The Indian Army is the world's second largest army in terms of military personnel, and the largest in terms of active manpower. It is a completely voluntary service, the military draft having never been imposed in India. The army has rich combat experience in diverse terrains, due to India's diverse geography, and also has a distinguished history of serving in United Nations peacekeeping operations. Initially, the army's main objective was to defend the nation's frontiers. However, over the years, the army has also taken up the responsibility of providing internal security, especially in insurgent-hit Kashmir and north-east.
The highest rank in the Indian Army is Field Marshal, but it is a largely ceremonial rank and appointments are made by the President of India, on the advice of the Union Cabinet of Ministers, only in exceptional circumstances.
The Indian Army has seen military action during the First Kashmir War, Operation Polo, the Sino-Indian War, the Second Kashmir War, the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, the Sri Lankan Civil War and the Kargil War. Currently, the Indian army has dedicated one brigade of troops to the UN's standby arrangements. Through its large, sustained troop commitments India has come in for much praise for taking part in difficult operations for prolonged periods.
The Indian Army has participated in several UN peacekeeping operations, including the ones in Cyprus, Lebanon, Congo, Angola, Cambodia, Vietnam, Namibia, El Salvador, Liberia, Mozambique and Somalia. The army also provided a paramedical unit to facilitate the withdrawal of the sick and wounded in Korea. The 1965 war resulted into a ceasefire mandated by the United Nations on Indian request. However, it lost much territory in the Sino-Indian War which till date it has not managed to gain.
The Indian Army has also started modernization program from 2012 to 2020 under Futuristic Infantry Soldier As a System (F-INSAS).
The Indian Navy is the naval branch of the armed forces of India. With 55,000 men and women, including 5,000 naval aviation personnel and 2,000 Marine Commandos (MARCOS), it is the world's fifth largest navy.
The Indian Navy currently operates more than 155 vessels, including the aircraft carrier INS Viraat. In recent years, India has started many ambitious projects to bolster its maritime capabilities including efforts to acquire ships from foreign countries.
In recent years, the Indian Navy has undergone extensive modernization and expansion with an intention to increase its capabilities as a recognized blue-water navy. It is fairly advanced in terms of technology and is in control of one of two Asian aircraft carriers. Two more aircraft carriers are currently being produced. The ships of the Indian Navy are of Indian and foreign origin. In addition, three ballistic missile submarines are to enter service by 2010 end. It is also only one of the six navies in the world that has nuclear capabilities. Others include US, Russia, China, France and the UK. In addition it is in command of the BrahMos which is the fastest cruise missile in the world with speeds of 2.8 Mach.
In its maritime doctrine, the Indian Navy establishes its role in providing support to maritime neighbors during natural disasters. This was demonstrated during the Asian tsunami crisis during which the Indian Navy sent 35 ships to support relief efforts in neighbouring countries. The Indian navy has taken part in UN missions in the coast of Somalia and has provided security to an African Union summit held in Mozambique.
The Indian Navy is increasing its capabilities as a true blue-water navy; the Indian Navy's doctrine states that this is for the collective good of nations.
Indian Navy is expected to spend about US$40 billion on military modernization from 2008 to 2013. The modernization program includes INS Vikramaditya, Vikrant class aircraft carrier, P-8 Poseidon, Arihant class nuclear-powered submarines, Shivalik class frigate, Kolkata class destroyer, Scorpène class submarine and Improved Talwar class frigate.