Indian Armed Forces
The Indian Armed Forces are the military forces of the Republic of India. It consists of three professional uniformed services: the Indian army , Indian navy and India air force . Additionally, the Indian Armed Forces are supported by the Central Armed Police Forces, Assam Rifles, Indian Coast Guard and Special Frontier Force and various inter- service commands and institutions such as the Strategic Forces Command, the Andaman and Nicobar Command and the Integrated Defence Staff. The President of India is the Supreme Commander of the Indian Armed Forces. The Indian Armed Forces are under the management of the Ministry of Defence (MoD) of the Government of India .With strength of over 1.4 million active personnel, it is the World ‘s second largest military force and has the world’s largest volunteer army. It also has the third largest defence budget in the world. As per 2015 Credit Suisse report, the Indian Armed Forces is the world’s fifth most powerful military, whereas the 2020 GlobalFirepower report lists it as the fourth most-powerful military.
The Indian armed forces have been engaged in a number of major military operations, including: the Indo-Pakistan wars of 1947,1965 and 1971, the Portuguese-Indian war, the Sino-Indian War, the 1967 Chola incident,the 1987 Sino-Indian skirmish,the Kargil War, and the Siachen conflict among others. India honours its armed forces and military personnel annually on Armed Forces Flag Day, 7 December. Since 1962, the IAF has maintained close military relations with Russia, including cooperative development of programmes such as the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) and the Multirole Transport Aircraft (MTA). Armed with the nuclear triad, the Indian armed forces are steadily undergoing modernisation, with investments in areas such as futuristic soldier systems and missile defence system.
The Indian Navy is the naval branch of the Indian armed forces. With 58,350 men and women, including 7,000 personnel of the Indian naval Air Arm, 1,200 Marine Commandos (MARCOS) and 1,000 personnel of the Sagar Prahari Bal.The Indian Navy is one of the world’s largest naval forces and aspires to develop into a blue water navy. The Indian Navy has a large operational fleet consisting of 2 aircraft carriers, 1 amphibious transport dock, 9 Landing ship tanks , 10 Distroyers, 14 frigates,1 nuclear-powered attack submarine , 14 conventionally-powered attack submarines, 24 corvettes, 6 mine countermeasure vessels , 25 patrol vessels , 4 fleet tankers and various auxiliary vessels.
Indian Air Force
The Indian Air Force is the air arm of the Indian armed forces. Its primary responsibility is to secure Indian Air Space and to conduct Aerial warfare during a conflict. It was officially established on 8 October 1932 as an auxiliary air force of the British Raj and the prefix Royal was added in 1945 in recognition of its services during World War II. After India achieved independence from the United Kingdom in 1947, the Royal Indian Air Force served the Dominion of India, with the prefix being dropped when India became a republic in 1950. The Indian Air Force plays a crucial role in securing Indian airspace and also in India’s power projection in South Asia and Indian Ocean. Therefore, modernising and expanding the Indian Air Force is a top priority for the Indian government. Over the years, the IAF has grown from a tactical force to one with transoceanic reach. The strategic reach emerges from induction of Force Multipliers like Flight Refuelling Aircraft (FRA), Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) and credible strategic lift capabilities.
Indian Coast Guard
The Indian Coast Guard (ICG) protects India’s maritime interests and enforces maritime law, with jurisdiction over the territorial waters of India, including its contiguous zone and exclusive cconomic zone.The Indian Coast Guard was formally established on 18 August 1978 by the Coast Guard Act, 1978 of the Parliament of India as an independent Armed force of India. It operates under the Ministry of Defence.
The Coast Guard works in close co-operation with the Indian Navy, the Department of Fisheries, the Department of Revenue (Customs) and the Central and State police force.
Central Reserve Police Force
Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) is the largest of the CAPFs with 325,000 personnel in 246 battalions. The CRPF includes the Rapid Action Force (RAF), a 15 battalion anti-riot force trained to respond to sectarian violence, and the Commando Battalion For Resolute Action (COBRA), a 10 battalion strong Anti-Naxalite force.
Border Security Force
The primary role of the Border Security Force (BSF) is to guard the land borders of the country, except the mountains. The sanctioned strength is 257,363 personnel in 186 battalions, and is headed by an Indian Police Service Officer.
Indo-Tibetan Border Police
The Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) is deployed for guard duties on the border with China from Karakoram Pass in Ladakh to Diphu La in Arunachal Pradesh covering a total distance of 2,488 kilometres (1,546 miles). It has 90,000 personnel in 60 battalions.
Central Industrial Security Force
One of the largest industrial security forces in the world, the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) provides security to various Public Sector Companies (PSUs) and other critical infrastructure installations across the country, such as airports. It has a total strength of about 144,418 personnel in 132 battalions.
National Security Guard
The National Security Guard (NSG) is an elite counter-terrorist and rapid response force. Its roles include conducting anti-sabotage checks, rescuing hostages, neutralising terrorist threats to vital installations, engaging terrorists, responding to hijacking and piracy and protecting VIPs. It has 8636 personnel (including 1086 personnel for regional hubs. The NSG also includes the Special Ranger Group (SRG), whose 3,000 personnel provide protection to India’s VVIPs.
Special Protection Group
The Special Protection Group (SPG) was formed in 1988 by an act of the Parliament of India to “provide proximate security to the Prime Minister of India and former Prime Minister of India and members of their immediate families (wife, husband, children and parents)”. For former Prime Ministers and their dependents, a regular review is held to decide whether the threat to their life is high enough to warrant SPG protection.
National Disaster Response Force
The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) is a specialised force constituted “for the purpose of specialist response to a threatening disaster situation or disaster”. It is manned by persons on deputation from the various Central Armed Police Forces .At present it has 12 battalions, located in different parts of India. The control of NDRF lies with the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), which is headed by the Prime Minister.
Para (Special Forces)
Para Formed in 1966, the Para (SF) are the largest and most important part of the Special Forces of India. They are a part of the highly trained Parachute Regiment of the Indian Army. The main aim of having a Parachute Regiment is for quick deployment of soldiers behind the enemy lines to attack the enemy from behind and destroy their first line of defence. Para (SF) conducted a series of joint exercises with US army special forces called Vajra Prahar.
Ghatak Platoon or Ghatak Commandos, is a special operations capable infantry platoon. There is one platoon in every infantry battalion in the Indian Army. Ghatak is a Hindi word meaning “killer” or “lethal”. They act as shock troops and spearhead assaults ahead of the battalion. Their operational role is similar to Scout Sniper Platoon , STA Platoon of the US Marine Corp and the Patrols platoon of the British Army. A Ghatak Platoon is usually 20-men strong, consisting of a commanding captain, 2 non-commissioned officers and some special teams like marksman and spotter pairs, light machine gunners, a medic, and a radio operator. The remaining soldiers act as assault troopers. Most undergo training at the Commando Training Course in Belagavi , Karnataka. Often, other specialised training like heliborne assault, rock climbing, Mountain warfare, demolitions, advanced weapons training, close quarter battle and infantry tactics are also given. Members of the platoon are also sent to the High Altitude Warfare School and Counterinsurgency and Jungle Warfare School.
Garud Commando Force
The Garud Commando Force is the Special Forces unit of the Indian Air Force. It was formed in September 2004 and has a strength of approximately 2000 personnel. The unit derives its name from Garuda, a divine bird-like creature of Hindu Mythology. Garud is tasked with the protection of critical Air Force bases and installations; search and rescue during peace and hostilities and disaster relief during calamities. Garuds are deployed in the Congo as part of the UN peace keeping operations.