How to Join Indian Army?

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How to Join Indian Army

Do you aspire to earn the honour of wearing a soldier’s uniform? Have you been dreaming of serving the country? Making the decision of joining the Indian army needs one to have passion, perseverance as well as persistence. To follow the courageous path of a soldier is to always be ready to take the bullet for the protection of your nation and motherland! Amongst the top in the list of 12th-pass jobs and a career that demands devotion and pertinacity, becoming a part of the Indian army is quite a rigorous process comprising exams, training and much more. Through this comprehensive blog, we are bringing you all the details you need to know about how to join the Indian army.

The Indian Army is the land-based branch and the largest component of the Indian Armed Forces. It is responsible for defending the country’s territorial integrity and maintaining internal security. With a rich history dating back to ancient times, the Indian Army has evolved into a modern and highly professional force. It comprises various regiments and units that excel in diverse terrains and climates. The army plays a vital role in disaster management and peacekeeping missions, both within India and abroad. Known for its bravery, discipline, and resilience, the Indian Army stands as a symbol of national pride and serves as a strong bulwark in safeguarding the nation’s interests.

How to Join the Indian Army?

There are two prominent ways to enter the esteemed positions of the Indian Army i.e., by giving specific entrance exams or taking the route of direct entry through recruitment rallies. In the process of how to join the Indian Army, the beginner-level entry position is that of the Lieutenant which ultimately goes up to the utmost level General.

How to Join Indian Army
Ranks in Indian Army

How to Join the Indian Army After the 10th?

Generally, a candidate can also join the army right after completing their 10th std and securing an aggregate mark of at least 40 % to 45%. However, they can only apply for two posts:

  • Soldier Tradesman
  • General Duties

The selection will be based on the physical fitness test, a written exam and a medical test which will be conducted by the Indian Army. 

Courtesy: Defence Insight

How to Join the Indian Army After the 12th?

There are mainly two ways through which candidates can join the Indian Army after the 12th. They are as follows :

  1. National Defense Academy 
  2. Technical Entry Scheme ( TES)

National Defense Academy

The National Defense Academy is the Joint Defence Service Training Institute of the Indian Armed Forces. Here all the army aspirants for the Indian Army, the Indian Navy and the Indian Air Force train together before they move on to their respective training academies for further training. The selection procedure for candidates to enter into these prestigious academies involves :

  • Clearing the NDA written exam which is conducted by UPSC
  • Clearing the Services Selection Board Interview Round
  • On clearing the Interview Round, the candidate must also clear the Medical Test. 

On the basis of these three rounds, the final merit list is posted and the selected candidates are trained for a period of 3 years before they are sent to their respective training academies for 1-year training after which they are granted a commission.  The candidates also get the opportunity to earn a full-time undergraduate degree in BA, BSc or BCs. Apart from their academic training, candidates are also given extensive training in outdoor activities such as drills, and PT along with one foreign language up to B1 level. 

Also, it is important to note that only male unmarried candidates between the ages of 16 ½ and 19 ½ can apply for this academy. They must also pass their 12th from a recognised university or board.

Technical Entry Scheme (TES)

Candidates can also join the Indian Army by giving the Technical Scheme Examination. Only unmarried male candidates who have passed their 12th standard in physics, chemistry and mathematics can apply for this examination. Here, the candidates are assessed on the basis of their 10 + 2 scores after which they will be required to appear for an interview conducted by the Services Selection Board. 

The selected candidates are then enrolled in a B.E Course in a stream of their choice and they are trained for a period of 4 years for the rank of lieutenant in the army. On completion of the course, the cadet will be granted a permanent commission in the Army and will be given the rank of lieutenant. 

Please note that only unmarried male candidates between the age of 16 ½ and 19 1/2, who have completed their 12th in physics, chemistry and mathematics with an aggregate of 70 % can apply for this examination. 

How can Women Join the Indian Army?

Courtesy: Defence Squad

It was in the year 1992 that women were allowed to formally be a part of the Indian Army and serve their country, Till now, more than 1200 Women Cadets have been commissioned into the various sections of the Indian Army. You can find below the ways in which women can also join the Indian Army :

  • UPSC Entry/ Short Service Commission ( Non-Technical ) 
  • Non-UPSC Entry
  • Short Service Commission (NCC)
  • Short Service Commission ( Judge Advocate General)
  • UPSC Entry ( Technical )

UPSC Entry/ Short Service Commission ( Non-Technical)

Here, women who do not have a background in engineering come under the short service commission ( Non-Technical) category. They are selected through a written examination. The cadets who have successfully cleared the written exam will appear for an interview round with the Services Selection Board. 

