The modern battlefield is complex and vast. The terrain and the geographical reach within which the Indian Army is required to operate, calls for a complex system. The army is made up of bodies of troops of varying strength (numbers). These troops are skilled and equipped for many different types of tasks. Some of these troops are from fighting arms, while others are from supporting arms and services. Thus, when a force is assembled, it comprises of troops of various types.

The structure and organization of the army is to be understood in terms of the arms and services. Force sizes from the lowest upwards are generally called the section (10 men), platoon (36 men), company, battalion, brigade, division, corps and commands.

Sometimes, these are also known by some other names, which came from traditional origins, such as a battery or squadron (equal to a company), a regiment (equal to a battalion), troop (equal to a platoon) and detachment (equal to a section). Regiments having Guns include troop and battery, and those with tanks have troop and squadrons.

Command and Control of the Indian Army

The President of India is the Supreme Commander of the Indian Armed Forces. The elected political leadership of the nation. The Government of India, controls the armed forces. Executive control is exercised through the Union Cabinet, the Defence Minister, the Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC) and the Chiefs of Army, Naval and Air Staff of their respective Services. The Ministry of Defence handles matters related to personnel, financial and resource management.

Formations: Indian army units are grouped into formations. Each formation has a size, role and equipment profile. All formations have a hierarchical command and control set up. The Army Headquarters controls the entire structure.

Command: Indian Army has six operational Commands and one training command, each commanded by a General Officer Commanding-in Chief with the rank of Lieutenant General. The Commands of Indian Army are:

  1. Northern Command
  2. Eastern Command
  3. Central Command
  4. Western Command
  5. South West Command
  6. Southern Command
  7. Army Training Command

Corps: A Corps is an army field formation responsible for a particular area under a Command. A Command generally consists of two or more Corps.

Division: Division comes under a Corps. It generally consists of three or more brigades of combat troops and support elements. Divisions can be Infantry divisions, armoured divisions, artillery divisions, etc.

Brigade: A Brigade generally consists of three or more battalions comprising of around 3000-5000 combat troops with supporting elements. Army also has independent brigades, which directly operate under the Corps Commander.

Battalion: A battalion consists of approximately 900 combat soldiers. It is the main fighting unit.

Company: A company consists of approximately 100 - 150 soldiers.

Platoon: A platoon consists of 36 soldiers. A platoon is further divided into three sections.

Section: A section is the smallest military formation of the Army. The strength of a section is ten soldiers.

Rank Structure

The rank structure of Commissioned officers is:

FIELD MARSHAL → GENERAL → LIEUTENANT GENERAL → MAJOR GENERAL → BRIGADIER → COLONEL → LIEUTENANT COLONEL → MAJOR → CAPTAIN → LIEUTENANT 

The rank structure of JCOs/NCOs is:

SUBEDAR MAJOR → SUBEDAR → NAIB SUBEDAR → HAVILDAR MAJOR → HAVILDAR → NAIK → LANCE NAIK → JAWAN

Composition of the Indian Army

The army is further organized into parts, Arms and Services. Arms cover troops which carryout actual operations and the remaining components of the army are Services. Their primary duty is to provide logistics and administration for the army.

A. Fighting Arms

  • Armoured Corps for offensive operations using tanks
  • Infantry for ground holding and offensive operations
  • Mechanised Infantry for speedy mobilization and combining the potential of the armoured vehicle and infantry ground holding ability

B. Supporting Arms

  • Artillery for providing long range fire support using guns, mortars, rockets and missiles
  • Engineers for providing combat support tasks of making defences, demolitions, bridges, roads, water supply, etc
  • Army Air Defence for defence against threats from the air
  • Army Aviation for providing air observation and utility and communication support using helicopters
  • Signals for providing communications support
  • The Intelligence Corps

C. Services

  • Army Service Corps provides logistics support by provisioning rations and other supplies including mechanical and animal transport management
  • Army Medical Corps for medical support in the forward areas and up to the mainland
  • Army Dental Corps for medical support
  • Army Ordnance Corps for provisioning of ordnance stores, weapons and ammunition
  • Corps of Electronics and Mechanical Engineers for repair support of all equipments
  • Remount and Veterinary Corps for medical support for animals (horses, mules and dogs)
  • Army Postal Services for providing postal cover
  • Army Education Corps for training and education of troops
  • Army Physical Education Corps for training in physical fitness
  • Corps of Military Police for discipline and traffic management
  • Military Farms Service for providing fresh milk and forage
  • The Pioneer Corps for providing labour
  • Defence Security Corps for security of static establishments and rear area security
  • Judge Advocate General's Branch for legal issues
  • Military Nursing Service for nursing care in military hospitals