Country Listing

India Table of Contents


Conditions of Service

Pay and allowances for armed forces personnel compare favorably with civilian employment. Monthly salaries vary according to the service, although personnel usually earn similar pay for equivalent duties. Additionally, there is an extensive and complex system of special allowances that depend on conditions and kind of service. Free food for personnel in both field and garrison areas was extended after 1983 to all personnel up to the rank of colonel. All personnel are entitled to annual leaves of varying lengths, and, other than for a few exceptions, the services bear transportation costs for personnel and their families. Commissioned officers and other designated ranks contribute to the Armed Forces Provident Fund, a form of life insurance.

Personnel retiring after twenty years of service as an officer or fifteen years of enlisted service receive pensions based on the rank held at retirement. Retirees without the minimum service requirement receive special one-time bonuses. Additional remuneration accrues to those disabled in the line of service or--in the event of the death of active-duty personnel--to their surviving dependents.

The Soldiers', Sailors', and Airmen's Board, chaired by the minister of defence, is one of the most important organizations dealing with the welfare of active-duty personnel and their dependents. The board works closely with the Directorate of Resettlement in the Ministry of Defence to assist former service personnel and their dependents to find employment on their return to civilian life. The directorate also operates cooperative industrial and agricultural estates and training programs to prepare former service personnel for employment in new fields. Both central and state-level governments reserve a percentage of vacancies in the public sector for former military personnel.

Uniforms, Ranks, and Insignia

Indian military uniforms resemble those in the corresponding British services: olive drab for the army, dark blue for the navy, and sky blue for the air force. More uniform variations exist in the army than in the other services, with certain army regiments preserving traditional accoutrements. Sikhs may wear turbans instead of standard military headgear, for example (see Sikhism, ch. 3).

The rank structure in the three services, especially in the commissioned officer ranks, for the most part follows conventional British practice. The army, however, has the category of junior commissioned officer, for which there is no precise equivalent in the United States or British services. Junior commissioned officers are promoted on a point system from within the enlisted ranks of their regiments, filling most of the junior command slots, such as platoon leaders. The senior junior commissioned officer usually acts as the principal assistant to the commanding officer.

Rank insignia closely follow the British system. Combinations of stars, Lion of Sarnath (the national emblem) badges, crossed sabers, and crossed batons in a wreath show respective army ranks from junior commissioned officer up through field marshal. The latter rank has been granted to only two distinguished Indian officers: K.M. Cariappa, a highly decorated veteran of the 1947-48 war with Pakistan, and S.H.F.J. "Sam" Manekshaw, the strategist of the 1971 war with Pakistan. Arm chevrons worn with the point down indicate enlisted ranks. Naval insignia follow the convention of sleeve stripes for officers and fouled anchor badges for enlisted personnel. The air force uses broad and narrow sleeve stripe combinations for officer ranks and combinations of chevrons, Lion of Sarnath badges, and wing symbols for enlisted ranks (see fig. 18; fig. 19).

Data as of September 1995