Indian Army Ranks

The Indian army is one of  the largest and oldest institutions in the country. The Indian army has well-defined rank based hierarchical structure. A proper understanding of Indian Army Ranks is important especially for the aspirants of  NDA , CDS , AFCAT  and other competitive examinations. In this article, we will discuss in detail  Army Ranks , Insignia , Hierarchy and command structure.

Indian Army 

Indian army is the second largest army in the world with strength  of almost  1.3 Million which includes 1,237,117 active personnel and 960,000 reserve personnel. The Indian army is 123 year old institution founded on 1st April 1895 during the British Rule over india .

The main objective and primary mission of the Indian Army is to defend the Indian State against external aggression  ,  ensure National Security and integrity of India . The Indian army is also deployed  in a situation for  maintaining peace , law andorder,, and  internal security within the country .

The  President of India is the Supreme Commander of the Indian Armed Forces which consist of  Indian Army , Navy and Air Force .

The Indian Army is going through a process of modernization. The Indian army is being equipped with latest weapons such as latest tanks , artillery guns , SAM ( Surface To Air )  batteries and SSM ( Surface To Surface ) missiles.

Indian Army  Command Structure :

The Indian Army operates on a regimental structure.  The command structure within the Indian army is based on the rank and also the geographic location of the unit.

The Indian army’s command structure is operationally classified into four categories :

  • Commissioned Officers.
  • Junior Commissioned Officers ( JCO).
  • Non-Commissioned Officers.
  • Soldiers
Indian Army Ranks – Officer Category
OFFICER RANK CATEGORY 1 Commissioned Officer CO
2 Junior Commissioned Officer JCO
3 Non-Commissioned Officer NCO

The Indian army’s command structure is geographically divided into seven locations  :

No INDIAN ARMY COMMAND HEADQUARTER
1 Northern Command Udhampur
2 Southern Command Pune
3 Eastern Command Kolkatta
4 Western Command Chandimandir , Panchkula , Haryana
5 South Western Command Jaipur
6 Central Command Lucknow
7 Army Training  Command Shimla

Commissioned And Non- Commissioned Officers

The Indian army distinguishes between commissioned and non-commissioned officers by their roles , On the job duties, respective ranks, the authority delegated  and their pay scale structure .

Non-Commissioned Officer ( NCO ) :

The  Non-Commissioned Officer ( NCO ) is an Indian military officer who has not earned a formal designation of commissioned Officer ( Also referred as Commission ) . The Non-Commissioned personnel usually perform duties based on specific skills  such as training, recruitment , technical jobs or military policing. The NCO is considered to be the backbone of the army operations.

In the Indian army , the NCO can be promoted to JCO rank  either from junior ranks based on the eligibility .

Commissioned Officer ( NCO ) :

The Commissioned officers are in the management cadre performing leadership roles. The Commissioned Officers provide the necessary direction and management expertise to perform various military operations on the ground . The CO’ s assign lower ranks NCO  their duties , missions, their assignments and their orders. The NCOs are responsible to supervise lower ranks army personnel to ensure that the  assignments are performed  properly and get the job done.

In the Indian army, the JCO can be selected either from junior ranks based on the eligibility criterion Or directly through recruitment exams conducted.

Indian Army Ranks – Commissioned Officers

Indian Army Ranks –  Commissioned Officer
COMMISSIONED OFFICER  ( CO ) 1 Field Marshal CO
2 General CO
3 Lieutenant General CO
4 Major General CO
5 Brigadier CO
6 Colonel CO
7 Colonel Lieutenant CO
8 Major CO
9 Captain CO
10 Lieutenant CO
Indian Army Ranks
Indian Army Ranks – Commissioned Officers

Indian Army Highest Rank – Field Marshal

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

The Field Marshal rank is the highest ceremonial rank in the Indian Army. The Field Marshal Rank is awarded in recognition of  extemporary service to the Indian Army . As of now , in Indian army, only two officers have been elevated to the rank of Field Marshal and these officers include Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw and Field Marshal KM Cariappa .

