Ranks and Insignia of Indian Armed Forces: Indian Army


The profession in Indian Armed Forces is a unique vocation of experts who are entrusted to defend the Constitution and the rights and interests of India. More than an indication of pay grade, The ranks provide a system of leadership that indicates a Soldier's level of expertise, responsibility and authority inside that profession. Regardless of rank, every Soldier has a significant role in the force.

Ranks provide a system of leadership that indicates a Soldier's level of expertise, responsibility and authority. As they say in Indian armed forces " You wear your heart on your sleeve and your resume on your uniform". Rank defines a soldier while Insignia is a distinguishing mark and a badge of authority or honor. Each wing of the Indian Armed Forces has a specific insignia , In this article we will discuss the rank and insignia of Indian Army.

Ranks and Insignia are discussed in decreasing order of priority below.

COMMISSIONED OFFICER

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. It is a ceremonial or wartime rank and Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw and Field Marshal KM Cariappa were the only two officers to be elevated to the rank of Field Marshal.
Retirement- There is no retirement age for this rank. It is awarded lifelong.

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, apart from the honorary rank of Field Marshal,It is  held only by the Chief of Army Staff of the Indian Army and the rank is equivalent to Cabinet Secretary of India.
Retirement- 3 years as COAS or at the age of 62, whichever is earlier.
Current General- General Bipin Rawat,  is the current COAS.

LIEUTENANT GENERAL
Insignia- National emblem over crossed baton and saber.

Lieutenant generals are appointed only by selection (after 36 years of commissioned service) and may hold the position of a Vice Chief of Army Staff or Army Commanders.
Retirement- 60 years

MAJOR GENERAL
Insignia- Five-pointed star over crossed baton and saber.

Major generals are appointed by selection after 32 years of commissioned service.
Retirement- 58 years

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

Major generals are appointed by selection after 25 years of commissioned service.
Retirement- 56 years

COLONEL
Insignia- National emblem over two five-pointed stars

Colonel and above ranks are Selection grade ranks. 15 years of commissioned service is required for selection. Duration of Time Scale promotion to Colonel is 26 years of commissioned service.
Retirement- 54 years

LIEUTENANT COLONEL
Insignia- National emblem over five-pointed star

This rank is earned on completion of 13 years reckonable commissioned service subject to clearance of Part D exam.
Retirement- NA

MAJOR
Insignia- National emblem

This rank is earned on completion of 6 years reckonable commissioned service subject to clearance of Part B exam.
Retirement- NA

CAPTAIN
Insignia- Three five-pointed stars

This rank is earned on completion of 2 years reckonable commissioned service. In some entries i.e. UES , the rank is awarded after successful completion of 1 year.
Retirement- NA

LIEUTENANT
Insignia- Two five-pointed stars.

It is rank achieved after getting commissioned into the force from the academy. Earlier Second Lieutenant rank was also awarded but it has now been abolished.
Retirement- NA

JUNIOR COMMISSIONED OFFICER

SUBEDAR MAJOR
Insignia – Gold national emblem with stripe

The promotion is based on selection. Although commissioned, they would be considered as senior enlisted personnel and fulfil a role similar to that of the most senior non-commissioned officers in other armies. A battalion's single subedar-major assists the commander in much the same way as a regimental sergeant major would.
Retirement- After 34 years service or at the age of 54, whichever is sooner.

SUBEDAR
Insignia- Two gold stars with stripe

The selection is based on promotion. The rank was introduced in the East India Company's presidency armies (the Bengal Army, the Madras Army and the Bombay Army) to make it easier for British officers to communicate with native troops.
Retirement- After 30 years service or at the age of 52, whichever is earlier.

NAIB SUBEDAR
Insignia- One gold star with stripe

The selection is based on promotion.The soldiers holding JCO rank receive a commission from the President of India.
Retirement- After 28 years service or at the age of 52, whichever is earlier


NON COMMISSIONED OFFICERS

HAVILDAR
Insignia- Three rank chevrons

Historically, a havildar was a senior commander, being in charge of a fort during the times of the Mughal Empire and later Maratha Empire. It was used as the equivalent of a sergeant in the British Raj, which has led to its current usage.
Havildar is a Persian word in origin and means "person in charge"
Retirement-  After 26 years service or at the age of 49, whichever is earlier


NAIK
Insignia- Two rank chevrons

The rank was previously used in the British Indian Army and the Camel Corps, ranking between lance naik and havildar. In cavalry units the equivalent is lance daffadar. There is also a rank lance naik below naik, but it is on the verge of being obsolete.
Retirement-  After 24 years service or at the age of 49, whichever is earlier



SOLDIERS
SEPOY
Insignia – Plain shoulder badge

The term sepoy is derived from the Persian word meaning "infantry soldier" in the Mughal Empire. In the Ottoman Empire the term sipahi was used to refer to cavalry troopers.The Sepoys identify themselves according to the corps in which they serve. For example, a sepoy from Signals will identify him as Signalman, from Infantry as Rifleman and from the Armoured Corps as Gunner.
Retirement-  NA




                                      

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