Indian Army

Grit and experience affect the growth of an institution. Fighting four major wars, insurgency and other low intensity wars has indeed made the Indian Army an eminently and efficient battle trained, war machine.

Changing times bring changing needs. Battle training must tell also on the structuring of the army, for it is this function that extracts the most from the assets available, both men and material. A look at the command and structuring of the Indian Army shows how finely these have been tuned to meet India's threat perceptions, based on the experience of the major wars that it has fought and the present-day geo-political context.

The largest standing volunteer Army in the world has never had to scour the populace for draft or conscription. There are always more men eager to don olive green than the demand at any one time. But this does not reflect a situation where a large unemployed workforce would get into uniform to keep body and soul together. More to the point is the basic attitude of our people to the call of arms, discovered also by the British, some three centuries before. There are very many who join up for long service tenures under the colours, by inclination and choice - also familial habit and honour. If a young man or woman, sound of body and mind, and of Indian origin, is inclined to spend most of his useful working years in the kind of desolation that the country's Field areas' adjoining the borders provide, can he or she cannot be refused.

For the purpose of recruitment, the country is divided into recruiting zones. Every zone is allotted a quota for recruitment based on a percentage of its population and ethnic grouping. A legacy, slowly being diluted, is that of combat arm units or regiments recruiting from a particular zone or mixture of ethnic groups.

Once a man has joined up, it is for keeps. Many fall out at the basic training stage when they find that there is much more to it than getting into a smart uniform. The one who hear the sound of the trumpet clearly without missing a note, take their oath and for the greatness of the nation go into service - not servitude.