The Indian Army – How it works in 2021.

Army men posing with Indian flag

Written By | Sagar Gupta

For Indians, the Indian army and its soldiers are the epitome of service, duty, sacrifice, and respect. 

We are in our homes enjoying the comfort of our cozy blanket, sipping a warm cup of tea with ginger, but they are guarding our borders under inhumane weather conditions like Siachen where average winter snowfall in the region exceeds 1000 cm and temperatures can dip to as low as -50°C.

Soldier’s exemplary diligence and commitment towards their duty and their nation deem them worthy of respect and honor they so deserved.

The Indian Army is a land-based force – The other 2 forces that comprise the total Indian Armed forces are The Indian Navy and The Indian Airforce – primarily tasked with the security of the Indian nation and its borders. The Indian Army is the biggest part of the Indian Armed Forces. The President of India is the supreme commander or the Commander-in-chief of the Indian army. The Chief of Army Staff (General), who is a four-star general, commands the army. 

2021-Indian-Army-Men-Marching
Army Men Marching. Image Source- Google | Image by- Dailyhunt

 

Indian Army – MISSION

 The primary mission of the Indian Army is to:-

1) ensure national security, especially against insurgencies in Kashmir & north-east India.

2) defend India from Internal and external threats.

3) maintain peace and harmony within its borders.

The Indian Army also conducts rescue operations during natural calamities and other disturbances, such as Operation Surya Hope, response to the June 2013 North India Floods in Kedarnath, Uttrakhand, and can also be deployed by the government to cope with the internal threats.

Next, I will mention about Army’s hierarchy now.

Army Hierarchy

Like all the military organizations, the Indian army follows a strict hierarchy. The Indian Army is operationally and geographically divided into seven commands. These Commands are further are segregated into Corps, Divisions, 

Among 7 commands, 6 are operational commands and 1 is a training command. Each command is headed by General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, who is among the senior-most Lieutenant General officers in the army.

Each command directly reports to Army HQ in New Delhi. This headquarter is controlled by Army chief, General Manoj Mukund Naravane.  

After these 7 commands, the Indian army is further segregated into:

a) Corps
b) Divisions
c) Brigades
d)Battalions/Regiments
d) Company
e) Battery
f) Platoons
g) Sections

 

FIELD FORMATIONS

Below are the field formations:-

 1) Command

 

1)  Northern Command 

This command is based in Udhampur, Jammu & Kashmir. In 1947, this command was removed after independence but it was re-established by The Government of India in 1972 under the supervision of Lieutenant General Premindra Singh Bhagat to secure northern regions of India from Pakistan and China.

At present, it is headed by Lieutenant General Yogesh Kumar Joshi.

Check out the insignia of Northern Commands below.

Indian-Army-2021-northern-command-insignia
This is the insignia of the Northern Command in the Indian Army.

Image Source: Google | Image by : Wikipedia

 

2) Army Training Command

This command is based in Shimla, Himachal Pradesh. It was established on Oct 1, 1991, and it was based in Mhow, Madhya Pradesh but later shifted to Shimla.

Its primary aim is to provide quality training to army officers and to maximize the effectiveness of the training.

At present, it is headed by Lieutenant General Raj Shukla.

Check out the insignia of this command below:

Indian-Army-2021-army-training-command-insignia
This is the insignia of the Army Training Command in the Indian Army.

Image Source: Google | Image by : Wikipedia

 

3) Western Command

This command is based in Chandimandir, Chandigarh. It was established on Oct 26, 1947, and has been active since then.

At present, it is headed by Lieutenant General Ravendra Pal Singh.

Check out the insignia of this command below:

Indian-Army-2021-western-command-insignia
This is the insignia of the Western Command in the Indian Army.

Image Source: Google | Image by : Wikipedia

4) South Western Command

This command is based in Jaipur, Rajasthan. It is the newest command in the Indian army and it was established on April 15, 2005, became fully operational on Aug 15th,2005.

At present, it is headed by Lieutenant General Alok Singh Kler.

Check out the insignia of this command below:

Indian-Army-2021-south-western-command-insignia
This is the insignia of the South Western Command in the Indian Army.

Image Source: Google | Image by: Wikipedia

 

5) Central Command

This command is based in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh. It was first established in 1942 during World War 2 and then discontinued in 1946.

It was re-established in Lucknow on May 01, 1962, due to Sino- Indian War.

At present, it is headed by Lieutenant General Iqroop Singh Ghuman.

Check out the insignia of this command below:

Indian-Army-2021-central-command-insignia
This is the insignia of the Central Command in the Indian Army.

Image Source: Google | Image by: Wikipedia

6) Eastern Command

This command is based in Kolkata, West Bengal. It was first established in 1920.

Before May 01, 1962, Lucknow was the HQ of the Eastern Command but due to Sino-Indo War, Eastern command HQ was shifted back to Kolkata and in its place, a new command was formed named, Central Command whose HQ was based in Lucknow.

