Army ranks and insignia of India

The following tables present the ranks of the Indian Army. These ranks generally correspond with those of Western militaries, and in particular reflect those of the British and Commonwealth armies. Traditional names for ranks are still used, as well as Western names.

Indian Armed Forces
Military Manpower
Active troops 1,440,000 (2nd)
Reserve forces 2,096,000 (5th)
Paramilitary forces
and CAPF
1,585,950 (6th)
Indian Army
Indian Air Force
Indian Navy
Paramilitary forces of India
Central Armed Police Forces
Strategic Nuclear Command
Military history of India
Air Force ranks and insignia
Army ranks and insignia
Naval ranks and insignia


Until 26 January 1950, when India became a republic, the Indian Army utilised the British-pattern rank badges of the British Indian Army. Upon independence in 1947, India became a dominion within the British Commonwealth of Nations, but the old rank insignia, incorporating the Tudor Crown and four-pointed Bath Star ("pip"), was retained, as George VI remained Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Armed Forces. After 26 January 1950, when India became a republic, the President of India became Commander-in-Chief, and the Ashoka Lion replaced the crown, with a five-pointed star being substituted for the "pip."[1]

Field marshal

India has a field marshal rank, but it is mostly ceremonial. There are no field marshals in the army organizational structure at present and it has been conferred on only two officers in the past, the late Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw and the late Field Marshal K M Cariappa.

Field marshals hold their rank for life, and are considered to be serving officers until their death. Unlike other officers, they do not draw a pension. A field marshal gets the full pay of a general equal to the Chief of the Army Staff. They wear full uniform on all official occasions.

Ranks and insignia

Current ranks

NATO code
OF-10OF-9OF-8OF-7OF-6OF-5OF-4OF-3OF-2OF-1OF(D) and student officer
General Lieutenant
Brigadier Colonel Lieutenant
Major Captain Lieutenant
Enlisted ranks
NATO code
No equivalent No insignia
Subedar-Major Subedar Naib Subedar Havildar Naik Lance Naik Sepoy

Ranks that are no longer in use

The rank of Second Lieutenant is no longer in use; all new officers are commissioned as Lieutenants.

The appointments of Regimental Quartermaster Havildar and Regimental Havildar Major are no longer used in the Indian Army and those duties are now performed by JCOs.[2][3][4]

Ranks of the Indian Army no longer in use
Officers Non-commissioned officers
Rank Second

Notable holders include 2Lt. Arun Khetarpal, 2Lt. Rama Raghoba Rane and CQMH Abdul Hamid.

Rank descriptions

  • Indian Army Ranks can be classified into three categories.
    • Commissioned Officers who are equivalent to All India Services & Group "A" Service officers.[5]
    • Junior Commissioned Officers who are equivalent to Group B Gazetted officers.[6]
    • Other Ranks comprising non-commissioned officers and soldiers.

Commissioned officers

Commissioned officers are the leaders of the army and command anywhere from Platoon, Company, Battalion, Brigade, Division, Corps & the Whole army.

Indian Army officers are continually put through different courses & assessed on merit throughout their career, for promotions and appointments. Substantive promotions up to Lieutenant Colonel or equivalent (subject to clearance of Part B and Part D exam for Major and Lieutenant Colonel) [7][8] and are based on time in service whereas those for Colonel and above are based on selection, with promotion to Colonel also based on time served. Due to steep hierarchy and few vacancies, most of the officers retire at the rank of Colonel and only a few make it to the rank of Brigadier and above.[9][10][11] Civilian equivalents are in accordance with government policies on functional allocation of duties in staff billets, otherwise the rank structure of the armed forces is different from the civilian with regard to years of service and vacancies available.

Indian Army officers undergo various courses such as Young Officers Course, Junior Command Course, Defence Services Staff College course at DSSC Wellington, Management Development Programme: Senior Defence Management Course, Higher Defence Management Course at the College of Defence Management (Secunderabad), Higher Command Courses, NDC courses at various premier institutions of Armed Forces for promotions. The same is applicable to officers other two services namely Indian Navy and Indian Air Force

Dress insignia are in Gold/Black/Silver based on regiments of the officers commissioned

Ranks Description Insignia Collar Patch[12] Notes[13][14] Retirement age
Field marshal National emblem over a crossed baton and sabre in a lotus blossom wreath. Crimson patches with Five golden stars Only two appointments have ever been made. Not applicable. Life Long
General National emblem over a five-pointed star, all over a crossed baton and sabre. Crimson patches with Four golden stars Held only by the Chief of Army Staff of the Indian Army. equivalent to Cabinet Secretary of India

Pay Level 18 Rs. 250,000

3 years as COAS or at the age of 62, whichever is earlier.
Lieutenant General National emblem over crossed baton and sabre. Crimson patches with Three golden stars By selection.

36 years of commissioned service required.

Lieutenant generals appointed as Vice Chief of Army Staff/Army Commanders/Equivalent/NFSG at Pay Level 17, Rs.225,000

HAG + Scale: Admissible to 1/3rd of total strength of Lt Generals Pay Level 16, Rs.205,400 - 224,400

HAG Scale: Pay Level 15, Rs. 182,200 - 224,100

Major General Five-pointed star over crossed baton and sabre. Crimson patches with Two golden stars By selection.

