Equivalent Ranks

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Equivalent Ranks in the Indian Armed Forces

Army, Navy, and Air Force are the three major defense services in India. Indian Defence Services remain as one of the best organized, structured, equipped and disciplined organization to react to any threat and natural and man made disasters. The commissioned officers and personnel below officers working in these armed forces enjoy ranks that are equal to one another. There are some honorary equivalent ranks as well.

Indian Army Indian Navy Indian Air Force
*Field Marshal
*Admiral of the fleet
*Marshal of the Air Force
Air Chief Marshal
Lt. General
Vice Admiral
Air Marshal
Major General
Rear Admiral
Air Vice Marshal
Air Commodore
Group Captain
Lt. Colonel
Wing Commander
Lt. Commander
Squadron Leader
Flight Lieutenant
Sub Lieutenant
Flying Officer

* represents a 5 star rank

  • Admiral of the fleet, has never been awarded yet.
  • Field marshal, awarded to Kodandera Madappa Cariappa and Sam Manekshaw.
  • Marshal of the Indian Air Force, awarded to Arjan Singh.
  • Indian military officers of five-star rank hold their rank for life, and are considered to be serving officers until their deaths.

Ranks and Insignia

Indian Army Indian Navy Indian Air Force
Indian Army Ranks can be broadly classified into three categories: Commissioned Officers, Junior Commissioned Officers and Other Ranks. These ranks generally correspond with those of Western militaries, and in particular, reflect those of the British and Commonwealth armies. Traditional names for ranks are still used, as well as Western names.

Indian Army Ranks

While the provision for the rank of Admiral of the Fleet exists, it is primarily intended for major wartime use and honour. No officer of the Indian Navy has yet been conferred this rank. The highest ranked naval officer is the Chief of Naval Staff. India uses the Midshipman rank in its navy, and all future officers carry the rank upon entering the Indian Naval Academy.

Indian Navy Ranks

The Indian Air Force's rank structure is based on that of the Royal Air Force. The highest rank attainable in the Indian Air Force is Marshal of the Indian Air Force, conferred by the President of India after exceptional service during wartime. The head of the Indian Air Force is the Chief of the Air Staff, who holds the rank of Air Chief Marshal. 

Indian Air Force Ranks


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