The Assam Rifles is the oldest paramilitary force of India. The unit can trace its lineage back to a paramilitary police force that was formed under the British in 1835 called Cachar Levy. Since then the Assam Rifles have undergone a number of changes in its name - the Assam Frontier Police (1883), the Assam Military Police (1891) and Eastern Bengal and Assam Military Police (1913), before finally becoming the Assam Rifles in 1917.

Over the course of its history, the Assam Rifles and its predecessor units have served in a number of roles, conflicts and theatres including World War I where they served in Europe and the Middle East, and World War II where they served mainly in Burma.

In the post World War II period the Assam Rifles has expanded greatly, as has its role. It is under the control of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). The officers required for Assam Rifles is provided by Indian Army. Officers from the Indian Army are selected to serve a deputation duty in the Assam Rifles for a fixed number of years.

They perform many roles including the provision of internal security under the control of the army through the conduct of counter insurgency and border security operations, provision of aid to the civil power in times of emergency, and the provision of communications, medical assistance and education in remote areas.

In times of war they can also be used as a combat force to secure rear areas if needed. Since 2002 it has been guarding the Indo-Myanmar barrier as per the government policy of 'one border-one force'.