How to join the Indian Army
Each one of us, at least once in our lifetime have thought of how to join Indian army as an officer for the many reasons that it brings great responsibility, honour and sense of duty towards our country. We have seen the swag of the army men in cinemas, documentaries and of course in real life. Those camouflage uniforms, high tech machinery, armoury, all-terrain vehicles and most importantly the flag of INDIA stuck on the uniform is enough to bring a sense of pride and patriotism in each one of us.
But the important question arises is how to join Indian army? Or what are the ways to join the Indian army?
Many people are unaware of the proper ways to join the Indian army due to lack of information from where they can collect valuable details related to it. This deprives them of the golden opportunity that lies ahead, and hence many dreams get shattered especially of the students who are in their 10th or 10+2 as the age limit criteria to join the Indian army is less compared to other recruitment exams.
Candidates should know that to join the Indian army they don’t have to go haywire and we have curated all useful information on how to join Indian army at one place in this article. Candidates must know that they can join Indian army both after finishing school as well as after completing their graduation. In this article, we will discuss all these ways on how to join Indian army, the important dates, eligibility criteria and the perks, salaries as well as the benefits an Indian army officer receives after getting commissioned.
NDA, also known as the National Defense Academy is a national level exam which is conducted by UPSC (Union Public Service Commission). NDA is conducted twice a year - April and September. The NDA application fee is Rs. 100 for General and OBC candidates while for candidates belonging from SC/ST and other categories it is free. After qualifying the NDA exam, candidates are trained for 4 years in academics. In the first 3 years, they are trained to qualify for a bachelors degree and the complete expenses are incurred by the academy itself. In the 4th year, candidates are trained in IMA (Indian Military Association), INA (Indian Naval Academy) and AFA (Air Force Academy) depending upon what they have been chosen for, during this one year candidates also get a stipend. If you are looking for answers on how to join Indian Army after 12th, NDA is the answer to all your queries.
After completion of these 4 years, candidates are commissioned as officers. The posts are either Lieutenant in Army, Sub-Lieutenant in Navy or FLying Officer in the Indian Air Force. The starting salary is Rs. 56000 + various other perks.
NDA 2020 Dates
The minimum educational qualification required to join NDA is 10+2 while candidates' age must be between 16.5 to 19.5 years. Only male candidates can apply for NDA.
The NDA is conducted in offline mode and the question paper is in English as well as in Hindi (except for the English section). The NDA question paper is objective type and there are two papers - Mathematics and GAT. In the following table, candidates can check the exam pattern of NDA.
NDA 2020 Exam Pattern
Mode of NDA exam
English & Hindi (Except for the English section)
Number of Papers
2 (Mathematics & GAT -General Ability Test)
2 Hours 30 Minutes
Mathematics - 120 questions of 300 marks
GAT - 150 questions of 600 marks
Types of question
Important links related to NDA:
CDS stands for Combined Defence Services examination, just like NDA, CDS is also conducted twice a year by UPSC - February & September. CDS is conducted to recruit candidates for the IMA (Indian Military Academy), OTA (Officers Training Academy), INA (Indian Naval Academy) and IAFA (Indian Air Force Academy). After qualifying the exam you have to undergo the training period post which you are entitled with a Lieutenant rank in the Indian Army. During the training, you also get a stipend and after selection a handsome salary as per your post which increases according to your promotion. If you are planning on how to join Indian Army through CDS, check the important dates mentioned here:
CDS 2020 Dates
The education qualification required to join the Indian Army and fill the application form of CDS is graduation while the age limit for CDS is 20 - 24 years. Both male and female candidates can apply for CDS. Candidates applying for the Air Force need to have Physics and Mathematics at 10+2 level and those who are applying for Indian Naval Academy must have an engineering degree.
Mode of Paper
Objective type in Offline mode
Number of Papers
For IMA, INA & AFA -
English. GK, Elementary Mathematics
For OTA -
English & GK
Duration of Exam
2 hours for each paper
Number of questions
IMA, INA & AFA - 340 Multiple Choice Questions
OTA - 240 MCQs
English & Hindi (Except for English section)
IMA - 100
INA - 100
AFA - 100
OTA - 200
Important links related to CDS:
Indian Army conducts the TES (Technical Entry Scheme 10+2) exam for young candidates who look for ways on how to join Indian army after completing their school. Indian Army TES is a national level exam conducted by Join Indian Army, post-qualifying the exam candidates are enrolled for a 5-years training course after which they are granted a permanent commission in the Indian Army technical division in branches like EME, Signals, Indian Army Aviation Corps but they can also join other fields like Infantry, Artillery etc. Candidates are given an engineering degree after successfully completing their course.
