A salute is a gesture of respect and trust among soldiers which encourages a pride in their ever-shining uniforms while at the same time elevates them in their own eyes by reminding them all of that is implied by the profession and its traditions of chivalry and courtesy.
In the Armed forces, you must work in a hierarchical fashion. In the time of war the lapse of order in a force can lead to cataclysmic results. So, the chain of command must always be kept in mind and what better way to keep every one conscious of who the commanding officer is than a salute? As a added advantage it also gives you one more incentive to rise in the command structure.
Different Salutes in the Indian Armed Forces –
1. Indian Army – Open palm facing the person in front
In Indian Army, a salute is executed by a open palm gesture with the weapon hand, with fingers and thumb together and the middle finger almost touching the hatband or the eyebrow. It not only establishes trust among the personnel but also proves that the person saluting has no bad intentions and no weapons hidden up anywhere.It is a signal that I trust you and therefore I have no weapon concealed in my hand.
2. Indian Air Force – Open palm at a 45 degree angle to the ground
In March 2006, Indian Air Force issued new salute norms to its personnel. This new salute involves the palm at a 45-degree angle to the ground and the right arm being sharply raised from the front by the shortest possible way. It is a mid-way between the Army and Navy salute and was standardized to make it more convenient for the IAF. Earlier, IAF hand salute was just like the Army one.IAF says it’s more convenient.
3. Indian Navy – Open palm facing the ground
In Indian Navy, a salute is executed with the palm facing the ground at a 90 degree angle to the forehead. Basically, the reason behind this is to hide the hands of sailors that get dirty due to oil or grease stains while working on the ship.
The thing is, in the old days sailing ships used tar and pitch to seal the wood hull from sea water and to keep the ropes from rotting. To protect their hands the officers started wearing gloves. But the gloves as you may imagine turned very dirty so in order to not show their superiors the dirty palm of their gloves the officers started saluting with their palms downwards. Well the sailing ships are gone now but the tradition has remained.