc. Mounts of the Bodyguards are of a minimum height of 157.5 cms measured at shoulder.
- Just like their counterpart of the British household cavalry, mounts of the PBG are allowed to wear full manes. All the horses of the regiment are Bay in colour except the horse of the regimental trumpeter, which is Grey Charger.
- The President’s Bodyguard has the unique distinction of being the only military unit in the Indian Army, privileged to carry the President’s Silver Trumpet and Trumpet Banner.
- The Badge of the PBG comprises the state symbol borne aloft on an open parachute supported by crossed lances which are held to-gather by its title, PBG. Before independence, the badge comprised of two lances held to-gather by the title GGBG with a Tudor crown above it. Shoulder title was simple GGBG just as today, shoulder title of the regiment is PBG.
- Regiment’s uniforms have also not changed much since 1900.
The President’s Bodyguard has the following battle honours: