Indian Army Ranks and Insignia: Commissioned Officers, JCOs, and NCOs

The Indian Army takes pride in its motto, “Sewa Paramo Dharma,” meaning “Service before Self.” This motto reflects the primary objective of the Indian Army, which is to ensure the safety, honor, and welfare of the country. Today, the Indian Army is widely recognized as one of the most powerful military forces in the world, ranking fourth in the Global Firepower Index, following the US, Russia, and China. The Indian Army ranks and insignia are classified into three categories: Commissioned Officers, Junior Commissioned Officers, and Other Ranks. These categories, which correspond to those of the British and Commonwealth Nations, reflect the hierarchy and chain of command within the organization.

Commissioned Officers: Ranks and Insignia in the Indian Army

Commissioned officers are the backbone of any army, responsible for leading and commanding their troops. In the Indian Army, commissioned officers are the equivalent of Group “A” Service Officers and All India Services. They hold a prestigious position and have the responsibility of safeguarding the nation’s security and sovereignty. There are ten ranks of commissioned officers in the Indian Army, ranging from Field Marshal to Lieutenant. The Field Marshal is the highest rank in the Indian Army and is only awarded in times of war. The General of the Indian Army, who is the Chief of the Army Staff, is the second-highest rank in the army. The lieutenant general, major general, and brigadier are next in the hierarchy.

Indian Army- Indian Army Ranks and Insignia

The colonel is the most senior field officer rank, followed by the lieutenant colonel, major, captain, and lieutenant. Each rank has its own insignia, which is worn on the officer’s uniform to indicate their rank. The insignia for each rank is different, and it helps to identify the officer’s rank from a distance. Commissioned officers in the Indian Army are responsible for the training, leadership, and management of soldiers under their command. They are also responsible for the safety and welfare of their troops. Commissioned officers are expected to lead from the front and set an example for their subordinates.

Commissioned OfficersInsignia
Field MarshalNational emblem over a crossed sword and baton in a lotus blossom wreath.
GeneralCrossed sword and baton with star and national emblem.
Lieutenant generalCrossed sword and baton with national emblem above.
Major generalCrossed sword and baton with the star above
BrigadierThree stars in a triangle and National Emblem above
ColonelTwo stars and the national emblem above
Lieutenant ColonelOne Star and National Emblem above
MajorNational Emblem
CaptainThree stars in one line
LieutenantTwo stars in one line

Details of Indian Army commissioned officers:

Field Marshal

Field Marshal is one of the highest attainable ranks in the Indian army, reserved for only the most distinguished officers who have shown exceptional leadership and strategic abilities. It is a five-star rank, and to date, only two army officers have held this esteemed position: Sam Manekshaw and Kodandera Madappa Cariappa. The insignia of a Field Marshal consists of a National emblem positioned above a crossed sword and baton, encircled by a lotus blossom wreath.

General

General officers are high-ranking army officers in India, second only to Field Marshal. The chief of army staff holds the four-star rank of General officer. Their insignia features a Crossed sword and baton with a star and national emblem. Currently, General Manoj Mukund Naravane is the chief of army staff.

Lieutenant general

The Lieutenant General is a highly respected and experienced commissioned officer who holds a three-star rank and is the second-highest ranking officer in the Indian army. This rank is achieved after years of dedicated service and demonstrated exceptional leadership and strategic abilities. Their responsibilities include commanding large units, overseeing major military operations, and providing crucial advice to senior military leaders.

The insignia of the Lieutenant General is a proud symbol of their position and accomplishments. It features a Crossed sword and baton, which represents their authority and command, with the national emblem positioned above it. The national emblem is a reminder of the officer’s duty to serve and protect their country with honor and integrity.

Major General

The Major General follows the Lieutenant General in the hierarchy and holds a two-star rank. They are experienced and accomplished leaders who have demonstrated exceptional skill in leading military units and executing complex operations. They are responsible for leading brigades and divisions, providing strategic direction to their subordinates, and ensuring the readiness of their troops.

The insignia of the Major General features a Crossed sword and baton, similar to that of the Lieutenant General, but with a star above it, indicating their seniority. Additionally, their Collar patches have two golden stars, signifying their rank and the respect they have earned in their career.

