Who's an Army Officer?
The tricolour, the crisp uniforms, the power and the respect – as children, we’ve all been awed soldiers and want to be one. But, only a few go ahead and pursue it.
It’s a calling. A calling only the bravest, most adventurous and selfless individuals pay heed to. If somewhere down the line you’ve felt a pull towards it, felt the urge to serve your nation and protect its people, then this is the path for you!
As an army officer, you will guard our country against internal and external threats. You will work on rescue missions and help your country’s citizens in times of disaster and calamities.
Make no mistake, this is no easy feat. You will undergo rigorous training and live a life led by discipline and order, starting from the young age of 18 right to the end of your career. However, the path is just as rewarding as it is dangerous. Bringing you prestige, and honour, it is one of the most respectable jobs. Want to learn more about army officer? Read on!
What will you do?
Safeguarding the nation
One of the primary responsibilities of an Indian Army Officer is to safeguard the nation. This means you will have to be ready to serve the country and protect and defend it from external and internal threats.
Example: If there is an emergency in the country or if the country is at war with any nation, you should be able to effectively protect the country and its citizens.
You will also conduct offensive and defensive operations during your service. These operations can consist of attacks on enemy lines, protecting the territory, conducting rescue operations, etc.
Example: In the case of a natural disaster, the army is called upon to help rescue citizens and minimise loss of human life. One example of this is the rescue operation conducted in Uttarakhand in 2013 during the floods.
As you complete more years of service and gain experience, you will have to train the younger officers who enrol with the army.
Example: You will train young officers on war rescue techniques and how to use various weapons and equipment.
Guarding specific areas
You will have to guard cantonments, and areas of importance like the Parliament, the Supreme Court of India, and also stand guard in areas of unrest.
Example: During the Hindu-Muslim riots, the military was deployed to specifc Hindu/Muslim-dominated areas to maintain curfew and protect the civilians.
As an officer, you will continually undergo training and learn to use new equipment and stay in top physical condition.
Example: You may have to learn how to fly an aircraft, climb rocky mountains or survive in extreme conditions as you serve in the army.
Take the Mentoria career assessment, to find out how well-suited you are as an Army Officer.
Where will you work?
Most army officers are stationed on the border or are on call for duty. You protect your teritory and ensure no intruders sneak into the country. Even if your country is not under threat, if they are a part of the UN, you may be sent in to serve with the peace corps in countries that are facing crisis.
You could also be working at military camps and headquartes where you will either stand guard or serve as a trainer, medic, etc., to the other army officers and personnel.
Within the Borders
Army personnel also work within the border in areas of unrest or those under military protection or law. For instance, the army stationed in Jammu and Kashmir. You could also be working as guard at important sites like the Parliament and other areas of national importance.
How do you get there?
What skills would you need?
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How do you make it to the top ranks?
Pursuing your career locally VS abroad
The most common route (for men) to becoming an Army Officer is through the National Defence Academy (NDA) in Pune. The Officers’ Training Academy in Chennai and the Indian Military Academy in Dehradun are good options too. The application fee is INR 100 for the general category aspirants, while some are exempt from any kind of payment. You need to be between 16 and 19 years of age and meet the physical requirements before enrolment. Once you join the NDA, you can continue studying in college and will be sent to the Indian Military Academy after graduating for a one-year training programme.
The second most common route (applicable to all genders) is through the Combined Defence Services Exam. Candidates must be between 19 and 24 years of age and must have a graduation degree from a recognised institute. Engineering graduates can join the military directly after qualifying in the Service Selection Board Interview. University entry schemes also give engineering graduates the opportunity to apply for the technical branches of the Army.
In order to pursue a career in the Indian Army, you must hold Indian citizenship and live here. However, the Indian Army is known to have sent its officers abroad for training and other purposes. Officers spend a year in third-world nations such as Uganda and Sudan as the UN’s peacekeeping forces. At the senior level, they are sent to countries like the US and Malaysia for promotional exams and better exposure. These training periods are sponsored by the candidate’s academy in India and the cost for living is also covered. However, these opportunities are few and officers are mainly trained within the Indian borders.
How much would you get paid?
What are your career options?
The infantry includes soldiers who fight on foot. They capture enemy territories while defending their own from the enemies. As part of the infantry, you would typically carry equipment and weapons like rifles, machine guns, grenades, missiles, mines, anti-tank weapons and more.
Officers in the artillery work in both war zones as well as civilian areas. Unlike soldiers in the infantry, you would use long-range field guns, multi-barrel rocket launchers and missiles for your operations. In civilian areas, you would be assigned to protect specific areas.
The battalions who operate tanks and other armoured vehicles for the Army make up the armoured corps. You would work along with the infantry. Help them capture enemy territories and defend your own and other captured territories by engaging enemy tanks in battle.
Army Service Corps
War or no war, the army personnel need to be moved from place to place and the army service corps are responsible for this transportation. As an officer of the army service corps, you would transport troops as well as rations, and arms and ammunition to different sites. You would also manage the storage of other important equipment.
Intelligence corps deal with strategy. Here, you would be involved in the collection, analysis and communication of any kind of intelligence received regarding the enemy and their movement or strategy. You would specialise in encoding and decoding messages and looking for clues in pictures captured by satellites.
This is a special branch of the Army. Ordinance corps procure equipment for the troops. You would work closely with the army service corps to maintain and store arms and ammunition used by the troops for war.
Similar to the runners and messengers of the past, these officers are responsible for quick communication between the different divisions of the Army. You would relay messages from headquarters to the troops on the frontline during the time of war.
The army has its own engineers, be it civil, mechanical or electrical. As an engineer, you will be responsible for the building of roads and bridges, laying minefields, defusing explosives, destroying enemy bases, and the building and maintenance of equipment used by the infantry.
The Army also has its own special medicine personnel – doctors, nurses, dentists, and even veterinary professionals. Here, you would provide care for the troops and their families and will be required on ground for emergency services at the time of war. To become a medic, you must complete Class 12 and appear for the Armed Forces Medical College (AFMC), Pune exam. Once you qualify, you can pursue an MBBS course from AFMC, post which you will be commissioned into the Indian Army.
The Army needs law graduates who provide legal counsel and services to the officers. You would handle cases and also take disciplinary action, if needed, against the officers in the Army. You will need a degree in Law in order to apply for this post. Once you graduate, apply for the Short Service Commission with the Judge Advocate General Department. You will have to pass a five-day interview process to get selected.
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