The eligibility criteria are as follows :

  • Unmarried Female candidates between the ages of 19 to 25 may apply.
  • They must also graduate from a recognised university and board. 
  • They must pass the Combined Defence Service Examination which is conducted twice in a year by UPSC
  • On the basis of merit, 12 women will be selected every 6 months and they are inducted into training. After clearing the CDS, selected candidates will undergo 49 weeks of rigorous training at the OTA ( Officers Training Academy) in Chennai. 

Non-UPSC Entry 

Under the NON-UPSC Entry, women can enter the Indian Army either through the NCC Special Entry or Judge Advocate General

NCC Special Entry

This is a method of direct entry for women wherein they don’t need to give any entrance exam. The eligibility criteria are as follows :

  • Unmarried female candidates between the ages of 19 to 25 may apply
  • They must have a minimum of 50% in graduation with a valid NCC ‘C’ certificate with a minimum ‘B’ grade. 
  • Four women are recruited and sent for training at the OTA in Chennai
  • They will undergo rigorous training for 49 weeks. 

Judge Advocate General

The Joint Advocate General is a branch of the Indian Army which is responsible for providing legal help to the military especially concerning matters related to court-martials and military law.  The eligibility criteria are as follows :

  • Unmarried Female LLB between the ages of 21-27 may apply
  • The female must have graduated LLB with 55% marks and be a member of the Bar Council of India or passed a law course which is recognised by the Bar Council of India.
  • Every six months, 4 women are selected by the Advocate General Branch
  • After a brief Induction, they are trained for a period of 49 weeks

UPSC Entry (Technical)

This is a direct entry for those women who come from an engineering background. There will be no written exam under this entry. The selection is done solely on the basis of merit. 

Eligibility Criteria

  • Unmarried Females between the ages of 21-27 may apply
  • The cut-off for merit varies from year to year. 
  • Twenty women are selected every 6 months based on the merit list.
  • The training is of 49 weeks held at OTA Chennai and they will be joining as Short Service Commission Officers. 

Qualifying Exams

The most common and preferred way of joining the Indian Army is to qualify for the written examination held at the national level. These exams are conducted by different authorities and are under varied names. Through some of the main written exams, we will brief you about this route of how to join the Indian Army.

National Defence Academy (NDA)- 1 & 2

NDA exam is one of the most popular ways to join the Indian army with the minimum qualification of completing class 12th. Annually, the exam is conducted twice i.e., NDA 1 and NDA 2. Only unmarried males falling between the age bracket of 16 ½ to 19 ½ can appear for the exam. The written exam will be conducted in two separate parts. Here is a brief insight into the NDA exam pattern

Paper Sections No. of Questions Duration Marks (Total=900) 
1Mathematics 1202.5 hours 300
2English and
100+ 502.5 hours 600

Combined Defence Services 1 & 2

Conducted by the UPSC, the CDS exam is the gateway for undergraduate students aspiring to join the Indian army. Just like the NDA exam, CDS is conducted twice a year and only male unmarried candidates are eligible for it. The educational criteria to join the Indian Army through CDS is to have a graduate degree. Along with this, candidates must fall into the set age limit that is, not born earlier than January 2, 1997, and not after January 1, 2004. Following is a table that elucidates about CDS Exam Pattern in brief

Sections Maximum Marks Duration ( in hours)
English 1002
General Knowledge 1002
Elementary Mathematics 1002

Related Read: CDS Syllabus

Indian Territorial Army Exam 

The Indian Territorial Army comes under the second line of defence subsequent to the general Indian Army. It is the most sought-after option for army aspirants who are somehow unable to capture the opportunity of entering IMA (Indian Military Academy) through the NDA or CDS exam. It is a national-level exam conducted by the Territorial Army for gainfully employed male and female candidates belonging to the age group of 18-42. To join the Indian army through this exam, the aspiring candidates must have an undergraduate degree in any domain from a recognized college. Tabulated below are the key details of this exam:

Paper Subject Duration Number
of Questions 
1Reasoning and
Elementary Mathematics 
2 hours 50 each 100 
2General Knowledge
and English 
2 hours 50 each 100

Direct Entry

Indian Army organises several boot camps in the form of recruitment rallies in a multitude of areas to select candidates directly without having them qualify for the written examinations. The shortlisted candidates are appointed for technical posts such as Soldier Technical, Store Keeper Technical, Soldier Tradesman, Soldier Nursing Asstt etc. Candidates wondering how to join Indian Army via this selection process must know that there are specified eligibility criteria for different posts followed by a physical ability test. If you want to opt for this selection process, here are some of the direct entry selection procedures:

  • Technical Entry Schemes 1 & 2
  • University Entry Scheme 
  • Technical Graduate Course-  129 & 130
  • Short Service Commission (SSC) Tech (men)- 53 & 54
  • Short Service Commission (SSC) Tech (women)- 22 & 23
  • National Cadet Corps (NCC)- 46 & 47  
  • Judge Advocate General (JAG)- 24

Note: The direct entry procedures of Army Entry Corps (AEC) 129 & 130 are discontinued for some period of time. 

