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How To Join the Ranks of the Indian Defence Services

Updated: Apr 5

It is a great honour for an Indian to be able to join the Indian Defence Services and play a role in keeping their countrymen safe. The Indian Army can also be a very fulfilling and rewarding career option for innovative, ambitious young minds. There are many ways to join the ranks of the valiant soldiers of the Indian Army.


Let’s take a look:


Direct Entry Through Army Training Institutions:

  • National Defence Academy (NDA) and Naval Academy (NA) – Only those students who have completed their education till class 12 are eligible to join the NDA. All India exams are held annually for entry into the NDA and the NA. The age limit for joining the NDA is above 16.5 years and below 19.5 years. After completing their course NDA cadets become Lieutenants in the Army, Flying Officers in the Air Force and sub-Lieutenants in the Indian Navy.

  • Army Cadet College (ACC) – Those between the age of 20 and 27 years who have completed their education till class 12th and have two years of work experience are eligible to apply for the ACC. They will be put through a rigorous 3-year graduate degree and another year of additional service before being put into service as a Lieutenant.


Entry Through Different Recruitment Schemes:

  • Combined Defence Service Examination (CDSE) – The CDSE is conducted twice every year. Successful candidates join different branches of the Indian Army. Candidates also have to clear a personal interview and medical tests in order to be recruited as a Lieutenant.

  • Technical Entry Scheme (TES) – Candidates who have completed their 12th board examinations with a minimum of 70% marks are eligible for this scheme. They have to go through a selection process. Successful candidates are then given a year of military training followed by three years of an engineering course. They begin their career in the army as Lieutenants.

  • Technical Graduates Course (TGC) – Engineering graduates and post-graduates of specific engineering disciplines can apply for recruitment under the TGC scheme.

  • Short Service Commission (Technical) – Engineering graduates and post-graduates can join the short service commission through the technical entry. They have to go through a 49-week training period before being put into service.

  • University Entry Scheme (UES) – Students in the second to last year of completing their engineering degree can apply for through UES to join the Technical Arms of the Indian Army. Selected candidates have to complete an interview and medical screening before being formally recruited.

  • Territorial Army – In order to join the Territorial Army, candidates have to go through a written exam, interviews as well as medical examinations.

  • Personnel Below Officers Rank (PBOR) – PBORs are recruited through open rallies. Candidates who submit all necessary documents and clear preliminary exams are then selected to sit for a written entrance exam. Candidates who clear this written exam are recruited into service.

  • Judge Advocate General Entry – Candidates who have completed their law degree with a minimum of 55% marks are eligible to join through this scheme. They also have to be within 21 and 27 years of age to be eligible.

The Indian Defence Services have many branches and many schemes for recruitment. All young Indians who are keen to serve their country can find avenues to join the service and flourish in their careers.




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