Career in Defence Services in India


Last Updated: September 5, 2022
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“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less travelled by,

And that has made all the difference.”

-Robert Frost

The tricolour, the crisp uniforms, the power and the respect – as children, we’ve all been awed by the idea of a career in the defence forces. But, only a few go ahead and pursue it, while the rest of us live in the comfort of our ordinary lives. 

It’s a calling. A calling which only the bravest, most adventurous and selfless individuals pay heed to. If somewhere down the line you’ve felt a pull towards it, this one is for you. We have planned a two-part series, where we will guide you through all of the options you have should you choose to pursue a career in defence

Wondering if you’re cut out for a career in the military? Take Mentoria’s holistic psychometric career assessment test to see if it’s the right career for you! We help you find the perfect fit based on your unique strengths, interests and personality.

When you hear defence forces, you immediately think of The Indian Armed Forces – the military. But, who are they? What do they do? 

Ministry of defence

Types of Armed Forces in India

The Indian Armed Forces, for starters, consists of four professional uniformed services: The Indian Army, The Indian Air Force, The Indian Navy and The Indian Coast Guard. Furthermore, they also have various paramilitary organisations and inter-service institutions which are equally essential to the Forces.  Here is a little break down of what exactly these forces do and how you could fit into the equation: 

1. Indian Army


Indian Army

The attention that movies like “Border” and “Uri” garnered is immense, but that’s about it. People assume that entering the defence force is a genetic decision. Something that is passed on from one generation to the other. This has unfortunately led to a drop in the number of people applying to this profession. Worries such as spending an entire life in service and wanting to settle down for a life that’s less eventful than what comes in the Army are the main reasons for these falling numbers. However, what most people don’t know is that the Army offers both permanent as well as short service commissions.

Permanent Commission (PC) is granted through the Indian Military Academy (IMA), Dehradun and Short Service Commission (SSC) is granted through Officers Training Academy (OTA), Chennai. When you opt for ‘PC’, you are basically looking at a permanent career in the Army – a career until you retire. SSC, on the other hand, is a more feasible option for those who aspire to serve for a few years. It gives you the option of joining the Army and serving it as a commissioned officer for five years. Once your tenure is over, you are allowed to opt for PC. Alternatively, you can also ask for a five years extension and can choose to resign from your post any time during this period.

2. Indian Air Force

Indian Air force

Broadly, the Air Force has three branches with further sub-streams namely the Flying branch, Technical branch and Ground duty branch.

As an officer in the Indian Air Force, you will strategise, lead and manage one of the core defence institutions in India. If flying has always been your passion, why channel your skills solely in taking home a huge paycheque every month? Couple it with some patriotism and you can scale avalanches by flying for your homeland. 

Since childhood, something that has fascinated us immensely is watching the Republic Day parades and Aero displays. The Indian Air Force joins hands with other defence organisations to organise the Aero India show. It is the largest air show in Asia. In recent years, Aero India has emerged as one of the world’s most important and largest military aviation exhibitions. With the Make in India campaign, there is an aim to produce 70% of defence equipment locally, creating a requirement of one million skilled workers in the aerospace industry. This will lead to a significant increase in the job opportunities available in the defence space.

Do you know your calling but need help figuring out the right route to get there? Speak to Mentoria’s expert career counsellors for personalized step-by-step guidance for your future career path. 

3. Indian Navy


Indian Navy

The rat race ensures that we’re always struggling – to be in the top 10 B-schools, to be a part of the merit list, to be one of the top 10 performers for the month, to work for one of the top 10 consultancy firms, the list goes on and on. Our navy men are thus driven with the same vigour and ensure that the Indian navy is consistently amongst the top ten naval forces of the world by learning new skills, acquiring unrivalled experience in the process of applying those skills, and making the most of Navy advancement.

Did you know that the Navy also has a special operations unit called Marcos or ‘Marine Commandos’ or ‘Dadiwala Fauj’ because of their bearded disguise in civil areas? They played a huge role during the rescue mission of the hostages during the 26/11 attacks of Mumbai. In the Indian Navy, you will find there’s much more to be gained than a regular salary. The experience that you gain in the Navy can help you shape your future through outstanding financial benefits, unparalleled career potential, and the lifestyle of freedom and personal growth that you’ve been waiting for.

4. Indian Coast Guard


Indian Coast Guard

They protect India’s maritime interests and enforce maritime law, with jurisdiction over the territorial waters of India, including its adjoining zone and exclusive economic zone. Establishment of this wing was proposed by the India Navy to protect the economic, socio-political interests of the nation, thereby providing non-military maritime services to the nation. From saving human lives at sea and assisting fishermen in peril, to apprehending poachers and preserving marine biodiversity, job satisfaction comes easy to a “Coast Guardsman”.

5. Paramilitary Forces


Paramilitary Forces

While there are a number of opportunities in the defence forces, we mustn’t forget the various paramilitary organisations and the grit and determination with which they defend our country. They are majorly involved in maintaining law and order, providing security to key strategic locations, containing insurgency etc. The term “paramilitary forces” in India has not been defined in any acts or by authorities officially, however they are currently used to refer to following forces

  • The Assam Rifles (AR) – 46 battalions protecting the Indo-Myanmar border
  • The Special Frontier Force (SFF) 10,000 personnel (led by Indian Army officers reporting to Indian Intelligence)

The following five forces which come under Indian Home Ministry were earlier considered paramilitary forces, but from March 2011 have been reclassified as Central Armed Police Forces to avoid confusion

  • Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) – 313,678 personnel,
  • Border Security Force (BSF) – 257,363 personnel,
  • Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) – 89,432 personnel,
  • Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) – 144,418 personnel,
  • Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) – 76,337 personnel.

Other forces were popularly known as Paramilitary forces but are better known as Special Forces of India:

  • National Security Guard
  • Special Protection Group

With this, we’ve laid out the various opportunities available in the defence industry. If you think this is something you want to do, stay tuned for the second part of our series. There we’ll tell you more about how you can associate with the defence forces to live a life of bravery, thrill and service. But, before you get all the information you need, it’s best to know if this is, in fact, the right calling for you. We can help with that too. Our psychometric assessment identifies your core interest areas, your abilities, and personality to help find the ideal career path for you.

Until Next time. Keep the josh high!

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