At present, it is headed by Lieutenant General Anil Chauhan.

Check out the insignia of this command below:

Indian-Army-2021-eastern-command-insignia
This is the insignia of the Eastern Command in the Indian Army.

Image Source: Google | Image by: Wikipedia

7) Southern Command

This command is based in Pune, Maharashtra, active since 1895. During World War 2, it was re-formed in 1942.

It has contributed:
a) During the 1961 Indian Annexation of Goa.

b) During the 1965 and 1971 Indo- Pakistani Wars.

c) in the integration of several princely states into modern India.

At present, it is headed by Lieutenant General Jai Singh Nain.

Check out the insignia of this command below:

Indian-Army-2021-southern-command-insignia
This is the insignia of the Southern Command in the Indian Army.

Image Source: Google | Image by: Wikipedia

 

2)Army Corps

It is the highest field operation of The Indian Army. There are 3 types of corps in the army:

a) strike
b) holding
c) mix

There are a total of 14 corps and in each command, there are 2 or 2+ corps.

Lead by:- General Officer Commanding-in-Chief(GCO)
Rank – 3 star – Lieutenant General
Strength of personnel– 3-4 Divisions

3) Division

Divisions are also known as large military unit or formation comprising of 10000-20000 soldiers. During world war strength of these divisions are about 8000-30000 soldiers.

Lead by– Division Commander
Rank – 2 star- Major General
Strength of personnel– 3-4 Brigades

Note: At present, India has 40 divisions.
Including :

RAPID(Re-organised Army Plains Infantry Divisions) Action Divisions (4 Divisions)

Infantry Divisions (18 Divisions)
Mountain Divisions (12 Divisions)
Armored Divisions (3 Divisions)
Artillery Divisions (3 Divisions)

4) Brigade 

Lead by– Brigade Commander (aka Brigadier General in other countries armies)
Rank – 1-star Brigadier
Strength of personnel3000 combat troops along with various support elements. An infantry brigade has 3 infantry battalions along with other support arms and services.

At present, India has :
5 independent armored brigades
15 independent artillery brigades
7 independent infantry brigades
1 independent parachute brigades
3 independent air defense brigades
2 independent air defense group
4 independent engineer brigades

These independent brigades are directly operated by corps commander.

5) Battalion/Regiment

It is Infantry’s main fighting unit. Every infantry battalion also possesses one Ghatak Platoon.

Lead by– Battalion Commander/Commanding officer
Rank – Colonel
Strength of personnel – 4 rifle companies 

Note the Key difference between the Regiment and The Battalion below:

Regiment= The military unit has more than one battalion. A regiment must have a minimum of 2 battalions.
Battalion = The military unit has only one battalion.

6) Company

Lead by– Company Commander
Rank – Lieutenant Colonel/ Major
Strength of personnel– 3 platoons

7) Battery (in artillery, mortars, rocket artillery, multiple rocket launchers, the surface to surface missiles, and air defense units)

 

Lead by– Every battery has 2 officers among these 2, the one who is senior is Battery Commander.
Rank – Major/Captain/Lieutenant
Strength of personnel– 3 sections

8) Platoon


Lead by– Platoon Commander
Rank – Junior Commissioned Officer
Strength of personnel– 3 sections

9)Section/squad- smallest military outfit.

Lead by – Section Commander
Rank – Havildar
Strength of personnel – 10 men

Indian-Army-2021-Command Structure
This image shows Army 7 Commands which are further divided into corps and divisions and the place where they are stationed at.

Indian Army Ranks and Insignias

The Indian Army is the largest ground force in the world, has an estimated 1.3 million people actively serving in the army, and reserved strength of 960,000 people. It must be noted that the Indian army is a voluntary service, no-one had ever been forcefully conscripted in it.

RANK STRUCTURE 

Indian Army Ranks in 2021 can be classified into three categories:

Commissioned Officers 

Commissioned Officers are the leaders of the army and hold command in units from platoon to corps and above. All Army officers join the army as cadets having no insignia at the time of their training. After completion of training, cadets will then be enlisted in the army at the rank of Lieutenant.

Officers are continuously put through different courses and being assessed on merit throughout their career, for promotions and appointments. For lieutenant colonel and colonel, time period in service is also considered for promotions and above colonel promotions are based on selection.

I have mentioned army ranks from highest to lowest below. These are:-

  1. Field Marshall: Field Marshall is a Rank-5 general officer and the highest attainable post in the Indian Army. Only 2 people were given this post since the inception of the army, first, was Sam Manekshaw, who was conferred this rank on January 1, 1973, and second, was Kodandera M. Cariappa was conferred this rank on January 15, 1986.
  2.  General
  3. Lieutenant General
  4. Major General
  5. Brigadier 
  6. Colonel
  7. Lieutenant Colonel
  8. Major
  9. Captain
  10. Lieutenant

Junior Commissioned Officer(JCO)

Junior Commissioned Officers is a military officer whose rank is lower than Lieutenant and higher than a Havildar. They are promoted from non-commissioned officers. They are:

Infantry and other arms
Cavalry and Armour
Subedar Major
Risaldar Major
Subedar
Risaldar
Naib Subedar
Naib Risaldar

Other Ranks (ORs)

These include non-commissioned officers and soldiers.

