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This article is organised as follows:

  • Part 01: Background to Indian Army officer recruitment and selection.
  • Part 02: Getting Ready to Apply.
  • Part 03: After You Apply.
  • Part 04: The Selection Process.
  • Part 05: Training Institutions.
  • Part 06: Miscellaneous.

PART ONE: BACKGROUND

1.0     Introduction

This article provides an overview of the Indian Army’s recruitment and selection process for Commissioned Officers, usually referred to as ‘officers’.

Modern Indian armed forces can trace their military ancestry, in various forms, back several millennia, with Indian maritime history dating back some 5,000 years. However, the British East India Company established the nascent components of the future Indian armed forces with the creation of army and naval units. The Royal Indian Marine (RIM) was established in 1892, becoming the Royal Indian Navy in 1934. In 1932, the Indian Air Force was established as an auxiliary air force.

At the outbreak of war in 1939, the Indian Army consisted of just under 200,000 soldiers. By 1945, it had become the largest volunteer army in history with just over 2.5 million soldiers.

1947 witnessed the partition of British India and the creation of the modern states of India and Pakistan (both with dominion status at this point). Two Princely-ruled territories, Kashmir and Hyderabad, were also involved in the partition. Hyderabad was eventually annexed by India and Kashmir became a perennial flash point between India and Pakistan. The modern Indian Army was established on 15 August 1947.

On 26 January 1950, India removed the last vestiges of British rule and became a sovereign nation, the Republic of India.

In 1961, Portuguese colonial rule in Goa ended when India annexed the territory after a very brief military operation.

With a strength of approximately 1.4 million active personnel, India has the world’s 2nd largest military force and the world’s largest volunteer army. India also has a strength of over 1.1 million reserve personnel and 1.3 million paramilitary personnel.

1.1     The 10 Steps to the Recruitment and Selection Process

Below are the ten (10) steps in the Indian Army’s officer recruitment and selection (R&S) process:

  1. Check eligibility requirements for recruitment category applying for.
    1. Minimum educational qualifications depend on the job/role you are applying for.
    2. Commission type depends on the job/role you are applying for.
  2. Gather and prepare relevant documents.
  3. Apply online.
  4. Prepare for any tests (physical and written).
  5. Attend Preliminary Interview (e.g. UES candidates) or Entrance Examination.
  6. Attend Service Selection Board at Selection Centre.
  7. Attend Medical Examination Board.
  8. Publication of Merit List.
  9. Issue of Joining Letter to selected candidates.
  10. Report to relevant training institution on due date.

PART TWO: GETTING READY TO APPLY

2.0     Introduction

This part of the article outlines the process from when you decide you want to join the Indian Army to making your initial application online.

2.1     Initial Eligibility Details

The first step in the Indian Army Officer R&S process is checking initial eligibility for joining the Indian Army. The initial eligibility questions a potential candidate will be asked include:

  • Nationality, candidates must either be:
    • A citizen of India;
    • A subject of Bhutan;
    • A subject of Nepal;
    • A Tibetan refugee who came over to India before 01 January 1962 with the intention of permanently settling in India; or
    • A Person of Indian origin who has migrated from Pakistan, Burma (Myanmar), Sri Lanka and the East African Countries of Kenya, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Zaire and Ethiopia and Vietnam with the intention of permanently settling in India.
  • Height and weight:
    • The minimum acceptable height and weight for:
      • Men is 157.5 cm, with correlated weight.
      • Women is 152 cm and 42 kg (148 cm and 39 kg for MNS).
    • In the case of candidates belonging to the North East and hilly areas (e.g. Gorkhas, Nepalese, Assamese and Garhwalis) the height is reduced by 5 cm, with correlated weight.
    • In the case of candidates from Lakshadweep, the minimum acceptable height is reduced by 2 cm.
  • Date of birth (DOB): age ranges from 17 to 32.
  • Qualifications.
  • Gender.
  • Marital Status.
  • Do you belong to a special category? E.g. recognised tribal area.

The answers to these questions will generate one or more recruitment categories that the candidate may be eligible to apply for, as noted in the next section.

The candidate will see either a green box with ‘Apply’ or a red box with ‘Application not open’. When the candidate clicks on a relevant recruitment category they will be invited to create a username and password, from which they can then formally start their application process.

2.2     Recruitment Categories

There are various methods of entry to the Indian Army and officer recruitment categories include (Figures 1 to 3):

  • Permanent Commissions (Men Only):
    • National Defence Academy (NDA).
    • Indian Military Academy (Non-Technical) (IMA (Non-Tech)).
      • Also known as Direct Entry or IMA (DE).
    • Technical Graduate Course (TGC).
    • University Entry Scheme (UES).
    • Technical Graduate Course (Army Education Corps) (TGC (AEC)).
    • 10+2 Technical Entry Scheme (10+2 TES).
  • Short Service Commissions (Men and Women):
    • Short Service Commission (Non-Technical) (SCC (Non-Tech)).
    • Short Service Commission NCC Special/Entry (SSC (NCC)).
      • SSC (SPL) Entry Men.
      • SSC (SPL) Entry Women.
    • Short Service Commission (Technical) (SCC (Tech)):
      • SSC (Tech): Men.
      • SSCW (Tech): Women.
    • Short Service Commission (Judge Advocate General) (SSC (JAG)).
      • JAG (Men) (JAG (M)) from 2017 to 2019 and SSC (JAG) from 2020.
      • JAG (Women) (JAG (W)) from 2017 to 2019 and SSCW (JAG) from 2020.
    • Short Service Commission (Remount Veterinary Corps) (SSC (RVC)).
  • Military Nursing Service (MNS) (Women Only):
    • Permanent Commission or Short Service Commission for undergraduates.
    • Short Service Commission (MNS) for postgraduates.