Indian Army Field Marshals
Indian   Army Field Marshals    Sam Manekshaw And     Field Marshal   K M Cariappa

The Field Marshal KM Cariappa was the first commander in chief  of  the Indian Army elevated as Field Marshal.  He was Chief of Army staff during the first  India  Pakistan  war just after the independence  in the year 1947 . In this war , the Indian  army  defeated  the Pakistani army and stopped the Pakistani forces from capturing  the Indian Kashmir . This war is also referred to as the first Kashmir war.

The Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw became the second chief of the Indian Army who has been elevated to the ceremonial rank of  Field Marshal.  He was Chief of Army staff during the second  India-Pakistan war in the year 1971 . In this war , Indian army defeated  the Pakistani army and liberated Bangladesh as an independent country . This war is also referred to as the Bangladesh Liberation war.

Indian Army  Rank  :   General  (  COAS –  Chief Of Army Staff  )

Insignia  For COAS  :  National emblem over a five-pointed star, both over a crossed baton and saber

This rank is operationally the highest rank held by an Army officer who is generally the Chief Of Army Staff ( COAS ) . This rank is considered to be an equivalent of cabinet secretary. General Bipin Rawat  is currently holding the charge of   COAS .

COAS  Retirement : The retirement age for COAS is either  3 years  after being appointed as COAS OR  at the age of 62 years , whichever is earlier .

Indian Army  Rank – Lieutenant General

Insignia For  LG  :  National emblem over crossed baton and saber

The Indian army appoints Lieutenant Generals only by selection and the eligibility criterion is after completing  36 years of commissioned service in the Indian Army . the Lieutenant General  may hold the position of a Vice Chief of Army Staff ( VCAS ) or Army Commander.

Retirement : The retirement age for Lieutenant General  Rank Officer is 60 years.

Indian Army Rank – Major General  

Insignia :  Five-pointed star over crossed baton and sabre.

The Indian army Major Generals (  Abbreviated  As  MG  /  Maj  Gen  ) are promoted from commissioned officers by selection . The eligibility criterion for MG rank is   32 years of  service as a commissioned officer in service with the  Indian army .

Retirement  :  The retirement age for Major General Rank  Officer is  58 years .

Indian Army Rank – Brigadier

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

The Indian army appoints Brigadier through the selection process. The eligible commissioned officers  are promoted by selection . The eligibility criterion for Brigadier rank is   25 years of  service as a commissioned officer in service with  the Indian army .

Retirement :  The retirement age for Brigadier rank officer is  56 years .

Indian Army  Rank – Colonel

Insignia :  National emblem over two five-pointed stars

The Colonels in the Indian army are  promoted by the selection process . The eligibility criterion for Colonel Rank Officer is after 15 years of service as commissioned Officer OR eligible officer may be promoted on seniority basis  after completing 26 years as a commissioned Officer with Indian Army . However, the officers promoted on  Time-scale Colonels may hold the portfolio of a Lt. Colonel.

Retirement :  The retirement age for Colonel rank officer is 54 years .

Indian Army Rank – Lieutenant Colonel

Insignia :  National emblem over five-pointed star.

The Lieutenant Colonels in the Indian army are  promoted by the selection process . The eligibility criterion for Lieutenant Colonel Rank Officer is after 13 years of service as a commissioned Officer and subject to clearance of Part D exam. The rank of lieutenant colonel is often shortened to simply “colonel” in conversation and also in unofficial correspondence.

Indian Army  Rank – Major

Insignia :  National emblem

The Indian army appoints Major  through the selection process and time-bound promotion on completion of  at least  6 years commissioned service with the Indian army .

Indian Army  Rank – Captain

Insignia :  Three five-pointed stars

The Indian army appoints Captain  through the selection process and a time-bound promotion on completion of  at least  2 years commissioned service with the Indian army .

