Indian Army: A Guide to Its Regiments and Battalions

Indian Army’s Regiments and Battalions

To understand the Regiments and Battalions of the Indian Army, one must understand the basic organizational structure and its formations.

The Indian Army is broadly classified into three groups:

Combat Arms (which includes the following)

 – Infantry

 – The Armoured Corp

 – The Mechanized Infantry

 – The Regiment of Artillery

 – Corps of Army Air Defence

 – Army Aviation Corps

Combat Support Arms (which includes the following)

 – Corps of Engineers

 – Corps of EME

 – Corps of Signals

 – Army Ordnance Corps

 – Army Supply Corps

 – Army Medical Corps

Supporting Arms (which includes the following)

 – Intelligence Corps

 – Corps of Military Police

 – Territorial Army

 – Judge Advocate General’s Department

 – Remount and Veterinary Corps

 – Army Education Corps

 – Army Dental Corps

 – Military Nursing Service

 – Army Postal Service Corps

 – Pioneer Corps

 – Defence Security Corps

 – Military Farms Services

Indian Army Organizational Hierarchy

Indian Army Organizational Hierarchy

Indian Army Organisation Structure

Operational Command Formation
(Total: 6 Commands; each command comprised of Corps, which are fighting formations)

Corps Commanded by Lieutenant General; fighting composition comprising 3-4 Divisions
Division Commanded by Maj General; comprising 3-4 Brigades
Brigade Commanded by Brigadier; comprising 3 Battalions and Support Elements
Battalion/Regiment Commanded by Colonel; consisting around 900 men divided into 4 Rifle Companies
Rifle Company Commanded by Lieutenant Colonel / Major; comprising 3 Platoons
Platoon Commanded by Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO); including 3 Sections
Section Commanded by Havildar; involving ten men

 Seven Commands and their locations:

Eastern Command based at Kolkata
Western Command based at Chandimandir
South Western Command based at Jaipur
Northern Command based at Udhampur
Southern Command based at Pune
Central Command based at Lucknow
Training Command based at Shimla

Origins of the Regiment

The origins of the Regiments of the Indian Army trace back to the colonial era under the British. The British needed to administer India and required locals to form a force under their command. They established Regiments on the lines of military history, race, and caste, giving each regiment a distinct identity by way of dress, tradition, ceremonies, and regimental pride.

One of the earliest Infantry Regiment formations before India’s independence in 1947 was the Madras Regiment in 1758. Followed by Punjab Regiment (1761), Maratha Light Infantry (1768), Rajputana Rifles (1775), Rajput Regiment (1778), The Grenadiers (1778), Kumaon Regiment (1813), 1 Gorkha Rifles (1815), 3 Gorkha Rifles (1815), 9 Gorkha Rifles (1817), Jammu & Kashmir Rifles (1821), 8 Gorkha Rifles (1824), Sikh Regiment (1846), 4 Gorkha Rifles (1857), 5 Gorkha Rifles (Frontier Force) (1858), Dogra Regiment (1877), Garhwal Rifles (1887), 11 Gorkha Rifles (1918-22; from 1948), Mahar Regiment (1941), Bihar Regiment (1941), Assam Regiment (1941), Sikh Light Infantry (1944), Parachute Regiment (1945), Jammu & Kashmir Light Infantry (1947).

Other Regiments formed post-independence include:

Brigade of the Guards (1948), Ladakh Scouts (1963), Naga Regiment (1970), Arunachal Scouts (2010), Sikkim Scouts (2013)

Regiments of the Infantry

  1. The Brigade of the Guards
  2. The Parachute Regiment
  3. The Rajputana Rifles
  4. The Punjab Regiment
  5. The Madras Regiment
  6. The Grenadiers
  7. The Sikh Light Infantry
  8. The Sikh Regiment
  9. The Dogra Regiment
  10. The Kumaon Regiment
  11. The Garhwal Rifles
  12. The Maratha Light Infantry
  13. The Gorkha Rifles
  14. The Jat Regiment
  15. The Rajput Regiment
  16. The Mahar Regiment
  17. The Bihar Regiment
  18. The Jammu & Kashmir Rifles
  19. The Jammu & Kashmir Light Infantry
  20. The Naga Regiment
  21. The Assam Rifles
  22. The Ladakh Scouts
  23. The Sikkim Scouts
  24. The Arunachal Scouts
  25. Rashtriya Rifles
  26. Other regiments include:
  27. Mechanized Infantry
  28. The Armoured Corp
  29. The Regiment of Artillery
  30. Army Air Defence
  31. Army Aviation Corps
  32. The Corps of Engineers
  33. The Corps of Signals

What is the difference between a Regiment and Battalion?

A Regiment is a fighting force formation which may comprise of smaller fighting units called Battalions. The regiments of the Indian Army’s Infantry include the Brigade of the Guards, Rajputana Rifles, Gorkha Rifles, Punjab Regiment, etc., as listed above.

The Armoured Corps, the Regiment of Artillery and others (refer list above) are also regiments which have several battalions forming part of them.

Each Regiment comprises battalions. For instance, in the case of Infantry Regiments, the Brigade of the Guards comprises battalions referred by number; for example, 16 Guards or 6 Guards. The number identifies the battalion while the name reflects the regiment to which it belongs.

In the case of the Gorkha Regiment, the structure is slightly different from the others. There are 7 Gorkha Regiments, six raised under the British, and one built post-independence.

There are 39 Gorkha battalions under the 7 Gorkha regiments. So, “6/5 Gorkha Rifles” would represent the 6th Battalion of 5 Gorkha Rifle Regiment.

The number of battalions in a regiment may vary. Each battalion comprises around 900 combat personnel headed by a Colonel rank officer.

An Infantry Battalion comprises 4 Rifle companies; each Rifle company comprises 3 Platoons; each Platoon comprises 3 Sections; each Section comprises 10 men.

What ‘Paltan ki Izzat’ means to a soldier?

When a soldier or an officer is commissioned into a battalion, it becomes his home and family for life, irrespective of where he may serve subsequently.

The soldier is explained, taught, and ingrained with the idea of ‘Paltan ki Izzat’ – a concept based on regimental values, sacrifice, honour, and tradition, all upheld by those before him – living or dead. The soldier trains to uphold the Paltan’s Izzat above all else, even his own life.

It is this ‘value’ that stands behind the heroic, and often, superhuman responses in battle, which make our Indian Army soldiers fearsome and highly respected across the world.

An Indian Army soldier loves his country and will defend it at any cost. However, it is Paltan ki Izzat which drives him to sacrifice his life for another fellow soldier and the country without fear or procrastination readily.

Paltan ki Izzat binds and holds the fighting unit as one large family and in the broader context, the nation.

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Indian Army: A Guide to Its Regiments and Battalions
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Indian Army: A Guide to Its Regiments and Battalions
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Find here a guide to the Regiments and Battalions of the Indian Army. Also, read about the origin of Regiment and the difference between a Regiment and Battalion.
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