Figure 1: Indian Army officer methods of entry, permanent commissions

Figure 2: Indian Army officer methods of entry, short service commissions

Figure 3: Indian Army officer methods of entry, military nursing service

2.3     Types of Commission

There are two types of commission available to potential candidates, however, it is gender-based:

  • Permanent Commission:
    • Available to men only.
    • Military service to retirement age.
  • Short Service Commission:
    • Available to men and women.
    • Fourteen (14) years of military service (10 years initial service followed by up to a further four (4) years of service).
    • With the exception of MNS/RVC, women officers are not eligible for a permanent commission.

2.4     Eligibility Criteria: Educational

Table 1 outlines the educational eligibility and age criteria for the various recruitment categories.

Table 1: Educational criteria by recruitment category
Recruitment Category Educational Criteria Age
TGC (AEC)
  • MA/MSc in 1st or 2nd Division.
23 to 27
UES
  • Pre-Final Year Student of Engineering degree course.
18 to 24
TGC
  • BE/B.Tech streams of engineering/b.Arch MSc computer.
21 to 27
JAG
  • Men and women.
  • Law graduate LLB with 55% marks.
  • Registered (or eligible to be registered ) with Bar Council of India/State.
21 to 27
NDA
  • 10+2
16 1/2 to 19 1/2
10+2 TES
  • 10+2 (70% marks with PCM).
16 1/2 to 19 1/2
IMA (Non-Tech)
  • Graduate
19 to 24
SCC (Non-Tech)
  • Graduate
19 to 25
SCC (Tech)
  • Men and women.
  • BE/B.Tech stream of engineering/B.Arch MSc computer.
19 to 27
NCC Special
  • Graduate (50% aggregate ‘A’ or ‘B’ grade in NCC ‘C’ certificate.
19 to 25
MNS
  • Should have passed the XII standard or equivalent examination.
17 to 25
SCC (MNS)
  • Graduate with BSc/PBBSc/MA in nursing.
21 to 35
SSC (RVC)
  • Graduate with BVSc, BVSc & AH, MVSc and/or PhD.
21 to 32

2.5     Eligibility Criteria: Visual

The general minimum acceptable visual acuity is:

  • Distant vision (corrected) better eye 6/6, worse 6/18, Myopia of not more than minus 3.5 including Astigmation.
  • Candidates who have undergone or have evidence for having undergone Radial Karatotomy to improve the visual acuity will be permanently rejected.
  • Candidates who have undergone Lasik Surgery for Correction of refractive error are acceptable subject to the following:
    • Their Age should be more than 20 Years
    • Uncomplicated stable LASIK/Excimer (PRK) laser procedure done for Myopia or Hypermetropia, with stable refraction for a period of six months after the procedure.
    • A healthy retina.
    • Corrected vision should be 6/6 in better eye and 6/9 in worse eye, with maximum residual refraction of + 1.50 in any meridian for myopia or hypermetropia.
    • Axial length within permissible limits.

2.6     Body Tattoos

The following criteria apply for body tattoos:

  • Permanent body tattoos are only permitted on inner face of forearms, i.e. from inside of elbow to the wrist and on the reverse side of palm/back (dorsal) side of hand.
  • Permanent body tattoos on any other part of the body are not acceptable and candidates will be disqualified.
  • Tribes with tattoo marks on the face or body as per their existing custom and traditions will be permitted on a case by case basis.
  • Tattoos removed surgically can be accepted, provided it is cleared by the medical authority for HBV, HCV & HIV test. However, surgically removed tattoos should have healed completely at the time of the medical examination. In these cases candidates will be permitted to undergo the entire selection process, subject to approval by the Commandant of the selection centre.

2.7     Gather and Prepare Relevant Documents

Once the candidate has met the minimum eligibility criteria for the recruitment category they wish to apply for, there are a number of documents that they are required to gather and prepare as part of the officer R&S process, as outlined below.

