The Indian Army, being the largest part of The Indian armed forces, has a well planned and thought out Organizational structure, that outlines how certain activities are directed in order to achieve its goals i.e. to ensure national security, defend India from internal and external threats and maintain peace in its borders. This structure is not to be confused with the field formations i.e. commands, corps, divisions, brigades, battalions, companies, platoons and sections, but the different Arms and services of the Indian army that are entrusted with specific pan-army tasks.
Arms and Services
Apart from the Field Formations, the Indian army is further divided into two categories:-
(A) Combat Arms
(B) Support Services
First, I will explain about Combat arms to you and then we will cover the Support Services section in the Arms and services of the Indian army in 2021. Let’s take a look.
What are Combat Arms in the Indian Army?
Combat Arms are those forces of the Indian army that actually fights with the enemies on the battlefield and they are supported by different corps that aid them in bringing down the enemy forces and win the battle for India. Combat arms in the Arms and Services of the Indian Army is classified in two categories:
1) Infantry Regiments
2) Combat Arms corps
1) Infantry Regiments
Infantry regiments are those forces that take the fight to their enemies and fight them head-on, they are specialists in face-to-face battles. They are needed because all vehicles can’t go to each and every part of our territory and enemy territory, this unit explores those territories which are inhospitable.
Infantry plays a key role in capturing important targets inside bunkers which are military fortifications underground designed to protect people and valued goods from falling bombs or other attacks and the infantry troops also engaged in Counter-Insurgency and Counter-Terror Operations(Ops).
The Infantry Regiment has a total of 30 regiments and one mechanized infantry regiment. To name a few these are The Brigade of Guards, The Madras Regiment, The Parachute Regiment etc.
Mechanized infantry is the combination of both Infantry and Armoured Corps used by the army for transport and combat. This regiment has been active since April 02-1979. It is the youngest regiments in the Indian army, comprising 27 battalions dispersed under various armoured formations. It is equipped with armored personnel carriers (APCs) or infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) which protect troops from hostile fires.
These vehicles can also be used as ambulances equipped with stretchers and medical supplies, in order to carry out injured personnel from war-prone areas.
2) Combat Arms Corps
(A) Armoured Corps
Armoured Corps is known as “The Tankmen“. The terms like “Cavalry”, “Lancers”, “Horses” are the namings of the Armoured regiments. Armoured troops followed behind the infantry on the battlefield on their tanks, which are the fighting vehicles designed for front-line combat which combines operational mobility and tactical offensive and defensive capabilities.
According to tradition, each armoured regiment has its own “Colonel of the Regiment“, an honorary post for the senior rank officer who oversees the issues that occurs in the regimental units. The armoured corps is the most decorated corps of the Indian Army.
(B) The Regiment of Artillery
The Regiment of Artillery is the second-largest corps among the arms and services of the Indian Army and it is known as “gunners”, because of its guns, mortars, rocket artillery, unmanned aerial vehicles, the surface to surface missiles, surveillance systems, multiple rocket launchers, and air defense units and this all equipment contributes to one-sixth of artillery total strength.
The role of the Artillery is to provide supporting artillery fire to the Armoured Corps and the Infantry. Artillery comprises heavier long-range weapons that cause heavy damage to the enemies.
The Headquarter of the Regiment of Artillery in Nashik, Maharashtra and their motto is “Sarvatra Izzat-O-Iqbal” which means Everywhere Honour and Glory. This motto honors the memory of Hindu and Muslim gunners who fought together during the Indian rebellion of 1857.
(C) The Army Aviation Corps
The Aviation Corps was raised as a separate field formation on Nov 1, 1986 and is the youngest corps among the arms and services of the Indian army. It provides tactical air transport, reconnaissance, and medical evacuation to the army. The AAC provides rapid mobility to troops on the battlefield. Now, the AAC is inducting attack helicopters to increase its capabilities.
The AAC performs tasks like searching and rescue(CSAR), artillery lifts, transportation during the war, military prisoners’ transportation and provides timely evacuation services in the case of natural calamities.
The AAC trains their personnel at their premier institute, The Combat Army Aviation Training School (CATS), Nashik.
This corps motto is “Swift and Sure“.
(D) Corps of Engineers
The Corps of Engineers helps the Fighting Arms forces by constructing roads, bridges, railway lines, mine clearing, obstacle clearance and bunker demolition.
It also checks and denies the progress of mobility to the enemy by mine laying, demolitions, obstacle construction. This corps has been active since 1777.
The Headquarter of the Corps of Engineers in New Delhi and its motto is “Sarvatra” which means everywhere. The corps of engineers has three groups of combat engineers namely:
- The Madras Sappers
- The Bengal Sappers
- The Bombay Sappers
The senior-most group is the Madras Sappers and besides the combat engineers, the Corps operates major engineering organizations i.e. Military Engineer Services(MES), the Border Roads Organization(BRO) and the Survey of India.
