When it comes to joining the Indian Army and serving your nation, you can go about it in more than a few ways. The Indian Army provides you the path to engage in a disciplined, trained, fulfilling, and highly productive life, working towards not only to safeguard the interest of your country but also establish a well-chalked-out career for yourself.
In a historical alteration in the recent past, 1992 to be precise, a momentous decision was made to induct women in the Officer grade of the Indian Army. Though their numbers are orders of magnitude lower than army men in the officer cadre, it still shows an incredible move to include women in the honourable job of providing safety to India.
To understand the process of joining the Indian Army, let us first discuss the two main types of commissions that employ our fine men and women – the Permanent Commission and the Short Service Commission.
- Permanent Commission (PC): You serve in the armed forces until the day you retire. That is, you get up until 60 years to live out your desire to serve the nation in a defence capacity. Early retirement is also on the plate. Under this commission, you can attempt to enter the Officer Grade in the Indian Army either after your high-school graduation or after your undergraduate/engineering graduation. Unfortunately, permanent commissions are only available to men and training is mainly conducted upon joining the National Defence Academy (NDA) in Pune, the Indian Military Academy (IMA) in Dehradun, or the Officers Training Academy (OTA) in Gaya.
- Short Service Commission (SSC): As the name suggests, it is a shorter service in defence of the country. It starts with an initial contract of 10 years, followed by a possible extension of 4 years upon certain medical checks.
We will be discussing those Officer Entry avenues, as available under each type of commission. Each entry type is marked as either PC or SSC for clarity. The details have been obtained from the official JoinIndianArmy.nic.in website.
Getting into the army is not going to be easy, given the intense competition. So, check out this free online career test to find out what category of careers would be best suited for your personality. On that last point, try out this personality test too to know who you really are.
Officer Entry to the Indian Army
Listed below are the various Permanent and Short Service Commission Officer Entry categories.
There are two forms of entry into the Intermediate class, both after the completion of 10+2 high school. A quick comparison is tabulated for brevity.
|National Defence Academy Entry for Men – PC||10+2 Technical Entry Scheme (TES) for Men – PC|
|Students who are in Class XII or graduated from XII, can appear for the NDA Exam conducted by UPSC||Students who have graduated XII standard with a minimum of 70% in Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics|
|There are 208 Army vacancies twice a year. 320 inclusive of Air Force and Navy||There are 90 vacancies twice a year|
|Exams are conducted by UPSC and notified in June and December. You can apply online on the UPSC website. Upon clearing the exam candidates are called for a 5-day Services Selection Board (SSB) interview and medical test||No written exam. Based on your 12th cut-off, you will be directly recommended for an SSB interview. Dates for application are released in May and October in leading newspapers and employment resources. You can apply online on the official website.|
|The age limit is 16.5 to 19.5 years and appearing candidates are required to be unmarried||The age limit is 16.5 to 19.5 years and appearing candidates are required to be unmarried|
|Selected candidates get 3 years training at NDA with a BSc or BA degree and 1 year pre-commission training at IMA||Training is for a total of 5 years with 1 year at OTA Gaya and 4 years of technical training. 3 years pre-commission and 1year post-commission training. Candidates are awarded an Engineering degree upon successful completion|
|Upon successful completion of IMA military training and medical fitness tests, as Gentlemen Cadets, they are granted Permanent Commission as Lieutenant||Permanent Commission is granted in the rank of Lieutanant.|
|Stipend of Rs. 21,000 per month||Stipend of Rs. 21,000 per month|
|Usually serve the nation in active fighting service||Usually serve the nation as technical arm of the fighting servicemen|
Graduate UPSC Entry
|Indian Military Academy Direct (IMA) for Men– PC||OTA Chennai SSC (Non-Technical for Men & Women) – SSC|
|Final year Graduates or recent Graduate degree holders can appear for the Combined Defence Service (CDSE) Examination conducted by UPSC||Graduates from recognized universities appear for the CDSE conducted by UPSC|
|Advertised on leading newspapers in July and November. You can apply on the UPSC website||Advertised on leading newspapers in July and November. You can apply on the UPSC website|
|200 vacancies twice a year||175 vacancies twice a year for Men.
12 vacancies twice a year for Women
|Age limit of 19 to 24 years, unmarried status, and Graduation required||Age limit of 19 to 25 years, unmarried status, and Graduation required|
|Successful candidates are called for SSB interview||Successful candidates are called for SSB interview|
|Training, as Gentlemen Cadets, occurs at IMA for 1.5 years. Upon completion, and clearing medical fitness, they are granted Permanent Commission as Lieutenants||Training occurs at OTA Chennai for 49 weeks. A Short Service Commission is granted upon successful completion.