  • Valid E mail address:
    • Each candidate is required to have personal Email ID which will be their user Id.
    • All messages will be sent to the Email ID regarding Short Listing, Call-up Instructions, and Results etc.
  • Mobile Number:
    • Each candidate will be required to have an individual mobile number – sharing of mobile numbers between candidates is not permitted.
  • Photographs:
    • One 3.5 x 3.5 cm photograph taken in light background in jpeg format for attachment to online application.
    • Both ears must be visible.
    • Jpeg file to be named: photoyourname.jpeg (e.g. photoandrew.jpeg).
  • Education Certificate:
    • One scanned copy of education certificate in jpeg/PDF format for attachment to online application or certificate from principal of college/university if in final year (see Section 3.3 for further details).
    • Jpeg/PDF file to be named: certyourname.jpeg/PDF (e.g. certandrewm.jpeg/PDF).
  • Nursing Certificate:
    • Should have passed BSc/PBBSc/MA in Nursing from an INC recognised university; and
    • Be a registered nurse/midwife from a State Nursing Council.
    • Candidates require copies of mark sheet, pass certificate and valid State registration certificate (one original and one self-attested copy of each).
  • Veterinary Certificate:
    • As a minimum candidates should have a BVSc/BVSc & AH degree from a recognised Indian university or its equivalent foreign degree (i.e. the candidate must possess recognised veterinary qualification included in the first or second schedule of the Indian Veterinary Council Act, 1984).

2.8     Preparing for the Tests

Candidates should ensure they give themselves plenty of time to prepare for the various tests and assessments they will have to undertake during the officer R&S process, which may include both physical and written tests (outlined in Part Three).

PART THREE: HOW TO APPLY

3.0     Introduction

For most candidates, their application to join the Indian Army as an officer will be via an online application process, however, there are some exceptions.

3.1     Apply Online

All candidates must apply online, there is no alternative method, except for TGC candidates applying for AEC and Military Farms who are not permitted to apply online.

How you apply for a career with the Indian Army is determined by whether it is a Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) or non-UPSC entry, and the recruitment category and type of commission.

Under Article 320 of the Constitution of India, the UPSC is required to be consulted on all matters relating to recruitment to civil services and posts. As such, the UPSC has responsibility for examinations and interviews of certain military candidates wishing to join Union training institutions, for example the National Defence Academy.

The following section provides an outline of each method of entry.

3.2     NDA Entry

After meeting the eligibility criteria for this method of entry, candidates can apply for the National Defence Academy (NDA) whilst they are in Class XII or after passing Class XII.

Candidates for NDA entry should wait for the UPSC advertisement in the employment news, Rozgar Samachar or UPSC website. Advertisements are usually published in May to July or October to December each year. Candidates must apply via the UPSC website (UPSC application form also available in post offices) and successfully pass:

  • The preliminary screening process of their application;
  • The National Defence Academy Examination (NDAE) (Section 4.1);
  • The Service Selection Board; and
  • The medical examination.

If successful, candidates will attend the NDA for three (3) years (see Section 5.1) before progressing to the Indian Military Academy for one (1) year of training (Section 5.2).

3.3     IMA (Direct Entry)

After meeting the eligibility criteria for this method of entry, candidates can apply for the Indian Military Academy (IMA) as direct entry (DE) candidates.

Candidates for IMA (DE) entry should wait for the UPSC advertisement in the employment news, Rozgar Samachar or UPSC website. Advertisements are usually published in May to July or October to December each year. Candidates must apply via the UPSC website (UPSC application form also available in post offices) and successfully pass:

  • The preliminary screening process of their application;
  • The Combined Defence Services Examination (CDSE) (Section 4.2);
  • The Service Selection Board; and
  • The medical examination.

If successful, candidates will attend the IMA for eighteen (18) months (see Section 5.2).

3.4     TGC Entry

After meeting the eligibility criteria for this method of entry, candidates can apply for the TGC in the final year of their BE/B.Tech degree or after graduation.

This is a non-UPSC method of entry, meaning there is no entrance exam, and candidates apply via the Indian Army’s recruitment website using the Common Application Form. Advertisements are usually published in May to July or October to December each year.

Candidates must successfully pass:

  • The preliminary screening process of their application;
  • The Service Selection Board; and
  • The medical examination.

If successful, candidates will attend the IMA for one (1) year (see Section 5.2).

3.5     UES Entry

After meeting the eligibility criteria for this method of entry, unmarried male candidates can apply for the University Entry Scheme (UES) in the pre-final year of their engineering degree.

This is a non-UPSC method of entry, meaning there is no entrance exam, and candidates apply via the Indian Army’s recruitment website using the Common Application Form. Advertisements are usually published in May to July or October to December each year.

Candidates must successfully pass:

  • The preliminary screening process of their application;
  • The preliminary interview (held at their college/university);
  • The Service Selection Board; and
  • The medical examination.

If successful, candidates will attend the IMA for one (1) year (see Section 5.2).

3.6     TGC (AEC) Entry

After meeting the eligibility criteria for this method of entry, candidates can apply for the TGC (AEC).

This is a non-UPSC method of entry, meaning there is no entrance exam, and candidates apply via the Indian Army’s recruitment website using the Common Application Form. The completed form should be sent, by post, to the address mentioned in the advertisement. Advertisements are usually published in May to July or October to December each year.

Candidates must successfully pass:

  • The preliminary screening process of their application;
  • The Service Selection Board; and
  • The medical examination.

If successful, candidates will attend the IMA for one (1) year (see Section 5.2).

3.7     10+2 (TES) Entry

After meeting the eligibility criteria for this method of entry, candidates can apply for the 10+2 (TES).

