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All you want to know about the ranks in Indian army

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Insignia of Indian army ranks. Wikimedia commons
Insignia of Indian army ranks. Wikimedia commons
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The Indian Army is admired by each countryman due its commitment and professionalism in protecting the country. It is divided into seven commands and is an all-volunteer force. Being the second largest standing army, it has 1,237,117 active troops and 990,960 reserve troops.

Take a look at the various ranks of the Indian army

Commissioned Officers of the Indian Army

Rank – Field Marshal

Insignia – National emblem over a crossed baton and saber in a lotus blossom wreath

The Field Marshal rank is the highest rank in the Indian Army. Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw and Field Marshal KM Cariappa were the only two officers who were elevated to the rank of Field Marshal.

India has the biggest "voluntary" army in the world. Wikimedia commons
India has the biggest “voluntary” army in the world. Wikimedia Commons

Rank – General

Insignia – National emblem over a five-pointed star, both over a crossed baton and saber

This is the highest rank held by an Army officer, after Field Marshall. Only the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) who holds this rank. Their pay band 90,000 fixed at equivalent to Cabinet Secretary of India.

Proposed level & pay in 7th CPC – Level 18, Rs. 2,50,000

Incumbent – General Dalbir Singh, COAS

Retirement – After 3 years as COAS or at the age of 62, whichever is earlier

Rank – Lieutenant General

Insignia – National emblem over crossed baton and saber

Appointed only by selection, after 36 years of commissioned service. They are appointed as Vice Chief of Army Staff/Army Commanders/Equivalent at Pay Band 80,000 Apex Grade fixed. They are required to do 36 years of commissioned service.

Proposed level & pay in 7th CPC: Level 17, Rs.2,25,000

Retirement age- 60

Rank – Major General

Insignia – Five-pointed star over crossed baton and saber

Major Generals are promoted by selection (after 32 years of commissioned service).

Proposed level & pay in 7th CPC: Level 14, Rs. 1,44,200

Retirement age- 58

Rank – Brigadier

Insignia – National emblem over three five-pointed stars in a triangular formation

Brigadiers are promoted by selection (after 25 years of commissioned service)

Proposed level & pay in 7th CPC: Level 13A, Rs.1,34,400

Retirement age- 56

Indian soldiers are considered among the very best in high altitude and mountain warfare. Pixabay
Indian soldiers are considered among the very best in high altitude and mountain warfare. Pixabay

Rank – Colonel

Insignia – National emblem over two five-pointed stars

Colonels may be promoted by selection (after 15 years of commissioned service) or may be promoted (time-scale) after 26 years of commissioned service. Time-scale Colonels may, however, only hold the portfolio of a Lt. Colonel.

Proposed level & pay in 7th CPC – Level 13, Rs. 1,25,700

Retirement age- 54

Rank – Lieutenant Colonel

Insignia – National emblem over five-pointed star

Time bound promotion on completion of 13 years commissioned service.

Proposed level & pay in 7th CPC: Level 12A, Rs. 1,16,700

Rank – Major

Insignia – National emblem

Time bound promotion on completion of 6 years commissioned service.

Proposed level & pay in 7th CPC – Level 11, Rs. 69,400

Rank – Captain

Insignia – Three five-pointed stars

Time bound promotion on completion of 2 years commissioned service

Proposed level & pay in 7th CPC – Level 10B, Rs. 61,300

Rank – Lieutenant

Insignia – Two five-pointed stars

Rank achieved on commissioning into Indian Army as an Officer

Proposed level & pay in 7th CPC – Level 10, Rs. 56,100

India covertly tested its nuclear arsenal in the early 1970s and late 1990s without the CIA even knowing what was happening. Pixabay
India covertly tested its nuclear arsenal in the early 1970s and late 1990s without the CIA even knowing what was happening. Pixabay

Junior Commissioned Officers of the Indian Army


Rank – Subedar Major (Infantry) or Risaldar Major (Cavalry and Armoured Regiments)

Insignia – Gold national emblem with stripe

Promotion by selection

Retirement age– After 34 years service or at the age of 54, whichever is earlier

Rank – Subedar (Infantry) or Risaldar (Cavalry and Armoured Regiments)

Insignia – Two gold stars with stripe

Promotion by selection

Retirement age – After 30 years service or at the age of 52, whichever is earlier

Rank – Naib Subedar (Infantry) or Naib Risaldar (Cavalry and Armoured Regiments)

Insignia – One gold star with stripe

Promotion by selection

Retirement age– After 28 years service or at the age of 52, whichever is earlier

Unlike other government organisations and institutions in India, there are no provisions for reservations based on caste or religion. Wikimedia commons
Unlike other government organisations and institutions in India, there are no provisions for reservations based on caste or religion. Wikimedia Commons