The Indian Army Corps of Engineers trains their engineers at the College of Military Engineering, Pune.
(E) Corps of Signals
Corps of Signals handles its military communications. The Signals provide physical dispatch of messages and take care of cybersecurity. This corps works closely with Defense Research and Developmental Organization(DRDO) to develop software for command and controls.
The Indian Army Corps of Signals trains their personnel at their premier institute, The Military College of Telecommunication and Engineering(MCTE), Mhow.
The motto of signals is “Teevra Chaukas” which means “Swift and Alert.”
(F) Army air defense
The Army Air Defence(AAD) Corps provides support against enemy air attacks. The Army air defense is responsible for the protection of Indian air space from enemy aircraft and missiles by using anti-aircraft guns and surface to air missiles to destroy aerial enemy targets, especially below 5,000 feet.
Previously, The Army Air Defence Corps was part of the Regiment of Artillery but now enjoys the autonomy status of separate corps.
The AAD troops get trained at the Army Air Defense College, Odisha, where some personnel of the Indian AirForce and The Indian Navy are trained too.
Their motto is “Akashe Shatrun Jahi” i.e. “To kill the enemy in the sky.”
(G) Intelligence corps
As the name suggests, the intelligence corps works to gather intelligence for Army.
This organization has 3700(approx.) which is assigned to intelligence duties. The Intelligence Corps trains its personnel at Military Intelligence Training School and Depot (MINTSD), Pune.
This organization is active since 1941 and its headquarter is at Sena Bhawan, New Delhi and their motto is “Sada Satark“.
Together these regiments and corps become Combat Arms of the Indian Army.
What are Support Services in the Indian Army?
Support Services are that forces that provide logistical function, education in both combat and non-combat operations, medical services to all army personnel and this also includes their families, servicing weapons and other non-combat equipment and ensures proper discipline in the army field formations.
I have classified them into two categories i.e. Corps and Others. Let’s have a look:
(A) Army Education Corps
The Army Education Corps is a program run by the Indian Army which trains all soldiers and officers of all ranks in both combat and non-combat operations. The Army Education corps training center is based in Pachmarhi, Madhya Pradesh.
Nowadays, The AEC uses modern tools and equipment like Intranet, Hi-tech classrooms, Internet and media connectivity, using Geographical Information System technology into map reading training and fully automated library to teach their personnel.
The AEC is also preparing to induct training sessions for Stress Management and Counselling and also providing computerized training for recruits.
(B) Army Medical Corps
The Army Medical Corps provides medical facilities to all the defense personnel and their dependents and it also provides aids during national calamities at national and international levels.
The AMC is active since 1764 but it was re-designated as Army Medical Corps with effect from January 26, 1950. Within the army, medical officers could apply various roles based on their experience, rank and location.
(C)Army Ordnance Corps
The AOC is responsible for procurement, storage and supply of vehicles, equipment, clothing and weapon systems, and if required, to the Navy and Air Force during war and peace. In other words, all most every item of the army except ration and fuel.
This corps is responsible for clothing (including coats, sleeping bags, gloves, goggles, etc) to vehicles, also weapons and ammunition like bullets, artillery shells, missiles, etc.
This corps training center is based in Secunderabad and apart from military training, personnel are also trained in repair works, carpentry, tailoring, saddlery, driving, etc.
The AOC motto is “Sua Tela Tonanti” which means To the thunderer – His Arms or To the Soldier – His fighting needs.
(D) Army Postal Service Corps
Indian Army has its own postal service corps which caters to the postal needs of defense services.
The primary feature of this corps is that Indian military personnel stationed at war-prone areas may post letters and/or packages to the home country or vice-versa for free, while in others, senders located in a specific overseas area may send military mail to another military officer, who is also located in the same overseas area, free of charge.
The Army Postal Service Corps motto is “Mail-Milap” which means Reconciliation.
(E) Army Service Corps
The Army Service Corps is the core part and one of the most important corps in the Indian army. It is responsible for
- storage and distribution of supplies.
- transporting fuel oils and lubricants to Army, Air Force, and if required Navy and paramilitary forces.
- packing of commodities for supply.
- loading of aircraft and ejection of loads.
- training and provisioning of clerks for all branches of staff at formation headquarters and of catering staff in the army.
Their motto is “Seva Asm Akam Dharma” which means “Service is my Prime Religion.”
(F) Corps of Electronics and Mechanical Engineers
The EME is responsible for:
- repairing and maintaining all electrical.
- servicing electronic and mechanical devices that are in service with the Indian Army.
- designing, developing, trialing, inspecting, and refitting of weapon systems and equipment.
- providing technical advice to units and conduct recovery operations in peace and war.
