CareerChoice:Armed Forces

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Contents

Introduction

A career in the Indian armed forces is different from all other career options. It is not simply a job. Most people who join the Indian armed forces do it because of a certain notion of patriotism and believe in the idea of the Nation. Whether a soldier or a technical assistant or even a clerk or a tradesman or cartographer in the Indian armed forces, most recruits join the armed forces out of this sense of Patriotism.

The armed forces consist of the Indian Army, the Indian Air Force and the Indian Navy. All three forces have their own methods of entry and have different structures.

The Indian Army is responsible for defending the territorial integrity of the country against all external aggression and internal disturbances. During war army is responsible to protect the nation against external aggression, whereas, during peace time also it provides aid to the civil authorities during natural calamities, and helps in maintenance of law and order when required.

The Indian Air Force is responsible for the air defence of the country, ensuring both offensive and defensive roles. It is also responsible for the air defence of vital installations of strategic importance to country. The Indian Navy is responsible for defending the extensive coastline of the country in times of war and peace. The navy also responsible to safeguard our maritime interests including defence of off-shore oil and gas installations, coastal shipping and fisheries rights, and to protect the vital trade links.

Nature of Work

The Indian Army is mainly divided into Combat Arms and Services:

  • The Combat Arms are the infantry, the artillery, and the armoured corps, The Corps of Engineers and Corps of Signals.
  • Services includes Army Service Corps, Army Ordnance Corps, Army Postal services, Army Medical Corps, Army Education Corps, Intelligence Corps.

Combat arms are responsible for actual combat, whereas, services are responsible to ensure continuous flow of required ordnance and supplies, including food for men and animal, Fuel for vehicles and tanks and ammunition.

The Indian Air Force, one can be an officer in the Flying Branch, Technical Branch and Ground Duty (or Administrative) branches. Post graduates (that is those with a master's degree) who enter the Air Force are not eligible to be in the flying branch but can work in the technical branch and the ground duty branch.

  • The Flying branch includes Fighter Pilots who fly combat or fighter planes carrying ammunition and missiles; Transport Pilots who fly planes which carry men and materials and Helicopter Pilots who provide air support to a moving army, or are used for para-dropping men and supplies.
  • The Technical Branch which includes engineering sections and is responsible for the engineering equipment and weapons systems of the air force.
  • The Administrative (or Ground Duty) Branch includes all the departments that provide Logistical, Meteorological, Educational and Administrative support to the flying and technical branches.

The Indian Navy, one can join to be a Sailor or an Artificer Apprentice (AA) or an Officer working as an Executive, Logistics and Education officer or an Engineering Officer or an Electrical officer or a Medical and Dental officer.

  • The Executive Branch manages the Navy's Warships and Submarines as instruments of tactical warfare.
  • The Engineering Branch is responsible for the maintenance and service of engineering equipment and the propulsion systems on board including electrical and electronic systems, weapon systems, missiles, radar, and radio communication systems.
  • The Education Branch ensures that the officers and men are updated in their technical knowledge and tactical skills.
Careers in the Indian Army, especially those of officer rank are seen as prestigious careers. Armed forces are seen as the defenders of the nation. If one is ideologically suited to such a career and considers oneself patriotic then one may think about careers in the armed forces. A certain notion of heroism is also attached to the army. If that appeals to you and if - to use the adline of the SSC - You have it in you, then you may contemplate joining the Indian Army. Careers in the Indian Armed Forces, especially those of officer rank are seen as prestigious careers. Armed forces are seen as the defenders of the nation. If one is ideologically suited to such a career and considers oneself patriotic then one may think about careers in The Armed Forces. A certain notion of heroism is also attached to the defence forces. If that appeals to you and if - to use the adline of the SSC - You have it in you, then you may contemplate joining the Indian Armed Forces.

Personality

A career as a soldier or an officer requires a special type of personality. The screening tests that the Indian army conducts are primarily designed to check a candidate's personality. More emphasis is laid on the candidate's personality than on his (there is only a Short Service Commission (SSC) for women called the Women's Special Entry Scheme (Officers), all the other posts in the Indian armed forces can only be filled by men) physical abilities. The Services Selection Board (SSB) tries to find out whether a candidate has it in him to handle mental and physical pressure. Since life as a soldier or officer involves combat and the harsh realities of it, there are only a few who can handle such mental and physical pressure. The tests that the Services Selection Board conducts are not physically very gruelling but are meant to assess the candidate's mental character more than anything else. A successful candidate needs to withstand physical and mental pressure. Even the courses in the National Defence Academy (NDA) or the Indian Military Academy (IMA) test a candidate's ability to handle pressure to an extreme. Punishments (which are the only form of ragging allowed in these institutes) are justified on the basis that they are part of the training - they are meant to build a prospective soldier or officer's ability to withstand and not succumb under physical and mental pressure.

Eligibility

One either joins the Indian army to qualify for the rank of an officer or one opts for other ranks.

For officers, there is a Permanent Commission - A Permanent Commission means a career in the Army till one retires. One has to join the National Defence Academy (NDA) in Pune or the Indian Military Academy (IMA) in Dehradun for a permanent commission - and then there is the Short Service Commission (SSC).

