Career FAQs: Defence

What are the skills required to do well in this career
Effective intelligence, courage, sense of responsibility, ability to reason, determination, ability to organise group activity, initiative, self-confidence, alacrity in making balanced decisions, social adaptability, and excellent powers of expression are useful traits for an aspiring defence officer.
What are the various professional paths in this career?
The Indian Armed Forces are the military forces of India which consist of four professional uniformed services: Indian Army, Indian Air Force, Indian Navy and Indian Coast Guard.

The Indian Army is responsible for defending the territorial integrity of the country against all external aggressions and internal disturbances. During peace time, it provides aid to the civil authorities, whereas during natural calamities like earthquakes, tsunami, cyclones, etc., it helps in providing relief to the victims and maintaining law and order whenever required.

The Indian Navy bears the responsibility of defending the extensive coastline of the country in times of war and peace. The Navy also safeguards the maritime interests including defence of off-shore oil and gas installations, coastal shipping and fisheries rights. It protects the vital trade links of the country with the other countries.

The Indian Air Force shoulders the responsibility of providing the air defence of the country, ensuring both offensive and defensive roles. It is also responsible for the air defence of vital installations of strategic importance to the country.

The life of a Coast Guard officer is replete with hard work, professionalism, risk and adventure and the opportunity to move around and visit different places within India and abroad. Onboard a Coast Guard ship is engaging, adventurous and challenging experience for youngsters. From saving human lives at sea and assisting fishermen in peril, to apprehending poachers and preserving marine biodiversity, job satisfaction comes easy to a "Coast Guardsman". Each day at sea is filled with promise, and each mission is different in an inimitable way.
How can I join the Indian Armed Forces?
The Union Public Service Commission recruits the Commissioned Officers in the Armed Forces through the following routes:
  • National Defence Academy (NDA) and Naval Defence Academy (NA): The UPSC holds entrance examination twice a year for entry into the NDA and Naval Academy. Candidates on completion of 10+2 examination or while in the 12th standard are eligible to compete.
  • Combined Defence Service Examination (CDSE): CDSE is conducted by the UPSC twice a year. University graduates or those in final year of graduation are eligible to appear in the examination. Successful candidates join the Indian Military Academy/Air Force Academy and Naval Academy for Permanent Commission and Officers Training Academy (OTA) for Short Service Commission.
  • Short Service Commission (Technical) Entry: The Short Service Commission (Technical) Entry Scheme provides avenues to eligible technical graduates/post graduates for recruitment in Technical Arms. After SSB and Medical Board, the selected candidates are required to undergo approximately 49 weeks pre-commission training at OTA, Chennai. Note: Engineering graduates can join in the pre-final or that final year through the University Entry Scheme or aftercompleting graduation through Technical Graduate Scheme without any written examination, by appearing before the Service Selection Board. In both the cases the candidate gets an ante-date seniority,of twoyears and gets commissioned as a captain
  • What are the eligibility criteria for joining the Indian Armed Forces?
    The main eligibility conditions to serve in the Indian Defence Services are:
  • A candidate must be a citizen of India (subjects of Bhutan, Nepal, Tibetan refugees or migrants from the rest of the Indian subcontinent with the intention of settling permanently in India can also apply).
  • Candidates must be physically fit in accordance with the prescribed physical standards.
  • A Candidate must be unmarried male or female.
  • There is a Women's Special Entry Scheme (officers) for women graduates in specified subjects between 19 and 27 years of age.
  • What is selection process to join NDA?
    NDA is meant for all those who wish to join the Armed Forces and have completed or are going to complete their 10+2 level of education.NDA examination is divided into two papers – Mathematics and General Ability. It aims to judge a candidate on his logical ability and general awareness.

    The Mathematics paper contains 300 marks while General Ability test holds 600 marks. Mathematics questions correspond to 10+2 syllabus and comprise questions on Algebra, Matrices &Determinants, Trigonometry, Analytical Geometry of Two and Three Dimensions, Differential Calculus, Integral Calculus, Differential Equations, Vector Algebra, Statistics and Probability. The General Ability Test judges a candidate’s basic awareness and English proficiency. This section is further divided into two parts, English and General Knowledge.The written test is out of a total of 900 marks.For every incorrect response, 0.33 marks are deducted as negative marking in the examination.After clearing the written test, candidates have to go through the SSB Interview. The interview process has a total of 900 marks.
    What are the prospects in this career?
    A career in defence forces promises one of the most prestigious and respected positions in the country. Youngsters who aspire to choose a career of excitement, adventure, and challenges can find no better place than defence to meet all their professional expectations. The Indian Armed Forces are the military forces of India which consist of four professional uniformed services: The Indian Army, Indian Air Force, Indian Navy and Indian Coast Guard. The various paramilitary organisations and various inter-service institutions also help the Indian Armed Forces. The Ministry of Defence is responsible for the management of armed forces in India.

    Armed Forces render invaluable service to the nation, both in times of war and peace. Though their prime task is defending our nation against external aggression, many times they are called to control internal strife and help in natural calamities such as earthquakes, cyclones, tsunami, etc. The work of a defence personnel involves defending the territorial, coastal and air space integrity of the country against all external and internal threats. It also involves man management of the highest order, continuous development of leadership qualities and on job training to achieve the required perfection for these jobs. The nature of work in Armed Forces is diverse and also demands serving in most difficult terrain and weather conditions which in turn creates the need of constant physical fitness. Service in Armed forces requires training for war and peace time in trying conditions and sacrifice and bravery of highest order to save the pride and integrity of the nation at the time of war.

    Defence personnel are liable to be transferred anywhere in the country. Up to a certain level of seniority, promotions are bound by a timescale, after which they are gone on selection depending on vacancies arising at the top level.They are guaranteed a job, along with all the perks, allowances, many of which continue even after retirement. Jobs in the Defence Services involve a great deal of power and authority; though there are frequent transfers.
    Can you give some useful links to explore this career in greater detail?
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