The motto of the Corps of EME is “Karm Hi Dharm” which means “Work is Supreme Duty“.
(G) Corps of Military Police
This Corps is the military police of the army. The role of CMP is to:
- Maintain Order and discipline in army units.
- Prevent any soldier of a unit from breaking Rules and Regulations of the Indian army.
- Aid to civil police.
- Provide close protection to the Chief of Army Staff.
- Handle prisoners of war.
The motto of CMP is “Seva Tatha Sahayata” which means “Service and Support“.
(H)Remount and Veterinary Corps
The Remount and Veterinary Corps is the one of the important branch of the Indian army and is tasked with:
- breeding and training of the animals.
- prevention and treatment of infectious diseases in animals.
Their motto is “Pashu Seva Asmakam Dharma” which means “Animal service is Supreme Duty“.
(I) Pioneer Corps
This corps is the operations logistic arm of the services section in arms and services of the Indian army. Its key role is to provide logistic support to the fighting forces and with service corps, it brings up vital supplies and stores and with ordnance corps, it keeps up the flow of guns and their ammunition.
Today, Pioneer corps has a total of 16 companies and their motto is “Shram Sarva Vijayee” which means “With Labour, everything can be won“.
(J) Defense Security Corps
The Defense Security Corps provides security at Defense ministry sites, It has about 31,000 personnel. and its primary role is to ensure the protection and security of designated defense installations against sabotage and pilferage.
Today, the DSC center is located in the city of Kannur, Kerala.
2)Other Support Services
(A) Judge Advocate General Department
It is the legal branch of the Indian Army and looks into matters related to military law, military justice and military court-martials. This department consists of those army officers who are educated in military law and provide legal help to the army in humanitarian issues and other military aspects.
This department supports, Judge Advocate General in India, held by a major general who is a legal and judicial chief in the army. The JAG advises army personnel on their day to day matters including the General of the Indian Army(COAS).
Their motto is “Nyaya Eva Dharm” which means “Justice alone in the Supreme Duty at any cost and under all circumstances”.
(B) Military Engineer Services
Military Engineer Services are those forces that undertake construction projects for the Indian Armed forces including the Indian Army, the Indian Airforce, the Indian Navy, DRDO, Indian Ordnance Factories and the Indian Coast Guard.
Besides building construction for the Armed Forces, the MES also undertakes complex projects like airfields, buildings, roads, workshops and sports complex, etc.
The MES is an Inter-service organization and both the civilians and the military components together are responsible for the efficient working of this organization.
(c)Military Nursing Service
The Military Nursing Services is an integral part of the Armed Forces Medical Services(AFMS) which also includes the Army Medical Corps(AMC) and the Army Dental Corps(ADC). An officer is in the MNS is granted Permanent Commission or the Short Service Commission(SSC) by the Government guzet notification.
The officers of MNS have not only served in India but have also played a role in the United Nations peace missions abroad in countries like Cambodia, Somalia and other nations.
MNS in arms and services is a great opportunity for females and women candidates who want to join the Army as a Nursing Officer. For more details check here.
The various ranks of the MNS are listed below :
- Major General
- Lieutenant Colonel
Presently there is no personnel equivalent to JCOs/OR in the MNS as the nursing assistants and ambulance assistants are a part of the army medical corps.
(D) Territorial Army
The Territorial Army is a part of the regular Indian army and is the second line of defense after the Indian army. The present role of the TA is to:
- relieve the army from static duties.
- assist civil administration and management in dealing with natural calamities and their aftermath.
- ensure the maintenance of essential services in case India’s security is threatened.
- provide the troops for the army when required.
In order the join the territorial army, the person has to be a graduate from a recognized university and his age should be between 18 to 42 years. The motto of The TA is “Savdhani Va Shoorta (Vigilance and Valour)“.
(E) National Cadet Corps(NCC)
The NCC is a youth wing of the armed forces and it is the tri-services organization involving the army, the airforce and the navy. The NCC is a voluntary organization and is open to all schools and college students and recruits cadets from all parts of India.
Strength of NCC in the army
Senior Division/ Wing
- Platoon – 52 cadets (Boys)
- Coy -160 cadets (Boys)
Each battalion or unit consists of 4-7 coys(Boys) around 640 to 1120 cadets and 2-7 coys(Girls) around 320 to 1120 cadets.
- Junior division boys- 100 cadets
- Junior wing girls – 100 cadets
each BN has atleast one troop.
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In conclusion, apart from the field formations, the Indian army can also be classified in arms and services where arms are combat arms containing various regiments and corps that leads the forces into battles and the services that provides logistical function, education in both combat and non-combat operations, medical services to all army personnel and this also includes their families, servicing weapons and other non-combat equipment and ensures proper discipline in the army field formations.