One can enter the NDA in either January or July and one has to reply to advertisements brought out in leading newspapers in March/April for admissions in January of the following year or in October/November for admissions in July of the following year. One has to be between 16 and a half to 19 years of age at the time of joining (that is in either January or July) to be eligible. One also has to have completed school education up to class 12 by the time of joining to be eligible. One has to then appear for the NDA exam followed by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) and Services Selection Board (SSB) interview and pass through them successfully in order to join the NDA.

There are four ways in which one can join the IMA.

  1. There is the Direct Entry scheme where one has to reply to advertisements in March/April and October/November for admissions in January and July respectively. One has to be between 19 and 24 years old in either January or July (depending on which term or semester one is applying for). One has to have completed a recognised degree (such as at least a Bachelor's degree) by the time of admission (that is January or July). One has to then appear for the Combined Defence Exam (CDSE) and then appear for the UPSC and SSB interview.
  2. Engineering graduates can apply through a special scheme. One has to apply to Apply to:Additional Directorate General of Recruiting (TGC),
    Army Headquarters,
    West Block III,
    RK Puram,
    New Delhi - 110066In response to advertisements in March/April or October/November for admissions in January and July respectively. One has to be between 20 and 27 years old and one also needs to have completed an engineering degree by January or July. One has to then only appear for a SSB interview. One does not need to sit for any separate written test.
  3. There is a university entrance scheme for engineering students as well. One has to reply to advertisements in July for admissions the following July. This scheme is applicable for final year and pre-final year engineering students. One needs to be between 19 and 25 years of age at the time of admission if one is in one's final year or between 18 and 24 years of age if one is in one's pre-final year. One has to appear for a campus interview and an SSB interview for this mode of entry. One does not need to sit for a written test.
  4. One can also apply while in school but instead of joining the NDA, one can join the IMA. This is only applicable for those students who have Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics in class 12 and needs at least a 70% aggregate to apply. One has to respond to advertisements in May and November for admissions in January and July respectively and one needs to be between 16 and a half to 19 and a half years of age in January or July. One has to apply directly to the Recruitment Directorate.

The Short Services Commission (SSC) allows candidates to serve for a period of five years. Once the tenure is over, one can opt for a Permanent Commission. Alternatively, one can also choose for a 5 year extension and can choose to resign from one's post any time during this period.

There are four modes of entry to the SSC.

  1. There is the Direct Entry scheme where one has to reply to advertisements in March/April and October/November for admissions in October/November and May respectively. One has to be between 19 and 24 years old in either October/November or May. One has to have completed a recognised degree (such as at least a Bachelor's degree) by the time of admission (that is October/November or May). One has to then appear for the Combined Defence Exam (CDSE) and then appear for the UPSC and SSB interview.
  2. One can apply for technical posts by replying to advertisements in March/April and October/November for admissions in October/November and May respectively. One has to be between 20 and 27 years old and needs to have completed an engineering degree. One has to appear for an SSB interview after that.
  3. In the National Cadet Corps (NCC) Special Entrance Scheme for entry to the SSC, one needs to be a graduate with 50% aggregate marks, two years' service in NCC Senior Division Army with minimum 'B' Grade in 'C' Certificate Exam. One has to respond to advertisements in October/November for admissions in May of the following year. One needs to be between 19 and 25 years old in May. One only has to appear for an SSB interview in this method of entry.
  4. The only section for women in the Indian Army is that of officers in the SSC. Women have to apply in response to advertisements in June and December for admissions in September and March. One needs to be between 19 and 27 years old and needs to have at least a graduate degree. One only has to appear for the SSB interview.

One can also apply for other ranks such as:

  • Soldier General Duty
  • Soldier Technical
  • Soldier Clerk/ Technical Store Keeper
  • Soldier Nursing Assistant
  • Soldier Tradesman
  • Havildar
  • Religious Teacher
  • Caterer
  • Surveyor Automated Cartographer.
For details, please visit http://joinindianarmy.nic.in/otherranks.htm, http://joinindianarmy.nic.in/procedure.htm and http://joinindianarmy.nic.in/locations.htm

Career Prospects

The Army is one place where professional growth takes place at every step. Nowhere else will you get such phenomenal opportunities to constantly upgrade your skills.

NDA cadets are awarded Bachelor's degrees in Arts, Science or Computer Science on completion of training. If you join the technical stream, you will acquire Graduate and Post-Graduate degrees in Engineering. At some of the finest institutes of technology.

Selection for the prestigious Defence Services Staff College course results in the award of an M Sc. in Defence and Strategic Studies. What's more, you can also get study leave for two years to further upgrade your professional skills.

These growth opportunities are virtually unlimited. You could even get into Research and Development, if you have the aptitude. From Engineering to Medicine, From administration to Strategy, From Armament Technology to Management, You name it, We have it.

Remunerations

The remuneration and other benefits available to officers can be seen at Army Pay and Allowances and Benefits. As can be seen, the remuneration is considerable both in terms of cash salaries as well as in terms of added benefits.

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