Commands of Indian Armed Forces and their Headquarters: Complete Notes

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Understanding the commands of the Indian Armed Forces is crucial for anyone interested in the military structure and defence mechanisms of India, as well as for aspirants preparing for competitive exams, mainly defence-related exams.

These commands are important operational sectors of the Indian military. Each has a specific area it covers and a special role in protecting the country. This guide explores each command, where it is located, and what it does to keep our nation safe.

From the northern reaches where the Indian Army stands vigilant to the extensive coastlines patrolled by the Indian Navy and the skies monitored by the Indian Air Force, we will explore the full spectrum of India’s military might and coordination.

Let’s explore the Commands of Indian Armed Forces and their Headquarters, along with key details that are important for competitive exams.

Commands of Indian Armed Forces

  • Indian armed forces consist of three professional uniformed services: the Indian Army, the Indian Navy, and the Indian Air Force.
  • Additionally, the Indian Armed Forces are supported by the Central Armed Police Forces, Assam Rifles, Indian Coast Guard, and Special Frontier Force, as well as various inter-service commands and institutions such as the Strategic Forces Command, the Andaman and Nicobar Command, and the Integrated Defence Staff.

What is a ‘command’ in military terms?

  • In military terms, a ‘command’ refers to an organizational unit that a military commander is responsible for.
  • It can also be known as a unit or formation and serves as the fundamental building block of a military structure.
  • A commander is typically appointed to this role to provide a legal framework for the authority they hold.
  • Commands are essential for the organization and control of military operations, and they vary in size and scope depending on the needs of the military force.

The motto of the Indian Armed Forces

Here’s a table with the founding years and mottos of the three branches of the Indian Armed Forces:

ServiceFounding YearMotto
Indian Army1 April, 1895“Sevā Paramo Dharmaḥ” (Service Before Self)
Indian Navy5 September, 1612“Shaṁ No Varunaḥ” (May the Lord of Water be auspicious unto us)
Indian Air Force8 October, 1932“Nabhaḥ Spr̥śaṁ Dīptam” (Glory that touches the sky)

These mottos reflect the ethos and spirit of each service and guide the men and women who serve in the Indian Armed Forces.

Commands of the Indian army and their locations

  • The Indian army operates six operational commands and one training command.
  • A General Officer Commanding-in-Chief heads each command with the rank of Lieutenant-General.
  • Each command directly reports to Army HQ in New Delhi.
  • Besides these, army officers may head tri-service commands such as the Strategic Forces Command and Andaman and Nicobar Command and institutions such as the Integrated Defence Staff.

7 Commands of the Indian Army with Headquarters

Sl No.CommandHeadquarters
1.Central CommandLucknow
2.Eastern CommandKolkata
3.Northern CommandUdhampur
4.Southern CommandPune
5.Southwestern CommandJaipur
6.Western CommandChandigarh
7.Training CommandShimla

3 Commands of the Indian Navy with Headquarters

Sl. No.CommandHeadquarters
1.Western Naval CommandMumbai
2.Eastern aCommandVishakhapatnam
3.Southern Naval CommandKochi

7 Commands of the Indian Air Force with Headquarters

1.Central Air CommandAllahabad
2.Eastern Air CommandShillong
3.Southern Air CommandThiruvananthapuram
4.South Western Air CommandGandhinagar
5.Western Air CommandNew Delhi
6.Maintenance CommandNagpur
7.Training CommandBengaluru

Note: The Andaman and Nicobar Command (ANC) is the first and only tri-service command of the Indian Armed Forces, based at Port Blair in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, a Union Territory of India.

5 Indian Coast Guard headquarters

Sl.No.Coast GuardHeadquarters
1.Western Region (W)Mumbai
2.Eastern Region (E)Chennai
3.North East Region (NE)Kolkata
4.Andaman & Nicobar Region (A&N)Port Blair
5.North West Region (NW)Gandhinagar

Important Foundation Days of Indian Armed Forces

☛ This section is important for Days and Themesasked in various competitive exams.

Armed Forces Flag Day

  • Armed Forces Flag Day, or Flag Day of India, is celebrated to honour the soldiers and veterans of the Indian Armed Forces.
  • It is celebrated in India on 7th December every year since 1949.