Essential Documents  

For the ones willing to opt for this method to join the Indian army, here are some essential documents (with photocopies) which candidates have to carry with them to the venue for direct entry.

Class 10th certificate as a birth date proofCertificate for excellent background in sports 
Class 10th & 12th mark sheetNCC Certificate 
Caste CertificateRelationship Certificate if the candidate is a son of a serving soldier,
Ex-serviceman or war widow issued
by SRO or CRO  
Character Certificate 

Indian Army Recruitment 2023

There are many ambitious young men and women who wish to be a part of the Indian Army and dedicate their lives to the protection of their country.  Hence, the Indian Army has come up with its Indian Army Bharti and recruitment rally in different parts of the country for 2023. 

For getting into the Indian Army through the Indian Army Bharti recruitment rally of the year 2023, the candidate’s eligibility criteria are as follows:

  • For the post of Soldier GD, the candidate should have passed 10+2 with a minimum of 33% marks or equivalent.
  • For the post of Soldier Technical, the candidate should have passed 10+2 with a Science background (PCM), with a minimum of 50% marks or equivalent.
  • For the post of Soldier Technical (Ammunition Examiner), the candidate should have passed 10+2 with Science Stream (PCM) or (PCME) or should have completed a three-year diploma in Engineering (Mechanical/ Electrical/ Automobile/ Computer science and Electronic) with a minimum of 50% marks.
  • For the post of Soldier Clerks/SKT, the candidate should have passed 10+2 with a minimum of 60% marks and should have studied the following subjects: English and Mathematics or Accounting or Bookkeeping.
  • For the post of Soldier Nursing Assistant/NA Veterinary, the candidate should have passed 10+2 with a Science background such as (PCM) or (PCME) and a minimum of 50% marks. Those who have pursued B.Sc in Botany/ Zoology/ Bioscience along with English are also eligible. 
  • For the post of Soldier Tradesmen (All Arms), the candidate must have passed 10th or ITI in relevant trade.
  • For the post of Soldier Tradesmen, the candidate must be 8th passed.

Know more about the Indian Army Rally here!

Indian Army Training Academies in India

You can find below a list of the top Military and Defense Training Academies in India, wherein many young cadets are recruited and trained to serve a career in the Indian Army :

  • National Defense Academy, Pune
  • Indian Military Academy, Dehradun
  • Army Cadet College, Dehradun
  • Officers Training Academy, Chennai
  • Rashtriya Military School, Karnataka
  • Officers Training Academy, Bihar
  • Army School of Physical Training (ASPT), Pune
  • Counter Insurgency and Jungle Warfare School, Mizoram
  • Army War College, Madhya Pradesh
  • Indian National Defence University (INDU), Haryana


What are the educational qualifications required to join the Indian Army?

To join the Indian Army as an officer, the minimum educational qualification is a bachelor’s degree from a recognized university. However, specific entry requirements vary depending on the type of commission (Permanent Commission or Short Service Commission) and the branch of the Army (such as the Infantry, Artillery, Engineering, Medical, etc.) that one wishes to join. Candidates must also meet age criteria and undergo physical fitness tests.

How can one apply to join the Indian Army?

Candidates can apply to join the Indian Army through various entry schemes such as the National Defence Academy (NDA) Exam, Combined Defence Services (CDS) Exam, or the Army Cadet College (ACC) Entry. The application process typically involves filling out an online application form, submitting relevant documents, and appearing for a selection procedure that includes written tests, interviews, medical examinations, and physical fitness assessments.

Is there a gender restriction to join the Indian Army?

No, there is no gender restriction to join the Indian Army. Both men and women can join the Army as officers through various entry schemes. The Army offers opportunities for women in various branches, including the Technical Graduate Course (TGC), Short Service Commission (SSC), and Judge Advocate General (JAG) Entry. However, certain branches and positions may have specific eligibility criteria and restrictions based on gender, which may evolve over time as per the policies and requirements of the Indian Army.

Thus, we hope that this blog has familiarized you with the varied exams which are a crucial part of the process of how to join the Indian Army. If you are still confused about which career path to take, sign up for a 30-minute free counselling session with our Leverage Edu experts and we will help you in sorting out your interests and skills and finding the right field as well as a suitable course and university that can guide you towards a rewarding career.

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  1. Mujhe bahut Khushi Hogi ki Main Ek Indian Army ka hissa Ban Sakun Mera Shuru Se Hi Hai Sapna tha ki Mujhe a Indian Army e Mein jaane ka Ek mauka mile

  1. Mujhe bahut Khushi Hogi ki Main Ek Indian Army ka hissa Ban Sakun Mera Shuru Se Hi Hai Sapna tha ki Mujhe a Indian Army e Mein jaane ka Ek mauka mile