India's Military

Past and Present

Indian Warfare in the Past

In the past, fighting in India was centered around elephants and chariots. Chariots were usually manned by an archer and a driver and were pulled by 4-6 horses. Some chariots could hold up to seven men. Armies also usually had elephants. Elephants wore heavy armor and carried a small building on them. The building held several soldiers and a driver. Other soldiers were cavalry, and would ride while shooting bows or swinging their swords. Armor for the soldiers also varied because of the different climates in India. Some wore no armor, while others wore heavy plate armor. Armies used complicated formations when they fought. A typical formation would have cavalry and infantry protecting the chariots and elephants.
An example of Indian war elephants.

The Indian Military Today

The Indian Armed Forces currently has 1.45 million active troops and over 2 million troops in reserve. It consists of an army, navy, air force, and the coast guard. India is nuclear capable but has a no-first-use policy, meaning that they will not initiate nuclear warfare. The president of India is automatically the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces. The leaders of the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard are, respectively, the Chiefs of Army, Naval, and Air Staff, and the Director General of the Coast Guard. India is not currently in any major wars, but small conflicts are ongoing in the states of Jammu and Kashmir, Assam, Manipur, Nagaland, Tripura, Meghalaya and Mizoram, involving groups looking for autonomy or independence.
A parade of soldiers from the Indian Army

Famous Wars

One famous war that India has participated in was the Sino-Indian War. It was a war fought between India and China in 1962. The Chinese initiated a war because of Indian outpost placed in China. This war is notable for being fought in very harsh mountain conditions. India and Pakistan have been in conflict since the partition of the two in 1947. These conflicts have been mostly over the region of Jammu and Kashmir, an area with a disputed border. Major wars have occurred in the years 1947, 1965, and 1971.

Did You Know?

  • Opposing military commanders were sometimes executed by being trampled by elephants
  • Studies report that the Indian Armed Forces commit many human rights violations including rape and assault in areas that they are stationed in

Works Cited

"Military History Of Ancient India." N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Apr. 2013. <>.

"Indian Armed Forces." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 25 Apr. 2013. <>.

"Sino-Indian War." Sino-Indian War. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Apr. 2013.


Hashim, Asad. "Imeline: India-Pakistan Relations - Kashmir: The Forgotten Conflict." Imeline: India-Pakistan Relations - Kashmir: The Forgotten Conflict. Al Jazeera, 6 Jan. 2013. Web. 29 Apr. 2013.


"Execution by Elephant." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 29 Apr. 2013. Web. 30 Apr. 2013. <>.