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India: Reserve Forces
Country Study > Chapter 10 > National Security > Organization and Equipment of the Armed Forces > Paramilitary and Reserve Forces > Reserve Forces


India's "second line of defense" is composed of several citizen mass organizations. These include the Territorial Army, a voluntary, part-time civilian force that receives military training and serves as a reserve force for the army "to relieve [it] of static duties, to aid the civil power, and to provide units for the regular Army, if and when required." It was raised in 1949 and has been used in times of war and domestic disturbances. Organizationally, Territorial Army personnel are raised from among employees of government agencies and public-sector enterprises and are formed into departmental units. Nondepartmental units are raised from other citizens, including former active-duty military personnel. In the early 1990s, Territorial Army units saw service in Jammu and Kashmir and along the northern and western borders of India and in support of paramilitary units subordinate to the Ministry of Home Affairs.

The National Cadet Corps, which is open to young men and women, was established in 1948 to develop discipline and leadership qualities useful in life and particularly for potential service in the armed forces. The semiautonomous organization receives guidance from the ministries of education and defence at the central level and from state-level governments at the local level. It is organized into army, navy, and air force wings, and its ranks correspond to those in the respective armed forces.

Civil Defence Volunteers are under the leadership of a small paid cadre, who are trained to provide early warning communications at the town level. They also participate in civil works construction projects and natural disaster relief work. Subordination is through the local state or territory government and the Ministry of Home Affairs.

The Home Guards are a voluntary force raised by state and territory governments under the guidance of the Ministry of Home Affairs. Home Guards undergo minimal training and receive pay only when called for duty. They assist the police in crime prevention and detection; undertake watch and patrol duties; and aid in disaster relief, crowd control, and the supervision of elections. The central government reimburses the states and territories at varying rates for expenses incurred in the performance of Home Guard duties.

Last Updated: September 1995

Editor's Note: Country Studies included here were published between 1988 and 1998. The Country study for India was first published in 1995. Where available, the data has been updated through 2008. The date at the bottom of each section will indicate the time period of the data. Information on some countries may no longer be up to date. See the "Research Completed" date at the beginning of each study on the Title Page or the "Data as of" date at the end of each section of text. This information is included due to its comprehensiveness and for historical purposes.

Note that current information from the CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State Background Notes, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Country Briefs, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Country Profiles, and the World Bank can be found on

India Main Page Country Studies Main Page

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