Salutes can differ across different branches of the military. In India, the Army, Air Force, and Navy have different style of salutes and each one of them has got a different meaning and reason behind. The differences lie in the angle of the hand, i.e., straight on, angled, or towards the ground. All have subtle differences in meaning and interpretation.
Army Salute : An open palm with closely attached fingers
In Indian Army, a salute is executed by an open palm with fingers closely attached to each other to signify trust between each other. The ‘open palm‘ salute also signifies that they can be trusted by the other army and are not carrying any weapon or ammunition to harm others.
Air Force Salute : An open palm at 45 degree angle
Earlier the Indian Air Force used to salute the same way as the army. The new salute came into being in March 2006, that includes an angle to indicate and show respect to the sky.
Navy Salute : An open palm at almost 90 degree to the forehead
Its been said that the Navy salute originated from the sailors in the olden days. Their hands used to get greasy while working on the ship and they started showing respect to the seniors by keeping the palm down so as to hide the dirt. The Navy’s down-facing hand is a symbol of respect from the old days.