The English raised the Territorial Army in 1920 through Indian Territorial Act of 1920 and it was comprised of two wings namely - 'The Auxiliary Force' for Europeans & Anglo-Indians, and 'The Indian Territorial Force' for Indian Volunteers. After Independence the Territorial Army Act was passed in 1948 and the first Indian Governor General Shri C. Rajagopalachari formally inaugurated the Territorial Army. It is celebrated with the Prime Minister's TA Day Parade every year.
The Territorial Army initially had various types of units such as Armed Regt (TA), Infantry Battalion (TA), Air Defence (TA), Med Regt (TA), Engineers Field Park Coy (TA), Signal Regiment (TA), EME Workshop (TA), Coast Battery (TA), ASC GT Coy (TA), ASC Compo Pl (TA), AMC Field Ambulance (TA), by 1972 these units have either been disbanded or converted to Regular Army except Inf Bn (TA).
The Territorial Army is part of Regular Army and its present role is to relieve the Regular Army from static duties and assist civil administration in dealing with natural calamities and maintenance of essential services in situations where life of the communities is affected or the Security of the Country is threatened and to provide units for Regulars Army as and when required.
Presently the Territorial Army has a strength of approx. 40000 persons comprising of Departmental TA units such as Railway, IOC, ONGC, Telecommunication and General Hospital and the non Departmental TA units of Infantry Bn (TA) and Ecological Bn (TA) affiliated to various Infantry Regiments.
The TA units were actively involved in 1962, 1965 and 1971 operations. The "Terriers" have also taken part in OP-PAWAN in Srilanka, OP RAKSHAK in Punjab & J&K, OP RHINO and OP BAJRANG in the North East in a most active manner. Departmental units came to the aid of the civil authorities during Industrial unrest and natural calamities, most famous being the earthquake in Latoor (Maharashtra), Uttarkashi in Garhwal Himalaya and the Super Cyclone in Orissa. The Ecological units have arrested man made environmental degradation by planting 2.5 crore trees over 20,000 hectare of land in Mussoori Hills & Pithoragarh (UP), Bikaner & Jaisalmer (Rajasthan) and ravines of Chambal in Madhya Pradesh.
Men of the TA have taken active part in various adventure activities, famous one being scaling of Mt Tengchen Khang (6010 Mtr) in West Sikkim by Jt-Indo-British TA Mountaineering Expedition in May 1998.
The officer and men of the Territorial Army have been decorated for their gallantry and distinguished services. So far they have earned 2 Ati Vishisht Seva Medals (AVSM), 15 VSM, 5 Vir Chakras, 13 Sena Medals, 25 Mentioned-in-Dispatches and 43 COAS commendation cards.
Many industrialists, politicians and eminent personalities have been members of the TA. The force also has the honour to appoint 11 officers as Hony ADC to the President of India.