Brigadier

The Brigadier is a highly respected commissioned officer who holds a one-star rank and ranks above the colonel and below the Major General. They are responsible for leading brigades and smaller units, executing military operations, and training and mentoring junior officers. Their insignia consists of three stars arranged in a triangle, symbolizing their position and responsibility as a senior officer.

The National Emblem positioned above the stars is a reminder of their duty to serve and protect their country with honor and distinction. Overall, the Brigadier is an essential and vital leader in the Indian army, responsible for executing critical military operations and ensuring the readiness of their troops.

Colonel 

The Colonel is a highly respected commissioned officer who ranks above the Lieutenant Colonel and below the Brigadier in the Indian Army hierarchy. Their responsibilities include commanding regiments and providing guidance and leadership to their subordinates. They have earned this position through years of dedicated service, exceptional leadership skills, and demonstrated excellence in their field.

The insignia of the Colonel is a proud symbol of their rank and achievements. It features two stars, which signify their position as a senior officer, with the national emblem positioned above it. The national emblem is a reminder of their duty to serve and protect their country with honor and integrity.

Lieutenant Colonel

The Lieutenant Colonel is a critical position in the Indian Army. They are responsible for commanding battalions of hundreds of soldiers or serving as general staff officers in divisions or corps. They are highly skilled leaders who have demonstrated exceptional abilities in their field. The insignia of the Lieutenant Colonel is a One Star, indicating their rank and experience, with the National Emblem positioned above it. This symbol represents their dedication to their country and their commitment to serving with honor and distinction.

Major

The Major is a commissioned officer who ranks above the Captain and below the Lieutenant Colonel. They are responsible for commanding companies of soldiers and serving as advisors to senior officers. They are highly skilled and experienced leaders who have demonstrated their abilities through years of dedicated service. The insignia of the Major is the National Emblem, a symbol of their commitment to serving their country with honor and distinction. This emblem represents the values of the Indian Army and the dedication of its officers to protecting their nation.

Captain

The Captain is a commissioned officer who ranks above the Lieutenant and below the Major. They are responsible for leading platoons of soldiers and executing military operations. They are highly trained and skilled leaders who have demonstrated their abilities through years of dedicated service. The insignia of the Captain consists of three stars in one line, representing their rank and experience. This symbol is a proud representation of their position and accomplishments as a leader in the Indian Army.

Lieutenant

The Lieutenant is the junior rank in the Indian Army, responsible for overseeing 40 to 60 subordinates who directly work under them. They are highly trained and skilled leaders who are responsible for executing the orders of their superiors and ensuring the readiness of their troops. The insignia of the Lieutenant consists of two stars in one line, representing their rank and experience.

This symbol represents their dedication to serving their country and their commitment to the values of the Indian Army. Overall, each of these ranks represents a critical position in the Indian Army hierarchy, with officers demonstrating exceptional leadership and commitment to serving their country with honor and distinction.

Junior Commissioned Officers: Indian Army Ranks And Insignia

Junior Commissioned Officers, commonly known as JCOs, are an essential component of the Indian Armed Forces. In terms of hierarchy, JCOs hold a position between the Commissioned Officers and Non-Commissioned Officers (NCOs). They are considered equivalent to Group B gazetted officers and are promoted from the ranks of NCOs based on seniority and merit.

There are three ranks of JCOs, namely Subedar Major, Subedar, and Naib Subedar. These JCOs play a crucial role in leading and managing the soldiers under their command. Subedar Major is the highest-ranked JCO and is responsible for overseeing the training and administration of the unit, while Subedar and Naib Subedar are responsible for the tactical and operational aspects of the unit. JCOs wear distinctive insignia on their uniforms to identify their rank, as shown in the table below.

Junior Commissioned OfficersInsignia
Subedar MajorNational Emblem
SubedarTwo stars in one line
Naib SubedarOne star

Other ranks(Non-Commissioned Officer)

The Indian Armed Forces consist of various ranks, which include Non-commissioned officers positioned below the commissioned officers and junior commissioned officers. Normally, the NCOs who have served for the longest period are promoted to JCOs. The NCOs are allowed to wear Chevron based on the Regiment and Crops pattern. The table below displays the ranks of NCOs and their corresponding Insignia.

Non-Commissioned OfficerInsignia
CQMH( Company Quarter Master Havildar) Three Strips and Ashoka Chakra on top
HavildarThree rank chevrons
NaikTwo rank chevrons
Lance NaikSingle rank chevrons
SepoyPlain shoulder badge only

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