Non-commissioned officers

 

Infantry and other arms
Cavalry and Armour
Havildar
Daffadar
Naik
Lance Daffadar
Lance Naik
Acting Lance Daffadar
Soldiers

 

Infantry and other arms
 
Cavalry and Armour
Sepoy
Sowar
army ranks along with their insignia
This image shows the Indian army 2021 ranks with insignia each ranked officer holds. ( Image Source- Google | Image by – Kikali.in )

To know more about the Indian army ranks then click here.

How Soldiers are Recruited and Trained in The Indian Army

As we discussed, The army keeps the nation secure, and to ensure that happens in continuity the army brings in fresh blood(new recruits) and in this article, I have mentioned the 13 ways to join the army in the table below. Let’s have a look.

Way or process

Age limitEducational Qualifications
National Defense Academy(NDA)16 1/2 Years to 19 1/2 years12th pass from 10+2 pattern of School Education
Combined Defence Services (CDS) 19 to 24 yearsBachelor’s degree from a recognized university
Technical Entry Scheme (TES) 10+2 Tech

16½ to 19½ Years

10+2 (70% marks with PCM)
Short Service Commission
(Non-Tech)

19-25 Years

Graduate
Short Service Commission
(Tech Men and Women)

19-27 Years

BE/ BTech in Engineering/B.Arch, MSC Computer
NCC Special (Men & Women)


19-25 Years
Graduate with 50% aggregate,
“A” or “B” grade in NCC “C” certificate
Judge Advocate General- JAG (Men & Women)

21-27 Years

Law Graduate LLB with 55% marks
Technical Graduates Course(TGC)

21-27 Years

BE / B.Tech Engineering / B.Arch MSc computer

University Entry Scheme(UES)

18-24 Years

Pre Final Student of Engineering Degree Course
Army Cadet College Wing(ACC)

20-27 years & minimum service of five years and

10+2 pass can apply for Regular Commission.
Special Commissioned Officers SCO(JCOs/NCOs/OR)

30-35 years and minimum service of five years

12th Class of 10+2 pattern or equivalent
Permanent Commission (Special List) (PC SL)

Max- 42 years, 45 years for Engineers & 45 years for IOB

Minimum service 10 years

12th Class or equivalent for record officer and relevant technical degrees for technical stream
Territorial Army

18-42 years

Graduation from a recognized university.

After getting recruited they are trained in Army Training Command in Shimla and Military academies in India where they learned military tactics, strategic warfare and tactical warfare, specialized mountain warfare and winter warfare, effective weapons and handling, effective Air Defence Artillery protection to ground forces against long and medium-altitude enemy air attacks and much more.

To know about how to join the army as an officer then click here and to know how to join the army as Subedar, Havildar and as Soldiers then click here.

Why the Indian Army needs Military Intelligence

“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.”

“If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat.”

“If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

– Sun Tzu, The Art of War

Military Intelligence provides military commanders with valuable insight into enemy forces and on that basis, a plan is created to beat the enemy. Area of intelligence study may include the operational environment which can be hostile, friendly or neutral forces, also whether civilians are present in war-prone areas and in what numbers, and other broader areas of interest. 

In India, Defense Intelligence Agency (D.I.A) organization coordinates with Intelligence agencies of Indian armed forces. For the Indian Army,  The Directorate of Military Intelligence (D.M.I) provides intelligence support to tactical, operational, and strategic-level needs of the army. It also conducts counter-intelligence activities to help prepare Indian forces against possible attacks of terrorist organizations.

Gallantry Awards

Soldiers in the Indian Army are awarded Gallantry awards for their bravery and courage, as well as distinguished service during times of war and peace. These awards are classified into 2 categories:

1) In the Face of Enemy

  1. Param Vir Chakra(PVC)
  2. Mahavir Chakra (MVC)
  3. Vir Chakra
  4. Sena Medal
  5. Mention in Dispatches
  6. Chiefs of Staff Commendation Card

2) Other than in the Face of Enemy

  1. Ashok Chakra
  2. Kirti Chakra
  3. Shaurya Chakra
  4. Sena Medal
  5. Mention in Dispatches
  6. Chiefs of Staff Commendation Card

Conclusion

In conclusion, for Army and its soldiers, their duty towards their nation is their biggest priority. Disciplines and skills like Art of War, Engineering, Research and Experimentation, Medicine, Administration, Human Resource Development and Management; the army teaches you all.  For this, the Indian army has laid down a well-planned structure with roles, ranks and authorities of each army personnel clearly defined.

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