This is a non-UPSC method of entry, meaning there is no entrance exam, and candidates apply via the Indian Army’s recruitment website using the Common Application Form. Advertisements are usually published in May to July or October to December each year.

Candidates must successfully pass:

  • The preliminary screening process of their application;
  • The Service Selection Board; and
  • The medical examination.

If successful, candidates will attend the Officers Training Academy (Gaya) for five (5) years of training (see Section 5.5).

3.8     SSC (Non-Technical) Entry

After meeting the eligibility criteria for this method of entry, candidates can apply for the Officers Training Academy (OTA) in Chennai as SSC (Non-Tech) candidates.

Candidates for OTA (Chennai) entry should wait for the UPSC advertisement in the employment news, Rozgar Samachar or UPSC website. Advertisements are usually published in May to July or October to December each year. Candidates must apply via the UPSC website (UPSC application form also available in post offices) and successfully pass:

  • The preliminary screening process of their application;
  • The Combined Defence Services Examination (CDSE) (Section 4.2);
  • The Service Selection Board; and
  • The medical examination.

If successful, candidates will attend the Officers Training Academy (Chennai) for forty-nine (49) weeks of training (see Section 5.4).

3.9     SSC (NCC) Entry

After meeting the eligibility criteria for this method of entry, candidates can apply for the SSC (NCC).

This is a non-UPSC method of entry, meaning there is no entrance exam, and candidates apply via the Indian Army’s recruitment website using the Common Application Form. Advertisements are usually published in May to July or October to December each year.

War widows and wards of battle casualties’ candidates should post the completed Common Application Form, with attested photocopies of documents, to the Directorate of Recruiting (Rtg-6) to the address given in the advertisement. For all other candidates, the completed Common Application Form should be submitted, with any requisite documents, to the relevant NCC unit/Group HQ.

Candidates must successfully pass:

  • The preliminary screening process of their application;
  • The Service Selection Board; and
  • The medical examination.

If successful, candidates will attend the Officers Training Academy (Chennai) for forty-nine (49) weeks of training (see Section 5.4).

3.10     SSC (Technical) Entry

After meeting the eligibility criteria for this method of entry, candidates can apply for the SSC (Technical).

This is a non-UPSC method of entry, meaning there is no entrance exam, and candidates apply via the Indian Army’s recruitment website using the Common Application Form. Advertisements are usually published in May to July or October to December each year.

Candidates must successfully pass:

  • The preliminary screening process of their application;
  • The Service Selection Board; and
  • The medical examination.

If successful, candidates will attend the Officers Training Academy (Chennai) for forty-nine (49) weeks of training (see Section 5.4).

3.11     SSC (JAG) Entry

After meeting the eligibility criteria for this method of entry, candidates can apply for the SSC (JAG).

This is a non-UPSC method of entry, meaning there is no entrance exam, and candidates apply via the Indian Army’s recruitment website using the Common Application Form. Advertisements are usually published in May to July or October to December each year.

Candidates must successfully pass:

  • The preliminary screening process of their application;
  • The Service Selection Board; and
  • The medical examination.

If successful, candidates will attend the Officers Training Academy (Chennai) for forty-nine (49) weeks of training (see Section 5.4).

3.12     Remount Veterinary Corps

After meeting the eligibility criteria for this method of entry, candidates can apply for a SSC (RVC).

Although this is a non-UPSC method of entry, there is no entrance exam and candidates apply via the Indian Army’s recruitment website using the following method:

  • Application on plain paper (21 cm x 36 cm) duly typed as per the format given in the advertisement.
  • The envelope containing application should be “Superscribed in Red Ink” indicating clearly “Application for Short Service Commission in RVC”.
  • The application should be posted by ordinary, registered or speed post to reach at the following address: Directorate General Remount Veterinary Services (RV-1), QMG’s Branch, Integrated Headquarters of MoD (Army), West Block 3, Ground Floor, Wing No-4, RK Puram, New Delhi – 110 066.

The application must contain:

  1. Original/provisional BVSc/BVSc & AH/MVSc degree;
  2. BVSc/BVSc & AH/MVSc final mark sheet;
  3. Internship certificate;
  4. Matriculation certificate (as proof for date of birth);
  5. Certificate of registration with Veterinary Council of India/State Veterinary Council;
  6. Self-attested photograph pasted on application; and
  7. Two self-addressed stamped envelopes.

Candidates must successfully pass:

  • The preliminary screening process of their application;;
  • The Service Selection Board; and
  • The medical examination.

Initial screening and short listing of applications is conducted by the Directorate General Remount Veterinary Service, IHQ MoD (Army) before the applications are forwarded to the Recruiting Directorate, IHQ MoD (Army).

If successful, candidates will attend post-commission training at the RVC Centre and College, located in Meerut Cantt (see Section 5.7). Candidates will serve an initial period of five (5) years which may be extended a further five (5) years.

3.13     Territorial Army (TA)

After meeting the eligibility criteria for this method of entry, candidates can apply for a Territorial Army (TA) commission.

Although this is a non-UPSC method of entry, there is an entrance exam and candidates apply via the Indian Army’s recruitment website using the Common Application Form.

