New Delhi. 15 October 2020. The Corps of Electronics and Mechanical Engineers (EME) of the Indian Army does the design, development, trial, inspection and refit of weapon systems and equipment. They also provide technical advice to units and conduct recovery operations in peace and war. The Corps also provides aid to civil authorities in emergencies or natural calamities. The Corps has excelled in sports and adventure activities and has produced many outstanding sportsmen. The EME team continues to maintain the lifeline of the Maitri permanent research station in the difficult and hazardous environment of Antarctica.
EME which celebrated its 78th Corps Day on 15 Oct 2020, is responsible to provide integrated engineering support to the entire range of equipment and weapon systems of the Indian Army during complete life cycle from design to discard thus enhancing the Army’s combat potential by exploiting the power of technology and innovation. The British Army formed the Corps of Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME) on 1 October 1942, in order to put the responsibilities of repairing and maintaining all British Army equipment under one unit. Previously, this was done by different corps like the Royal Army Ordnance Corps, the Corps of Royal Engineers and the Royal Army Service Corps. Soon, the need for an equivalent of the REME was felt in British Indian Army too. Accordingly, the Commander-in-Chief of British forces approved the raising of the Indian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (IEME).
On 1 May 1943, the Mechanical Engineering Directorate at General Headquarters was formed and units were allocated. On 15 October 1943, actual transfer of personnel from the Indian Army Ordnance Corps (IAOC) to IEME took place. Since then, 15 October is observed as EME Corps day. On 15 September 1944, Lt. Gen. Sir Clarence Bird was appointed as the Colonel Commandant of IEME. After Indian independence, the corps dropped the ‘I’ from its name and came to be known as the Corps of Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (EME). With the proliferation of high technology, the modernisation of the Indian Army in the 1980s and 1990s resulted in use of electronics in all types of equipment which necessitated the corps to change its outlook from electrical to electronics. Thus, the corps was re-christened as the “Corps of Electronics and Mechanical Engineers” on 1 January 2001.
The President of India, Dr S Radhakrishnan, presented the Colours to the Corps on 15 Oct 1964 at 1 EME Centre Secunderabad during the 21st Anniversary celebrations. The Colour party consisted of Lieutent RP Nanda, Havildar Major Dev Raj and Naik Bashisht. It was the first amongst the Services to receive Regimental Colours, an honour bestowed to acknowledge the contribution made by this young Corps. The Second Colours Presentation was presented at 3 EME Centre Bhopal on 15 October 1980. The Colours presented on behalf of the President by the General OP Malhotra, PVSM, COAS. After a gap of 24 years, the Third Colours presentation was presented on 23 Nov 2004 and for the first time after rechristening the corps as Corps of Electronics and Mechanical Engineers. The old colours were put to rest and new colours were presented to the Corps at 1 EME Centre, Secunderabad by the Gen NC Vij, PVSM, UYSM, COAS on behalf of the President during Diamond Jubilee Celebration and Eighth Corps Reunion on 23 Nov 2004, at 1 EME Centre, Secunderabad. The high order of dedication of the Corps was again recognised when the Corps was once more honoured with colours on 18 Feb 2005. On behalf of the President of India, Gen JJ Singh, PVSM, AVSM, VSM, ADC, COAS presented the Fourth Colours Presentation at 3 EME Centre Bhopal.
Despite not a frontline combat force, The Corps has been awarded various gallantry awards along with national awards and honours like Ashok Chakras, Kirti Chakras, Vir Chakras, Shaurya Chakaras, Arjuna Awards, Sena Medals, Padma Bhushans and Padma Shris.
The Corps of EME also has a cadre of Gp ‘A’ Gazetted Civilian Technical Officers who are recruited through coveted Indian Engineering Services Examination (IES) conducted by Union Public Services Commission (UPSC). The civilian officers are mostly posted to Army Base Workshops, EME Directorate and training establishments such as MCEME, Secunderabad and EME School, Baroda.
The Corps of EME has achieved new highs in various fields and has proved to be a force multiplier in enhancing combat effectiveness. The Corps proved its mettle during the COVID-19 pandemic where critical medical care equipment including Ventilators were kept in state of mission readiness. Numerous innovations were developed which have contributed to the national effort in fighting COVID-19.
The Corps has always taken the lead in the field of adventure sports in Indian Army. It has given tremendous impetus in the field of mountaineering, sky diving, sailing, hot water ballooning, para sailing, hang gliding, skiing, rafting, canoeing and exploration to Antarctica. Padamshree Awardee Milkha Singh, also known as Flying Sikh, represented India in three Summer Olympics and Commonwealth Games. Col JK Bajaj, VSM, SM excelled in the field of mountaineering. More recently Lt Col Bharat Pannu won the ‘VirtualRace Across America’, while Lt Col Vishal Ahlawat, a marathon runner has brought laurels by creating records in numerous half marathons.
The Corps of EME has always risen to the occasion to ensure that the operational preparedness of the Indian Army is maintained at highest level. The Soldier craftsman solemnly pledges to the fallen brethren that the Corps will uphold their legacy and bring glory to the country.