Indian Army Ranks – Indian army is a sole prestigious organization which remains always at the forefront to serve the nation. It is the largest component of Indian armed forces with 1,443,921 active troops and 2,096,000 reserve troops.
Indian army is following the British rank system since its independence in 1947. However, the crown in the rank insignia is replaced with the Ashoka Lion, which symbolizes the sovereignty of the government of India.
Working at the Indian army also helps in personal and professional growth. Indian army offers ample opportunities for promotion.
Candidates aspiring to Join the Indian army must be aware of the ranks and their insignia which helps them to identify the rank of a soldier.
At present, the Indian Army Ranks are classified into three categories:
| COMMISSIONED |
|Field Marshal||Subedar Major||Havildar|
|Lieutenant General||Naib Subedar||Lance Naik|
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Indian Army Ranks for Commissioned Officers
Commissioned officers are equivalent to All India Services and Group A service officers. Commissioned officers are the leaders and they can command anywhere from Platoon, Division, Battalion, Brigade, etc. Details and Insignia of each of the Indian Army Ranks are given below:
1. Field Marshal
Field marshal is a five- star general officer rank and this Indian Army ranks is the highest attainable rank in the Indian Army. Field marshal is ranked immediately above general and is a ceremonial /wartime rank. Marshal receives the full pay of a four-star general and is considered a serving officer till the death of the person.
To date, only two Indian army officers have been conferred this rank. First conferred to Sam Manekshaw in 1973, in recognition of his service and leadership in the year 1971 during the Indo-Pakistan war. The second individual was Kodandera M. Cariappa. He was the first Indian to serve as commander-in-chief of the Indian army.
INSIGNIA- Field marshal’s Insignia is very unique. It consists of national emblem over a crossed baton and sabre in a lotus blossom. The star insignia which comprises five golden stars over a red strip is used on car pennants, rank flags, etc.
COLLAR PATCH- Crimson patches with five golden stars.
A General officer is an officer of four-star rank. General rank has a NATO code of OF-9 and is the highest rank currently in use in the number of armies. This rank is held only by the Chief of Army Staff of the Indian Army. The retirement age of general is 3 years as COAS or at the age of 62, whichever is earlier.
INSIGNIA- General insignia consists of national emblem over a five-pointed star, all over a crossed baton and sabre.
COLLAR PATCH- Crimson patches with four golden stars.
3. Lieutenant General
Lieutenant General is a three-star military rank (NATO CODE -OF8) used in many countries. This rank traces its origin from the middle ages, where the title of Lieutenant-general was held by the second in command on the battlefield. They are appointed by selection i.e. after 36 years of commissioned service and they may hold the position of the vice chief of army staff or army commanders. The retirement age of lieutenant general is 60 years.
INSIGNIA- Lieutenant general consists of national emblem over crossed baton and sabre.
COLLAR PATCH- Crimson patches with three golden stars.
4. Major General
Major General is a rank derived from the older rank of Sergeant Major General. Major general in the Indian Army Ranks is equivalent to air vice-marshal in the Indian Air Force and rear admiral in Indian Navy and this rank is higher than a brigadier and lower than a lieutenant general. 32 years of service is required to be selected as major general and retirement age is 58 years.
INSIGNIA- Major general insignia consists of five-pointed stars over crossed baton and sabre.
COLLAR PATCH- Crimson patches with two golden stars.
Brigadier is a rank that is considered after colonel officer and before Major General. It is considered equivalent to a DIG post and in some of the countries, it is also called a one-star general. There around 2000 brigadiers serving at any time. 25 years of commissioned service is required to be a Brigadier in Indian Armed Forces and retirement age is 56 years.
INSIGNIA- Brigadier insignia consists of national emblem over three five-pointed stars in a triangular formation.
COLLAR PATCH- Crimson patches with one golden star.
Colonel in the Indian armed forces is equivalent to captain in the Indian Navy and Group Captain in the Indian air force. Colonel rank is higher than lieutenant colonel and lower than brigadier.15 years of commissioned service is required for selection and retirement age is 54 years.
INSIGNIA- Colonel insignia consists of National emblem over two five-pointed stars.
COLLAR PATCH- Crimson patches with golden braids.