Candidates must successfully pass:

  • The preliminary screening process of their application;
  • The Preliminary Interview Board (PIB) written exam;
  • PIB Interview; and
  • The medical examination.

Candidates who successfully pass the PIB written exam must download, print and fill-in the details in the IAF (TA)-9 Revised (Part-2) Application Form from the Indian Army’s recruitment website. The completed application form must then be taken to the PIB interview (date notified by TA Group HQ).

3.14     Military Nursing Service (Undergraduate)

After meeting the eligibility criteria for this method of entry, candidates can apply for a permanent or SSC commission.

Although this is a non-UPSC method of entry, there is a written test and candidates apply via the Indian Army’s recruitment website using the Common Application Form.

Candidates must successfully pass:

  • The preliminary screening process of their application;
  • Nursing-based written test (Section 4.3);
  • Interview; and
  • The medical examination.

The written examination centres are located at: Agra; Ambala; Bangalore; Bhopal; Chandimandir; Chennai; Danapur; Dehradun; Delhi; Guwahati; Jabalpur; Jaipur; Jammu; Jhansi; Kochi; Kolkata; Lucknow; Meerut; Mumbai; Secunderabad; Thiruvananthapuram; Ezhimala (Cannanore); Pune; and Wellington.

If successful, candidates will attend a 4-year BSc in Nursing at one of six colleges:

  • CON, AFMC Pune.
  • CON, CH(EC) Kolkata.
  • CON, INHS Asvini.
  • CON AH (R&R) New Delhi.
  • CON, CH (CC) Lucknow.
  • CON, CH (AF) Bangalore.

3.15     Military Nursing Service (Graduate/Postgraduate)

After meeting the eligibility criteria for this method of entry, candidates can apply for a SSC (MNS) commission.

Although this is a non-UPSC method of entry, there is a written test and candidates apply via the Indian Army’s recruitment website using the Common Application Form.

Candidates must successfully pass:

  • The preliminary screening process of their application;
  • Nursing-based written test (Section 4.4);
  • Interview; and
  • The medical examination.

3.16     Non-UPSC Entry Documents

Candidates using a non-UPSC entry method should note:

  • That 10th Class Certificate, 12th Class Certificate and latest college/university education documents (final mark sheet, previous semester mark sheets, degree certificate or provisional degree certificate) are required to be attached as attested photocopies with most applications, as noted in the advertisement.
  • Documents are to be attested by a gazetted officer.
  • The photo affixed on the application is to be self-attested.

3.17     Copies of Online Application

After completing and submitting their online application, an acknowledgement will be generated and a roll number will be allotted to the candidate.

The candidate can save or print (in PDF format) the application form. If, due to a technical issue, the candidate is unable to save the application form, they can save the screen view of the acknowledgement and the screen view of their completed application form using the “save as” button.

Candidates are required to obtain two copies of the application printout.

  • One copy of the printout application attested by a gazetted officer thereon and 10th class certificate, 12th certificate,
  • Degree/Provisional Degree and mark sheets of eight semesters of B.E/B.Tech, all in original.
  • Two attested photocopies of all the above certificates are to be carried to the selection centre by the candidate.
  • Original certificates will be returned to the candidate after verification by the selection centre.
  • The second copy of the online application printout is to be retained by the candidate for their reference.
  • There is no need to send any hard copies of documents to the Directorate of Recruiting.

3.18     Copy of College/University Certificate

For candidates who have graduated college/university, then they must present their degree certificate.

For candidates of the TGC/SSC (T)/SSCW (T) streams only, in final year, a copy of the certificate from the Principal of the College/University on official college stationery is required, to include:

“It is certified that [full name of candidate] son/daughter of [full name of parent] is a bona fide student of our college presently in the final year of [name of degree programme] with [branch/subjects of study] and the final exams are likely to be held in [month and year]. His/Her date of birth as per college records is [date of birth].

The College is affiliated to [name of university] which is a recognised institution under the UGC Act for the designated programmes.”

3.19     Posting Your Printout Application

Candidates should now:

  • Affix their self-attested photograph to the printout/copy of the saved application/saved screen view and acknowledgement and sign the application.
  • Attach documents attested by a gazetted officer as mentioned in the advertisement.
  • Post the application and documents to ADG Rtg (Rtg-6), TGC Section, West Block 3, R K Puram, New Delhi – 110066.
  • Remember to write “online application, the name of your selected course and the roll number allotted to you” in bold letters, on top of the envelope, when sending the documents by post. For example: ONLINE APPLICATION, COURSE Ser TGC-001, ROLL No 123456.
  • Retain a copy of their application, paste their photograph and sign at the bottom of the application. This copy will be submitted by them personally, by hand, at the Selection Centre when they report to the Service Selection Board for the interview.

3.20     Call-Up for the Service Selection Board

Candidates who are successful at the preliminary screening process of their application will be sent a notification to attend an entrance/written exam followed by attendance at the Service Selection Board. For those methods of entry without an entrance/written exam, candidates will go straight to the Service Selection Board.

‘Call-up’ for the Service Selection Board can be by email or SMS by the relevant selection centre, and dates will also be published on the Indian Army’s recruitment website.