Eligibility for substantive promotion
Graduate Non UPSC Entry
Yet another way to gain entry into the Army world is through NCC or JAG, for both men and women. Both are SSC commissions.
- SSC (NCC) for Men and Women: With 50 vacancies, twice a year (four for women), you can look for ads for SSC NCC entry on leading newspapers and employment news in June and December. As long as you fall within 19 to 25 years of age, unmarried, are a graduate with at least 50% marks, and have 2 years of NCC Senior Division Army service with minimum B grade in C Certificate Exam, you can apply. Selection is contingent on clearing the SSB interview. Training is at OTA Chennai for 49 weeks.
- SSC JAG for Men and Women: With 10 vacancies, twice a year (four for women), you can look for ads for SSC JAG entry on leading newspapers and employment news in July/August and January/February. You need to be within 21 to 27 years of age, unmarried, and a Law Graduate with a Bar registration eligibility in India, or any State. You can apply online on the Join Indian Army website. Selection is contingent on clearing the SSB interview. Training occurs at OTA Chennai for 49 weeks.
Graduate Technical Entry
|University Entry Scheme (UES) for Men – PC||Technical Graduate Course (TGC) for Men – PC||Army Education Corps (AEC) for Men – PC|
|For students who want to apply in their pre-final year of Engineering||For students who are in the notified streams of BE/BTech||For candidates with a Post Graduate MA/MSc in notified streams.|
|Online application on the JoinIndianArmy website. Major dailies and employment news advertise vacancies in June/July||Online application on the JoinIndianArmy website. Major dailies and employment news advertise vacancies in March/April and September/October||Apply online as in UES and TGC. Leading dailies and employment news release ads in March/April and September/October|
|There are 60 vacancies and no written exam. Shortlisted candidates are called for SSB||Also 60 vacancies, but twice a year and no written exam. Only SSB interview determines final selection||20 vacancies with no written exam and only SSB interviews|
|Age window is 18 to 24 years. Only notified (as per ads) Engineering streams are allowed to apply and candidates need to be unmarried||You need to be between 20 and 27 years and unmarried.||23 to 27 years of age limit and unmarried status are required. Also, MA/MSc results need to be 1st or 2nd division.|
|Selected candidates are granted SSC on probation as Lieutenant until successful training completion at IMA, for 1 year. Upon successful completion, Permanent Commission is granted with 1 year jump on seniority.||Same as in UES, you will be on SSC probation and receive a Lieutenant rank and stipend. Training is at IMA for 1 year. Also, a Permanent Commission with 1 year automatic seniority for promotions and pay increments||Again, same as in UES and TGC, candidates will be on SSC probation as a Lieutenant. Training is at IMA for 1 year. Candidates are liable for service as per Army Headquarters|
Graduate Entry also includes SSC Technical for both men (100 vacancies twice a year) and women (20 vacancies twice a year). As the name suggests, they are Short Service Commissions with a required Engineering degree in a notified stream. Candidates need to be within 20 to 27 years. Notifications arrive in newspapers in June/July and December/January and you can apply online as usual. The training occurs at OTA Chennai for 49 weeks.
Other Entry Schemes for existing Army personnel
The Army also has provision for existing servicemen to apply for Officer grades. They are through one of the following.
- Army Cadet College Wing (ACC) trains army men within the age group 20 to 27 years and with at least 2 years of service. These servicemen need to be 12th pass with an additional qualification of the ACC written test and SSB. They are trained for 3 years at ACC and 1 year at IMA which leads to a degree.
- Permanent Commission Special List (PC SL) trains army men below 40 years (45 for Engineers and IOB with a minimum of 10 years of service) at AEC Center and College for 8 weeks, followed by 4 weeks at IMA.
- Special Commissioned Officers (SCO) trains servicemen between 28 to 35 years with 10th class plus diploma, and above. The training occurs at AEC Center and College for 8 weeks and concludes with 1 year at OTA Gaya.
Clearly, there are a lot of paths to bringing glory to the nation, though admittedly, service opportunities are more for men, than women. Keep your eyes out for advertisements calling in for applications and send in your name to get a chance at valiantly serving our nation at the forefront.
Here’s from all of us citizens, good luck and thank you!
For some relevant reading.