Indian Coast Guard Day

  • The Indian Coast Guard was formally established on 1 February 1977 by the Parliament of India’s Coast Guard Act, 1978.
  • It operates under the Ministry of Defence. The Indian Coast Guard is celebrating its 46th Raising Day on 01 February 2022.

Indian Army Day

  • Army Day is celebrated on 15 January every year in India.
  • Field Marshal Kodandera M. Cariappa (then a Lieutenant General) took over as the first Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Army on 15 January 1949 from General Francis Roy Bucher, the last British Commander-in-Chief in India.
  • India’s Army Day is celebrated on 15 January every year in recognition of that day.

Indian Navy Day

  • Navy Day is celebrated in India every year on December 4 to commemorate the naval casualties of the 1971 India-Pakistan war.
  • 4 December is chosen as Navy Day because, on 4 December 1971, during Operation Trident, the Indian Navy sank four Pakistani ships, including the PNS Khyber, killing hundreds of Pakistani naval personnel.

Indian Air Force Day

  • The country celebrates Indian Air Force Day on 8 October.
  • The Air Force was formally raised in 1932 as an auxiliary force of the Royal Air Force of the United Kingdom.
  • Every year, Indian Air Force Day is celebrated at Hindon Air Force Station in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh.
  • Hindon Air Force Station is Asia’s largest air base in India.
  • In 2022, the Indian Air Force celebrated the 90th Indian Air Force Day at Sukhna Lake in Chandigarh.

Foundation Day of Indian Armed Forces in Brief

Sl.No.Armed ForcesFoundation Day
1.Armed Forces Flag Day7 December
2.Indian CoastGuard Day1 February
3.Indian Army Day15 January
4.Indian Navy Day4 December
5.Indian Air Force Day8 October

Chief of Defence Staff (CDS)

  • The Chief of Defence Staff is a newly created post under the Indian armed forces.
  • It aims to enhance the quality of military advice to the political leadership.
  • It was established on 24 December 2019.
  • General Bipin Rawat was the first Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), who took office on 1 January 2020.
  • On 15 December 2021, General Bipin Rawat died in a helicopter crash near Coonoor in the Nilgiris.
  • CDS General Bipin Rawat has been posthumously awarded the Padma Bhushan, India’s second-highest civilian honour.
  • The upper age limit for the CDS has been fixed at 65 years.
  • The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) is a Four-star General

Functions of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS)

  • The CDS has two main functions: (1) coordination of tri-service and (2) bureaucratic functions.

Coordination or Integration of tri-service

  • The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) was created to improve coordination, tri-service effectiveness, and overall integration of the Indian armed forces’ combat capabilities.
  • A new department, which is known as the Department of Military Affairs, was created within the Indian Ministry of Defence, and the Chief of Defence Staff heads it,
  • The DMA provides integration between the armed forces of the Union and the Ministry of Defence.

Bureaucratic functions

  • The CDS worked as the chief military adviser to the Minister of Defence.
  • The Department of Military Affairs, headed by the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), will oversee all short-term planning for military matters, such as issues related to soldiers and the buying and acquiring of arms and ammunition.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q1: Who is the supreme commander of the Indian armed forces?

Answer: The President of India is the Supreme Commander of the Indian Armed Forces.

Q2: Where is the only tri-series theatre command of Indian armed forces located?

Answer: Andaman and Nicobar Command
The Andaman and Nicobar Command (ANC) is the first and only tri-service theatre command of the Indian Armed Forces, based at Port Blair in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, a Union Territory of India.

Q3: 1st commander-in-chief of the Indian armed forces?

Answer: Kodandera Madappa Cariappa OBE
Field Marshal Marshal Kodandera Madappa Cariappa was the first Indian Commander-in-Chief (C-in-C) of the Indian Army. He led Indian forces on the Western Front during the Indo-Pakistani War in 1947.

Q4: Where is the headquarters of the central command of Indian armed forces located?

Answer: The headquarters of the central command of Indian armed forces is in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh.

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As a professional blogger and passionate educator, I am driven by a deep-seated desire to share knowledge and empower others. With years of experience in the field, I am committed to providing valuable insights and guidance to aspiring learners. My passion lies in helping individuals discover their potential and achieve their goals. I am also a firm believer in the power of motivation and strive to inspire others to pursue their dreams with unwavering determination.

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