The Indian Armed Forces (Devanāgarī: भारतीय सशस्त्र सेनाएं, Bhāratīya Saśastra Sēnāēn) are the military forces of the Republic of Indiaencompassing the Indian Army, the Indian Navy, the Indian Air Force, Indian Coast Guard and various other inter-service institutions. ThePresident of the Republic of India is the Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Armed Forces. The Indian Armed Forces is managed by Ministry of Defence (MoD) which is led by Union Cabinet Minister of Defense.

The IAF is one of the world's largest military force, with roughly 1.32 million active standing army and 2.14 million reserve forces thus giving India the third-largest active troops in the world as of 2006[1][4] after the People's Liberation Army and US Armed Forces.[5] Auxiliary services include the Indian Coast Guard, the Central Paramilitary Forces (CPF) and the Strategic Forces Command. India's official defense budget stands atUS$36.03 billion for FY2011 (or 1.83% of GDP)[2] but the actual spending on the armed forces is estimated to be much higher than that.[6]Undergoing rapid expansion and modernization,[7] the Indian Armed Forces plans to have an active military space program[8] and is currently developing a missile defense shield[9] and nuclear triad capability. The Armed Forces of India possess nuclear weapons and operate short and intermediate-range ballistic missiles as well as nuclear-capable aircraft, and naval vessels. India is the world's largest arms importer accounting for 9% of all global imports and ranks among the top thirty in arms export.[10] Currently, India imports close to 70% of its weapons requirements, with Israel, Russia and the United States as its top military suppliers.[11][12][13] The country’s defence expenditure will be around US$112 billion by 2016.[14][15][16]

The IAF served as India's armed forces in all the country's major military operations — including the Indo-Pakistani wars of 1947, Indo-Pakistani War of 1965, Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, Sino-Indian War, 1987 Sino-Indian skirmish, Kargil War and others. India is currently moving to build aIndian Rupee symbol.svg9,970.16 crore (US$2.2 billion) dedicated, highly secure and state-of-the-art optical fiber cable (OFC) network for the Army, Navy and Air Force. This will be one of the world's largest, closed user group (CUG) networks for exclusive use by the million-plus personnel of the Indian armed forces.[17] Following 1962, the IAF has had close military relations with the Russia, including development cooperation, such as on the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA), Multirole Transport Aircraft (MTA), and others as well.


The Indian Army (IA, Devanāgarī: भारतीय थलसेना, Bhāratīya Thalasēnā) is the land based branch and the largest component of the Indian Armed Forces. With about 1,100,000 soldiers in active service[2] and about 960,000 reserve troops,[2] the Indian Army is the world's secondlargest standing volunteer army.[1][3] Its primary mission is to ensure the national security and defence of the Republic of India from external aggression and threats, and maintaining peace and security within its borders. It also conducts humanitarian rescue operations during natural calamities and other disturbances. The President of India serves as the Commander-in-Chief of the Army. The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), a General, is a four star commander and commands the Army. There is never more than one serving general at any given time in the Army. Two officers have been conferred the rank of Field Marshal, a 5-star rank and the officer serves as the ceremonial chief.

The Indian Army came into being when India gained independence in 1947, and inherited most of the infrastructure of the British Indian Armythat were located in post-partition India. It is a voluntary service and although a provision for military conscription exists in the Indian constitution, it has never been imposed. Since independence, the Army has been involved in four wars with neighboring Pakistan and one with the People's Republic of China. Other major operations undertaken by the Army include Operation Vijay, Operation Meghdoot and Operation Cactus. Apart from conflicts, the Army has also been an active participant in United Nations peacekeeping missions.


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