32 years of commissioned service required.

Pay Level 14, Rs. 144,200 - 218,200

Brigadier National emblem over three five-pointed stars in a triangular formation. Crimson patches with One golden star By selection.

25 years of commissioned service required.

Pay Level 13A, Rs.1,39,600 - 2,17,600

Colonel National emblem over two five-pointed stars Crimson patches with golden braids Colonel & above are Selection Grade.

15 years of commissioned service required for selection. Duration of Time Scale promotion to Colonel is 26 years of commissioned service.

Pay Level 13, Rs. 130,600 - 215,900

Lieutenant Colonel National emblem over five-pointed star. None on completion of 13 years reckonable commissioned service subject to clearance of Part D exam.

Pay Level 12A, Rs. 121,200 -212,400

Major National emblem. None on completion of 6 years reckonable commissioned service subject to clearance of Part B exam.

Pay Level 11, Rs. 69,400 - 207,200

Captain Three five-pointed stars. None On completion of 2 years reckonable commissioned service.

Pay Level 10B, Rs. 61,300 - 193,900

Lieutenant Two five-pointed stars. None On commissioning into Indian Army as an Officer in Pay Level 10

Rs. 56,100 - 177,500


Junior commissioned officers

Junior commissioned officers are promoted from non-commissioned officers and are broadly equivalent to warrant officers in Western armies.

Ranks Description Insignia Retirement Age
Infantry and other arms Cavalry and Armour
Subedar major Risaldar major Golden national emblem with stripe After 34 years service or at the age of 54, whichever is sooner.
Subedar Risaldar Two golden stars with stripe After 30 years service or at the age of 52, whichever is sooner.
Naib subedar Naib risaldar One golden star with stripe After 28 years service or at the age of 52, whichever is sooner.

Other ranks

Other ranks in the Indian Army include Non Commissioned Officers ("NCOs") and Soldiers ("sepoys" or "jawans")

Non commissioned officers

Non Commissioned Officers ("NCOs") are soldiers promoted to positions of responsibility, and are equivalent to junior non-commissioned officers (sergeants and corporals) in Western armies.

Ranks Description Insignia Retirement Age
Infantry and other arms Cavalry and armour
Havildar Daffadar Three rank chevrons After 26 years service or at the age of 49, whichever is sooner.
Naik Lance Daffadar Two rank chevrons After 24 years service or at the age of 49, whichever is sooner.
Lance Naik Acting Lance Daffadar Single rank chevron After 22 years service or at the age of 48, whichever is sooner.


Ranks Insignia Retirement Age
Infantry and other arms Cavalry and armour
Sepoy Sowar Plain shoulder badge only After 19 years service or at the age of 42, whichever is sooner.

Retired officers: form of address

On 21 July 2014, the Indian Army issued a circular for retired personnel informing them that the correct form of addressing a retired officer is "Brigadier ABC (Retd) and not Brigadier (Retd) ABC".[15] The reason for this was stated as being, "Rank never retires, it is an officer who retires."[15]

See also


  1. "New Designs of Crests and Badges in the Services" (PDF). Press Information Bureau of India - Archive.
  2. Personnel Services Directorate. "Psdte311212" (PDF). Retrieved 4 December 2015.
  3. "DSR Volume I, Chapter IV—JCOs, WOs, OR AND NON-COMBATANTS (ENROLLED)". Indian Army. 2014. Archived from the original on 9 November 2014. Retrieved 4 December 2015.
  4. Kumar, M. K. Sunil (16 May 2012). "Rules of the Raj hindering havildars' promotion". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 3 August 2015.
  5. Singh, Navdeep. "Clarification on the nature of 'Group-A' services". India Military Info. India Military Info. Retrieved 22 February 2018.
  6. India, Times of. "JCOs are Gazetted". ToI. Times of India.
  7. Times, Hindustan. "Army defers key annual promotion exam amid LoC tensions". Hindustan Times. Hindustan Times. Retrieved 22 February 2018.
  8. India, USI. "PROSPECTUS". USI. USI of India. Retrieved 22 February 2018.
  9. Government of India (4 November 2008). "MoD Letter No. 1/55/2008 D(Pay/Services)—Terms and Conditions of Service" (PDF). Indian Army. Government of India, Ministry of Defence. Retrieved 4 December 2015.
  10. Tirkey, Ajay (30 August 2008). "Ministry of Defence Resolution—Sixth Central Pay Commission" (PDF). The Gazette of India. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 4 December 2015.
  11. "NCC Spl entry Scheme" (PDF). Indian Army. Retrieved 13 September 2015.
  12. "How to Distinguish between Different Ranks of The Indian Army?".
  13. "Army Pay Rules" (PDF). MoD. GoI. MoD. Retrieved 21 February 2018.
  14. Army, Indian. "NCC SPL ENTRY NOTIFCATION" (PDF). Indian Army Offl website. Indian Army. Retrieved 22 February 2018.
  15. Sura, Ajay (3 August 2014). "Rank never retires, officer does: Army". The Times of India. TNN. Retrieved 13 September 2015.

This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.