Country report and updates: India

Last revision: 27 Mar 1998
27 Mar 1998

1 Conscription

conscription does not exist

Conscription has never existed since independence in 1948.

There is no known legislation providing for conscription. According to one source conscription may become compulsory in time of national danger. This was in fact the case in the 60s when there was conscription took place into the National Cadet Corps. (see: History) [2]

Recent reports indicate that the Indian armed forces may find it difficult to get the requisite number of recruits, especially recruits suitable to become officers. A commandant at the Indian military academy was quoted in 1996 as saying that if the present officer recruitment shortfall continued, this could pose a national problem. The government was said to be considering military salary increases, while army-officials have argued in favour of introducing conscription. [4]

There are, however, no definite plans to introduce conscription. Throughout India's history such a move has never been seriously contemplated on the grounds that it would be too expensive. [3]


Legal enlistment age is between the ages of 18 and 25. [1]

There are several paramilitary forces, such as the Railway Protection Forces, Home Guards and Civil Defence Forces. Recruitment policies of these paramilitary forces are not known. [5]

2 Conscientious objection

There is no known legal provision for conscientious objection.

3 Desertion

No information available.

5 History

Since independence there have been several systems of compulsory military training for university students and school pupils.

In 1948 the National Cadet Corps (NCC) was established in order stimulate the interest of youth in the defence of the country. In 1962, following the invasion of Indian territory by China, certain emergency recruitment regulations were introduced. All college students (male and female) aged 16 were required to take part in NCC training, which included handling arms and ammunition and meant being attached to the regular armed forces during summer holidays. This scheme was continued after the 1965 conflict with Pakistan, but was abolished in the mid-1970s. [1] [3]

6 Annual statistics

The armed forces are 1,145,000-strong - that is, 0.12 percent of the population. [5]

The paramilitary forces have 1,088.000 members. [5]


[1] Rädda Barnen 1998. Information provided to CONCODOC, January 1998. [2] Eide, A., C. Mubanga-Chipoya 1985. Conscientious objection to military service, report prepared in pursuance of resolutions 14 (XXXIV) and 1982/30 of the Sub-Commission of Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities. United Nations, New York. [3] Prasad, D., T. Smythe 1968. Conscription: a world survey, compulsory military service and resistance to it. War Resisters' International, London. [4] Asian Defence Journal, 3/1996. [5] Institute for Strategic Studies 1997. Military Balance 1997/98. ISS, London.

Recent stories on conscientious objection: India

01 mai 2008

Si l'Europe et les États Unis ont leurs armées qui quadrillent le monde - et si ce n'est pas l'armée, c'est la « coopération économique » et « l'aide au développement » qui sont utilisées avec le soutien des forces armées pour maintenir leur influence politique et économique - d'autres pays ont aussi une armée. En fait, la plupart des États entretiennent des troupes. Dans ce contexte, comment d'autres acteurs militaires majeurs recrutent-ils ?

01 fév 2008

Kapoor, le chef d’état major de l’armée de terre indienne a évoqué le 14 janvier 2008 la possibilité que la conscription puisse être une solution pour combler le manque d’officiers dans l’armée indienne.

01 jan 2008

L'Inde possède la troisième force militaire mondiale en soldats avec une active de 1,3 million d'unités dans les seules Forces Armée Indiennes.

01 déc 2006

D'après un reportage de l'Hindustan Times du 25 novembre 2006, il manque environ 12 000 officiers à l'armée indienne. Le chef d'état major, le général Joginder Jaswant Singh indique : « Ce manque en officier résulte de l'arrivée de nouvelles unités comme les Rashtriya Rifles (NdT : unités contre-insurrectionnelles), qui doivent être prises en main par des officiers de l'armée régulière.