Non-Commissioned Officers of the Indian Army

Rank – Havildar (Infantry) or Daffadar (Cavalry and Armoured Regiments)

Insignia – Three rank chevrons

Promotion by selection

Retirement age – After 26 years service or at the age of 49, whichever is earlier

Rank – Naik (Infantry) or Lance Daffadar (Cavalry and Armoured Regiments)

Insignia – Two rank chevrons

Promotion by selection

Retirement age– After 24 years service or at the age of 49, whichever is earlier

Rank – Lance Naik (Infantry) or Acting Lance Daffadar (Cavalry and Armoured Regiments)

Insignia – One rank chevron

Promotion by selection

Retirement age– After 22 years service or at the age of 48, whichever is earlier

Soldiers

Rank – Sepoy

Insignia – Plain shoulder badge

The Sepoys identify themselves according to the Corps that they serve in.

  • A sepoy from Signals will identify him as Signalman.
  • From Infantry as Rifleman.
  • From the Armoured Corps as Gunner.
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Operation Meghdoot: Role of Indian Air Force

Indian Air Force backed the Indian Army during Operation Meghdoot by supplying troops and stores

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Ensign of Indian Air Force. Wikimedia commons
Ensign of Indian Air Force. Wikimedia commons
  • Operation Meghdoot’s objective was to capture the Siachen Glacier.
  • Indian Army expeditions were going on in the high-altitude region.
  • IAF was tasked with supporting the troops with backup and supplies.

Operation Meghdoot was launched in 1984, it aimed to capture the Siachen Glacier. It was quite a unique operation because of Siachen’s dreaded terrain and unforgiving climate. The mission was a successful one, India gained control over the Siachen Glacier.

India now controls the 70 kilometres long glacier and the three major passes west of it (Sia La, Bilafond La, and Gyong La. Whereas Pakistan controls the area west of Saltoro Ridge. The TIME magazine states, India has control over 1,000 square miles of territory because of its exceptional military operation.

You may also like: 20 Amazing Facts About Indian Navy

Siachen glacier, known as the third pole of the world, is one of the most dreaded places in the world. Mainly due to its temperature and terrain. Wikimedia commons
Siachen glacier, known as the third pole of the world, is one of the most dreaded places in the world. Mainly due to its temperature and terrain. Wikimedia Commons

IAF had played a major role in this operation. It used Il-76, An-12, and An-32 to transport troops and drop supplies to these extremely high altitude battlefields. Following which, Mi-17, Mi-8 and HAL Chetak would carry the same to the east.

IAF’s performance was incredible, taking into account how extreme the temperature and altitude are at Siachen. The operation is a saga which showcased such skill that can never be forgotten.

IAF's uncompromising valour made it possible for the Indian Army to capture the Siachen Glacier. Wikimedia commons
IAF’s uncompromising valour made it possible for the Indian Army to capture the Siachen Glacier. Wikimedia Commons

Role of Indian Air Force

When the first IAF sortie was launched to Siachen on 20th September 1978, Chetak helicopters used to supply stores to the on-ground Indian Army. That’s when a thought occurred to one of the IAF officers “Why not pick their emails for their loved ones back home?” They used to drop a string with a note saying “We are coming back in 10 minutes. Please write your letters and put them in a bag.”

This kind gesture of the Indian Air Force symbolized the brotherhood of ‘men in arms’. It also boosted the morale of Indian Army troops who were leading expeditions on the ‘third pole of the world’.

Also read: All you want to know about the ranks of Indian army

IAF operates from 60 bases across the country. Wikimedia commons
IAF operates from 60 bases across the country. Wikimedia Commons

IAF helicopters used to fly at the height of 16,000 feet, many times, the officers had to take oxygen directly from the pipe. They also had the job of taking injured troops back to base camp. However, it isn’t as simple as it sounds.

Finding the expedition parties in the never-ending desert of ice, then landing the helicopter on the lumps of snow were tasks that required unmistakable skill.

IAF is the fourth most powerful air force in the world. Wikimedia commons
IAF is the fourth most powerful air force in the world. Wikimedia Commons

How IAF operates in Siachen now

Indian Air Force has a far different set of procedures than that of the time of Operation Meghdoot. The operations are scientifically planned and executed meticulously.

  • IL-76s and An-32s supply stores to the men in Leh and Thoise from Chandigarh.
  • Thereafter, Mi-17 helicopters airdrop supplies to the lower level helipads at 17,500 feets.
  • Cheetahs then take over and ferry the supplies to helipads situated at 20,000 feet.