The Indian Army is the army of the Republic of India.
See the British Indian Army the pre-independence Indian Army
Upon independence in 1947 the British Indian Army was split, with most units going to India, and the rest going to Pakistan. Some Gurkha units were also retained in the British Army. Immediately after independence tensions between India and Pakistan began to rise quickly, and the first of three full scale wars between the two nations broke out over the princely state of Kashmir. Former comrades fought each other and bad blood between India and Pakistan has never entirely been eliminated ever since.
An uneasy peace returned by the end of 1948, with Indian and Pakistani soldiers facing each other directly on the Line of Control dividing Indian from Pakistani Kashmir. Many Indians expected matters with Pakistan to come to a head again, and so they did. However before that happened trouble befell India from an unexpected direction.
In 1962 the People's Republic of China attacked India. The Indians lost the war, and some of Indian Kashmir was occupied by the Chinese. The dividing line between the Indian and Chinese forces was christened the Line of Actual Control. 1965 saw the long-awaited second confrontation with Pakistan. It was again indecisive.
In 1971, rebellion broke out in East Pakistan, and India seized the opportunity to weaken its long term foe seriously. War again came, but this time decisive change was affected. East Pakistan broke away with Indian help and became the independent nation of Bangladesh. This was of great help to India, since it no longer had to worry about a two front war and could concentrate its combat firepower against what had been West Pakistan and the PRC.
After 1971, tensions between India and Pakistan simmered, periodically threatening to break out into fullscale war, most notably in 1999 and 2002 in recent years. The 1998 tests of Indian and Pakistani nuclear weapons are seen by many comentators as acting as a restraining influence on both sides. Now that each can destroy the other in a war, according to the theory of deterrence they are less likely to let tensions escalate.
The army is headed by the general in charge. It is modelled on the British ranking system. The highest rank in the Indian Army is the Field Marshal, who is only appointed by the Prime Minister in case of a war. The doctrine of the Indian Army is based on holding formations and strike formations. In the case of an attack by Pakistan or the PRC the holding formations would contain the enemy and then the strike formations would counterattack and destroy enemy forces. In the case of an Indian attack the holding formations would pin enemy forces down whilst the strike formations attack at a point of Indian choosing. The Indian Army is large enough that several entire corps are devoted to the striking role, making them one of the most powerful non-NATO armies.
The Indian army is a well trained outfit employing more than 2 million people. It is a completely voluntary service, the military draft never having been imposed in India. The Indian army has a rich combat experience under diverse terrains including deserts, Himalayan mountains, tropical jungles, plains, swamps and islands.
Most of the army equipment is imported, but efforts are on to manufacture indigenous equipment.
The Indian army also serves under the United Nations peace keeping operations.