7. Lieutenant Colonel
A Lieutenant Colonel is basically in charge of a battalion or regiment in armed forces. On completion of 13 years of commissioned service and subject to clearance of part d exam an officer can become a lieutenant colonel.
INSIGNIA– Lieutenant colonel insignia consist of National emblem over five-pointed star.
COLLAR PATCH- None
Major is 2 ranks senior officer to that of lieutenant and one rank senior officer to captain. A major is responsible for various strategic roles and he directs and commands a military unit. On completion of 2 years, reckonable commissioned service and subject to clearance of part b exam an officer can be commissioned as major.
INSIGNIA– Major insignia consists of National emblem.
COLLAR PATCH- None
This rank is generally considered to be the highest rank a soldier can achieve while remaining in the field. This rank was in use from the 1560s, referring to an officer who commands a company. An officer can become captain after completion of 2 years of reckonable commissioned service.
INSIGNIA– Captain insignia consists of three five-pointed stars.
COLLAR PATCH- None
Lieutenant is the junior-most commissioned officer of the Indian armed forces, a gazetted officer of the Government of India. A lieutenant is usually commissioned to the Indian Army at the age of 21 or 22. This rank is achieved on commissioning into Indian army as an officer.
INSIGNIA- Lieutenant insignia consists of two five-pointed stars.
Indian Army Ranks for Junior commissioned officers
Junior commissioned officers (JCO) is a class II (group B) gazetted officer in the armies, navies, and air forces of India. During British rule JCOs were called viceroys commissioned officers. Senior non -commissioned officers are promoted on a basis of merit and seniority, restricted by the number of vacancies.
JCOs who are holding the rank of Naib Subedar or Subedar often serve as platoon commanders of an infantry company. The JCO ranks in the Indian armed forces (from highest to lowest) are:
1. Subedar Major/ Risaldar Major
Subedar major is the senior-most rank of junior commissioned officer in the Indian armed forces, and formerly a viceroy’s commissioned officer in the British Indian Army. In the cavalry, the equivalent rank is Risaldar-major. Retirement age of subedar major is after 34 years of service or at the age of 54 whichever is earlier.
INSIGNIA- Subedar major insignia includes golden national emblem with stipe.
This rank was first introduced in the East India company’s presidency armies to make it easier for British officers to communicate with the native troops. Retirement age of subedar is after 30 years of service or at the age of 52, whichever is earlier.
INSIGNIA- Subedar insignia consists of two golden stars with stripe.
3. Naib Subedar
Naib subedar is the junior-most JCO who wears one star on his soldier with a red and yellow band. The retirement age of naib subedar is after 28 years of service or at the age of 52, whichever is earlier.
INSIGNIA- Naib subedar insignia consist of one golden star with stripe.
Indian Army Ranks for Non-Commissioned Officers
A Non- Commissioned Officer (NCO) is an Indian Military Officer without commission. NCO officers usually attained their position by promotions. The NCOs ranks in Indian armed forces are:-
Havildar is the senior-most non- commissioned officer in a company equivalent to a company sergeant major. They hold more responsibilities as compare to naik and lance Naik. They can also hold many different appointments within the Indian Army. Retirement age of havildar is after 26 years of service or at the age of 49 years, whichever is earlier.
INSIGNIA- Havildar insignia consists of three rank chevrons.
Naik is the Indian army rank equivalent to corporal. The rank was previously used in the British Indian army and the camel corps and this rank lie between lance naik and havildar. Retirement age of naik is after 24 years of service or at the age of 49 years, whichever is earlier.
INSIGNIA- Naik insignia consists of two rank chevrons.
3. Lance Naik
Lance naik is the second Indian army rank and is in- charge of a small group of soldiers.in cavalry units, they are called lance Daffadars. Retirement age of lance naik is after 22 years of service or at the age of 48, whichever is earlier.
INSIGNIA- Insignia consists of single rank chevron.
NOTE: Lance Naik (L/Nk) has the same rank as Lance corporal in Bangladesh, Pakistan.
Sepoy is the first Indian army rank. This rank is called sepoy because in Persian it means infantry soldier. Retirement age of sepoy is after 19 years of service or at the age of 42, whichever is earlier. Sepoy only wears a badge with the plain shoulder.
NOTE: No Insignia
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