The ‘Know Your Region’ series is designed to support unit and individual professional military education on the Indo-Pacific region.

Military Capability

The Indian Armed Forces consist of an Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, and a Defence Security Corps. There are also a number of border forces which monitor, patrol, and guard India’s borders with neighbouring countries. The Territorial Army (TA) is a reserve military force who provide support services to the Indian Army. It can reinforce the regular army or provide domestic civil support. 

The estimated strength of the Indian Armed Forces is around 1.4 million active service personnel. This figure is comprised of 1.25 million Army, 65,000 Navy, 140,000 Air Force, and 12,000 Coast Guard. In 2022 the government announced a plan to recruit 46,000 men each year to serve 4-year terms with 25% planned to be retained for longer periods of service and the remainder discharged or transferred to the Coast Guard or other parts of the Ministry of Defence or Ministry of Home Affairs. The Indian Armed Forces are predominantly focussed on China and Pakistan territorial defence. The vast majority of India’s equipment is Soviet in origin with much of it in an aged state, including Mig-21 fighter jets which entered service in 1964. 


The Indian Army is made up of 14 operational corps with around 40 divisions dispersed across those corps. In addition, there are specialist brigades and special operations forces. In 2023, the government announced it would reorganise the Army into division-sized integrated battlegroups to enhance agility and flexibility to be able to respond to a broader range of kinetic and non-kinetic operational requirements. 


The Indian Navy consists of two aircraft carriers; more than 50 destroyers, frigates, corvettes, and large patrol boats; 16 attack submarines; two nuclear-powered ballistic missile capable submarines; and anti-submarine warfare helicopters. It also employs a marine amphibious brigade and marine commando force. 

Air Force

The Indian Air Force is one of the world’s largest and consists of over 600 combat aircraft and around 500 combat helicopters. 

For further information on the Indian military, see the resources below:


  1. Indian Armed Forces Information Booklet 
  2. 2023 India Military Strength (
  3. Project Force: Is India a military superpower or a Paper Tiger? | Features | Al Jazeera
  4. India – The World Factbook (
  5. The Drag on India’s Military Growth | Brookings

Military Co-Operation with Australia

India and Australia share a 2006 Memorandum on Defence Co-operation, a 2009 Joint Declaration on Security Co-operation, and a 2014 Bilateral Framework for Security Co-operation. India and Australia conduct joint military exercises to increase interoperability, military exchanges, and defence technology cooperation. In 2023 Exercise Austrahind was conducted with 13th Brigade hosting Indian Armed Forces personnel to conduct a collective infantry training activity. 

For further information on Indian military cooperation with Australia, see the resources below:


  1. Exercise strengthens Australia-India bond | Defence
  2. India's military modernisation – what does it mean for Australia? | Defence
  3. Australia-India Relations (
  4. How Australia and India can collaborate in the western Indian Ocean | The Strategist (