Indian Army TES 2020 Date
Indian Army TES Eligibility Criteria 2020
Only those candidates who have qualified the 10+2 with PCM ((Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics) can apply for Indian Army TES. The age limit for these candidates must be between 16.5 to 19.5 years.
Apart from the exams mentioned above, the Indian Army also releases different recruitment drives from time-to-time to recruit candidates for - JCO (Junior Commissioned Officer). Havildars, Sainik, Nursing departments etc.
Indian Army Ranks
Candidates who are aspiring to join the Indian Army must check the various ranks, job description and the payscale an officer is entitled after getting commissioned. In the following table, candidates can find the Indian Army rank, job description, pay scale and the retirement from top-to-bottom manner.
Rank-wise Job description, Payscale and Retirement Age
Job Description and Payscale
Only two appointments have ever been made.
Not applicable life long.
The Chief of Army Staff of the Indian Army, equivalent to Cabinet Secretary of India with Pay Level 18 of Rs. 250,000
3 years as COAS or at the age of 62, whichever earlier.
36 years of commissioned service required. Lieutenant generals appointed as Vice Chief of Army Staff/Army Commanders/Equivalent/NFSG are entitled to Pay Level 17 of Rs.225000
32 years of commissioned service required. Pay Level 14 of Rs. 144200 - 218200
25 years of commissioned service required. Pay Level 13A of Rs.139600 - 217600
15 years of commissioned service is required. Duration of Time Scale promotion to Colonel is 26 years of commissioned service. Entitled to pay level 13 of Rs. 163000 - 215 000
On the completion of 13 years of reckonable commissioned service and also qualification of Part D exam. Pay level 12A of Rs. 121000 - 212400
On completion of 6 years of reckonable service also subject to clearance of the Part B exam. Pay level 11 of Rs. 69400 - 207200
On completion of 2 years of commissioned service. Pay level 10B of Rs. 61300 - 193900
Commission into Indian Army as an Officer. Pay level 10 of Rs. 56100 - 177500
What are the Benefits, Salary and Perks in the Indian Army?
One more question that makes round apart from how to join Indian Army is about the salary of an Indian Army officer. Not just the salary, but apart from it, the Indian Army also offers one of the best lifestyles. social interaction activities by making you a part of various clubs, there are also various opportunities to indulge in sports and represent the nation through sports, high-class medical facilities and ample opportunities to also study further. The army also provides facilities like subsidized housing schemes, (CDS) canteen facilities, group insurance cover, free medical for self & the family (first blood relation), loans for house/vehicle. Apart from teaching the art of war they also teach the candidates the art of Administration, Medicine, Human Resource Development and Management for your all-round development.
So why not join the Indian army when there is both personal as well as professional growth.
Frequently Asked Question (FAQs) - How to join the Indian Army
Question: How can I join the army?
You can join the Indian army by participating in various exams like NDA, CDS, Indian Army TES according to its eligibility criteria and requirements. You can check the detailed eligibility criteria for each exam in the article above.
Question: What is the Indian Army salary?
The salary depends upon the post you have been chosen for, for example -
If you join the Indian Army through NDA, you get - Rs. 56000. If you join through CDS, you get a starting salary of - Rs. 56100 for the lieutenant level which increases as per your promotion and time spent. If you join the Indian army through Indian army TES, you get a starting salary of Rs. 56100.
Question: How can I join Indian Army after 10th?
You can either join through NDA or Indian Army TES.
Question: Can you have tattoos in the army?
Tattoos are not allowed in the Indian army. If you have a tattoo it shouldn't be on the outside like - Face, Neck, Hand etc. Also if the tattoo is related to some traditional or religious beliefs especially if you belong to a tribal community then it is allowed.
Question: Who is eligible for NDA?
Candidates whose fall between the age group of 16.5-19.5 year age group they are eligible to appear for NDA. They must also qualify the 10+2.
Question: How do we join NDA?
To join the NDA, candidates must qualify in the entrance exam conducted by UPSC.
Question: How many times the CDS exam is conducted?
CDS is conducted twice a year by UPSC.
Question: How to join Indian Army after 12th Science without NDA?
You can join the Indian Army through CDS, by apply for OTA while filling the application form.
Question: How to join Indian Army for girls?
Girls can join the Indian Army through CDS.