Candidates must log in to the Indian Army’s recruitment website and select their Service Selection Board date on a first come first served basis.

PART FOUR: THE SELECTION PROCESS

4.0     Introduction

The Directorate General of Recruiting, within the Integrated Headquarters of the Ministry of Defence (Army), will process a candidate’s application. Once a candidate’s online application has been successfully processed, they will be required to attend an interview and undertake one or more tests/assessments based on the recruitment category they have applied for.

Some of these tests, assessments and interviews are outlined below.

4.1     National Defence Academy Examination

The National Defence Academy Examination (NDAE) is required to be successfully completed by all candidates for entry to the NDA. The NDAE is offered twice per year.

Although the NDAE can be undertaken at 40+ examination centres, candidates should note the UPSC operates a ‘first apply first allot’ policy and that a one-off (non-refundable) fee is payable. Table 2 outlines the elements of the NDAE.

Table 2: NDAE elements
Subject Duration Maximum Marks
Mathematics 2 1/2 hours 300
General Ability Test, consisting of English and General Knowledge. 2 1/2 hours 200 & 400 (600)

Candidates should note that the NDAE utilises negative marking for wrong answers, meaning for each question for which a wrong answer has been given by the candidate one third (0.33) of the marks assigned to that question will be deducted as a penalty (the same applies if more than one answer is given, even if one is right and one is wrong).

Successful candidates will proceed to the SSB (Section 4.6).

4.2     Combined Defence Services Examination

The Combined Defence Services Examination (CDSE) is required to be successfully completed by all candidates for the following recruitment categories: IMA (DE), SSC (Non-Tech) Men and SSC (Non-Tech) Women. The CDSE is offered twice per year.

Although the CDSE can be undertaken at 40+ examination centres, candidates should note the UPSC operates a ‘first apply first allot’ policy and that a one-off (non-refundable) fee is payable. Table 3 outlines the elements of the CDSE.

Table 3: CDSE elements
Subject Duration Maximum Marks Candidates for:
English 2 hours 100 IMA & OTA (Chennai)
General Knowledge 2 hours 100 IMA & OTA (Chennai)
Elementary Mathematics 2 hours 100 IMA

Candidates should note that the CDSE utilises negative marking for wrong answers, meaning for each question for which a wrong answer has been given by the candidate one third (0.33) of the marks assigned to that question will be deducted as a penalty (the same applies if more than one answer is given, even if one is right and one is wrong).

Successful candidates will proceed to the SSB (Section 4.6).

4.3     MNS Undergraduate Written Test

As part of the R&S process undergraduate MNS, candidates must complete a written test.

It is a 90-minute test consisting of general English, biology, physics, chemistry and general intelligence.

Successful candidates will be called for an interview, followed by a medical examination for those who succeed at the interview stage.

4.4     MNS Graduate/Postgraduate Written Test

As part of the recruitment process for SSC (MNS), graduate/postgraduate candidates must complete a written test.

The test is composed of 100 questions consisting of nursing, English language and general intelligence. There is no negative marking. Results are published on the Indian Army’s recruitment website, and it is the responsibility of the candidate to check their result (candidates are not informed individually). The written test is delivered at either Lucknow or Pune.

Successful candidates will be called for an interview, followed by a medical examination for those who succeed at the interview stage.

Only candidates who are considered for a permanent commission will be required to attend the SSB (Section 4.6).

4.5     Officer Selection Centres

Candidates will attend one of four officer selection centres located strategically across India, and include:

  1. Selection Centre East (SCE) located in Allahabad (Uttar Pradesh).
  2. Selection Centre Central (SCC) located in Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh).
  3. Selection Centre South (SCS) located in Bangalore (Karnataka).
  4. Selection Centre North (SCN) located in Kapurthala (Punjab).

4.5.1     Selection Centre East

The Selection Centre East (SCE) was established in 1957 with a remit to select suitable candidates based on the prism model of psychological test, group discussions, and ground tasks and personal interview.

SCE has five selection boards:

  • 11 SSB;
  • 14 SSB;
  • 18 SSB;
  • 19 SSB; and
  • 34 SSB.

4.5.2     Selection Centre Central

The Selection Centre Central (SCC) was established in October 1975 and is located in the area of Sultania Infantry Lines, Bhopal Military Station, and is in close proximity to both Bhopal Junction railway station as well as Raja Bhoj Airport.

SCC is commanded by a Commandant, a Major General (OF-7), who is also the President of 22 SSB.

SCC has four selection boards:

  • 20 SSB: Established on 15 November 1960 at Jabalpur and relocated to SCC in October 1975.
  • 21 SSB: Established on 01 June 2003 at SCC.
  • 22 SSB: Established in November 1962 and subsequently re-raised at Roorkee in April 1971 before moving to SCC in March 1976.
  • 33 (Navy) SSB: Established on 01 June 1966 at Jabalpur and relocated to SCC in October 1975.

4.5.3     Selection Centre South

The Selection Centre South (SCS) can trace its lineage back to 1949 when the first SSB was established. It is situated in the old British Accommodation on Cubbon Road in Bangalore.