Indian Army  Rank – Lieutenant

Insignia :  Two five-pointed stars

The Indian army appoints Lieutenant  on commissioning into the  Indian Army as an Officer.

Indian Army Rank  – Junior Commissioned Officers ( JCO )

Indian Army Ranks –  Junior Commissioned Officer
JUNIOR COMMISSIONED OFFICER   ( JCO ) 1 Subedar Major JCO
2 Subedar JCO
3 Naib Subedar JCO
Indian Army Rank
Indian Army Ranks – Junior Commissioned Officers

Indian Army Rank – Subedar Major ( Infantry )

OR   Risaldar Major ( Cavalry And Armored  Regiments )

Insignia :  Gold national emblem with stripe

The Indian army appoints  Subedar Major Or  Risaldar Major either by promotion  Or by selection amongst  eligible candidates .

Retirement : The retirement age is after completing 34 years service or at the age of 54 years , whichever is earlier.

Indian Army Rank – Subedar ( Infantry )

OR  Risaldar ( Cavalry  And  Armored  Regiments  )

Insignia  :  Two gold stars with stripe

The Indian army appoints  Subedar  Or  Risaldar either by promotion  Or by selection amongst  eligible candidates .

Retirement :  The retirement age is after completing 30 years service or at the age of 52 years , whichever is earlier.

Indian Army  Rank – Naib Subedar ( Infantry )

OR  Naib Risaldar ( Cavalry  And Armored  Regiments )

Insignia :  One gold star with stripe

The Indian army appoints  Naib Subedar  Or  Naib Risaldar either by promotion  Or by selection amongst  eligible candidates Promotion by selection

Retirement :  The retirement age is after completing 28 years service or at the age of 52 years , whichever is earlier.

Indian Army Ranks – Non-Commissioned Officers

Indian Army Ranks –  Non-Commissioned Officer
NON-COMMISSIONED OFFICER          ( NCO ) 1 Havaldar NCO
2 Naik NCO
3 Lance Naik NCO
4 Sepoy NCO
Indian Army Ranks
Indian Army Ranks : Non-Commissioned Officers

Indian Army  Rank – Havildar (Infantry)

OR  Daffadar ( Cavalry and Armored Regiments )

Insignia :  Three rank chevrons

The Indian army appoints  Havildar Or  Daffadar either by promotion  Or by selection amongst  eligible candidates Promotion by selection

Retirement :  The retirement age is after completing 26 years service or at the age of 49 years , whichever is earlier. 

Indian Army Rank – Naik ( Infantry )

OR  Lance Daffadar (Cavalry and Armoured Regiments)

Insignia : Two rank chevrons

The Indian army appoints  Naik Or  Daffadar either by promotion  Or by selection amongst  eligible candidates Promotion by selection.

Retirement :  The retirement age is after completing 24  years service or at the age of 49 years , whichever is earlier.

Indian Army Rank – Lance Naik ( Infantry )

OR  Acting Lance Daffadar ( Cavalry and Armored Regiments )

Insignia : One rank chevron

The Indian army appoints  Lance Naik Or  Lance Daffadar either by promotion  Or by selection amongst  eligible candidates Promotion by selection.

Retirement  :  The retirement age is after completing 22  years service or at the age of 48 years , whichever is earlier .

Indian Army  Soldiers

Indian Army  Rank – Sepoy

Insignia – Plain shoulder badge

The Indian Army Sepoys are identified  depending upon the Corps that they are assigned. For example,

  • A Sepoy working in Signals will be called as Signalman.
  • A Sepoy working in Infantry will be called as Rifleman.
  • A Sepoy working in the Armored Corps is called as Gunner.

Watch Indian Army Ranks And Command Structure Explained 

Watch Indian Army Ranks And Command Structure Explained ( HINDI )

Indian Army Rank Structure At A Glance :

Indian Army Ranks
Indian Army Ranks