SCC is commanded by a Commandant, a Major General (OF-7), who is also the President of 17 SSB.

SCC has four selection boards:

  • 12 SSB: First established on 01 April 1949 for the selection of army and navy candidates.
  • 17 SSB: Established in December 1962.
  • 24 SSB: Relocated from Roorkee in March 1976.
  • ?

4.5.4     Selection Centre North

The Selection Centre North (SCN) was established on 01 July 2015, in its interim location at Kapurthala, with the first batch of candidates reporting on 01 April 2016.

SCN has two selection boards:

  • 31 SSB; and
  • 32 SSB.

4.6     Service Selection Board

The Service Selection Board (SSB) is five (5) days in duration and is conducted at one of the four officer selection centres noted above.

Candidates are required to report to the relevant selection centre at 2pm (1400) on the day prior to the start of the SSB with requisite documents (which varies slightly based on the commission type and selection centre).

Candidates may be able to claim travel allowance (AC-III Tier) for the trip (either bus or rail) from their home station to the selection centre and back on the production of original tickets/travel documents for the first time.

The SSB, sometimes known as the Intelligence and Personality Test, consists of two stages:

  • Stage I (commences at 0630 on the first day):
    • Officer Intelligence Rating (OIR) Test: A test of logic/analytical aptitude based on an intelligence rating ranging from I to V, which is awarded to candidates based on the number of total correct answers.
    • Picture Perception and Discussion Test (PPDT): Candidates are shown a picture for a short time period, after which they must perceive the number of characters, their age and mood etc., as well as writing a short story relating to the picture. This is followed by an individual storytelling and discussion test, in which assessors are looking for a candidate’s power of expression, clarity of language (both grammatical and logical), confidence, participation and ability to accepts others’ ideas. Assessors will also observe candidates body language and attitude throughout.
      o Sometimes known as the Picture Perception & Description Test (PP&DT).
  • Stage II (days 2 to 5):
    • Psychological Test (Day 2): Psychologists do not conduct a face-to-face interview with candidates, they will make an assessment of the candidate’s personality through the inputs which have been given on the answer sheet. There is a time limit to the test and candidates should endeavour to complete all the SRTs (60 TATs and 60 WATs) in the time given so the psychologist has a complete (as possible) picture of the candidate’s personality. Any candidate can achieve proficiency in completing these tests through adequate practice and there are various books are available.
    • Group Tests I and II (Days 3 & 4): In contrast to the psychological test, the group tests require physical interactions between the group testing officers (GTO) and candidates. A candidate’s physical and mental actions will be observed. Candidates should exhibit workable ideas, positivity and aim for others to accept their ideas (and vice versa). Candidates should remain confident and positive throughout, follow instructions and ensure no rules are violated. If a candidate makes a mistake in Group Test I they should reflect and demonstrate their adaptability and willingness to learn during Group Test II.
    • Interview (Days 3 & 4): An interviewing officer (IO) will discuss, by way of questions and answers, the opportunities and experiences of the candidate during their lifetime, and any positive or negative consequences the candidate has derived from them. The interviewing officer will consider what the candidate has done up to this date with regard to their academics, competitive exams, personal achievements in extra-curricular activities, interests in life, sports they play, feelings for their parents, friends, teachers and society at large, general knowledge and awareness and physical and mental fortitude; these are all important facets of the interviewing officer’s assessment. Can the candidate reflect on a negative experience and turn it to their advantage?
    • Conference (Day 5): The three elements of Stage II are brought together in the conference where the overall performance of the candidate is discussed by all assessors and members of the board to discern if the candidate has the required qualities to become an Indian Army officer. The results are finalised and communicated to candidates, with those not being recommended given feedback on their performance by an assessor.

Those candidates who fail Stage I are required to leave the selection centre by 2pm (1400) on the same day. Boards consist of interviewing officers, group testing officers, technical officers and civilian psychologists from DIPR who conduct holistic assessment of the candidates.

The various tests, outlined above, are designed to bring out the presence/absence of the 15 Officer Like Qualities (OLQs) and their trainability in a candidate. Accordingly candidates are Recommended or Not Recommended at the SSB.

Success in Stage II is followed by a medical examination.

Candidates should note:

  • That qualifying at the SSB does not mean selection, overall SSB score (compared against peers) and number of vacancies available is also taken into consideration.
  • An Aadhar card is required prior to starting military training.

SSC (MNS) candidates do not attend a SSB unless they are being considered for a permanent commission.

4.7     Medical Examination

Candidates who are selected by the SSB will be required to attend a medical examination, staying in the selection centre.

The medical examination process is approximately is 4 to 5 days in duration (can be up to 8 days), and candidates must wear their medical chest number (with Red Cross) at all times when in the selection centre.

Candidates recommended by the SSB and declared medically fit will be issued a joining letter for training in the order of merit, depending on the number of vacancies available.

4.8     Physical Fitness Standards

Prospective candidates are advised to exercise in order to prepare themselves for the rigours of military training. Candidates are advised to achieve the following minimum standards prior to joining:

  • Run: 2.4 km (1.5 miles) in 15 minutes or less.
  • Push-ups (press-ups): thirteen (13).
  • Sit-ups: twenty-five (25).
  • Chin-ups (heaves): six (6).
  • Rope climbing: three to four (3-4) metres.

PART FIVE: TRAINING INSTITUTIONS

5.0     Introduction

This part of the article highlights some of the training establishments that a candidate may attend after being selected to join the Indian Army.

5.1     National Defence Academy

The National Defence Academy (NDA) can trace its lineage back to 1946 and is well-known for its joint or Tri-service training ethos and methodology, teaching army, navy and air force students.

In its current form the NDA has been located at Khadakwasla since 07 December 1954, although the foundation stone was laid on 06 October 1949 by the then prime minister of India.

Students undertake 3-years of training at NDA divided across six (6) terms of six (6) months each.

The IMA is one of three pre-commission training academies (PCTA) within the Indian Army.

Students who successfully graduate from the NDA will progress to the Indian Military Academy.

5.2     Indian Military Academy

The Indian Military Academy (IMA) is located in Dehradun, Uttarakhand, and was established on 01 October 1932.

The purpose of the IMA is to develop the future leaders of the Indian Army through physical training, drills, weapons training and leadership development. This training regime will enhance their physical and mental attributes and hone their leadership skills in preparation for their military careers.

Students from the NDA, TGC, UES and TGC (AEC) entry streams undertake twelve (12) months of training, whilst CDSE graduates (e.g. IMA (DE) entry stream) undertake eighteen (18) months of training.

5.3     Officers Training Academy (Gaya)

The Officers Training Academy (Gaya) (OTA (Gaya)) is a relatively new establishment, taking on its first batch of Gentlemen Cadets (as students are known) on 18 July 2011. OTA (Gaya) is one of three PCTA’s, with its campus at Paharpur Military Station, Gaya in Bihar.

Gentlemen Cadets receive five (5) years of training at OTA (Gaya) which is delivered in two phases and includes:

  • Phase 1:
    • 1-year basic military training, divided into two 23-week semesters, delivered at OTA (Gaya).
  • Phase 2:
    • 3-years pre-commission training, delivered at CME (Pune), MCTE Mhow or MCEME (Secunderabad).
    • 1-year post-commission training, delivered at CME (Pune), MCTE Mhow or MCEME (Secunderabad).

5.4     Officers Training Academy (Chennai)

The Officers Training Academy (Chennai), is located approximately 15 kilometres (9.3 miles) south of Chennai, Tamil Nadu, and is a training establishment of the Indian Army.

It was established on 15 January 1963, spread over 750 acres, and trains officers for the Short Service Commission via a 49-week training course and prepares graduates for all branches of the Army, except for the Army Medical Corps.

5.5     RVC Centre and College

Post commission training is delivered by the RVC Centre & College, Meerut Cantt.

PART SIX: MISCELLANEOUS

6.0     Summary

This article provides a basic outline of the Indian Army’s commissioned officer recruitment and selection process.

The reader will now have a better understanding of the process they will undertake if they decide that joining the Indian Army is for them.

6.1     Useful Books

  • Rao, K.L. (2016) A History of the Indian Army. New Delhi: Manas Publications.
  • Subramaniam, A. (2016) India’s Wars: A Military History 1947-1971. Delhi: Harper Collins India.
  • Roy, K. (2008) Brown Warriors of the Raj: Recruitment and the Mechanics of Command in the Sepoy Army 1859-1913. New Delhi: Manohar Publishers and Distributors.

6.2     Useful Documents

  • DG Rtg/Rtg ‘A’ (P&C) letter No 58507/Tattoos/Sel Pol/Rtg P&C dt 11 May 2015.

6.3     Useful Links

  • Indian Government:
    • Indian Government: https://india.gov.in/my-government/whos-who/chiefs-armed-forces.
    • Indian Ministry of Defence (MOD): http://www.mod.nic.in/.
    • Employment News: http://employmentnews.gov.in/.
    • Union Public Service Commission (UPSC):
      • http://upsc.nic.in/.
      • https://upsconline.nic.in/.
  • Indian Army:
    • Indian Army (Main Website): http://indianarmy.nic.in/.
    • Indian Army (Recruitment Website): http://joinindianarmy.nic.in/.
    • Indian Army (Helicopter Training School): http://sainiksamachar.nic.in/englisharchives/2010/nov01-10/h5.htm.
    • Indian Military Academy (IMA): http://joinindianarmy.nic.in/bravo/ima.htm.
    • Officers Training Academy, Chennai (OTA Chennai): http://joinindianarmy.nic.in/bravo/ota-chennai.htm.
    • Officers Training Academy, Gaya (OTA Gaya): http://joinindianarmy.nic.in/alpha/ota-gaya.htm.
  • Indian Air Force:
    • Indian Air Force (Recruitment Website): http://careerairforce.nic.in/.
    • Air Force Academy, Hyderabad:
  • Indian Navy:
    • Indian Navy (Recruitment Website): http://nausena-bharti.nic.in/.
    • Naval Academy:
  • Tri-Service:
    • National Defence Academy (NDA): https://www.nda.nic.in/.
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