Field marshal (India)

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Shoulder insignia of a Field Marshal
Navies Armies Air forces
Commissioned officers
Admiral of
the fleet
Marshal or
Field marshal
Marshal of
the air force
Admiral General Air chief marshal
Vice admiral Lieutenant general Air marshal
Rear admiral Major general Air vice-marshal
Commodore Brigadier or
Brigadier general
Air commodore
Captain Colonel Group captain
Commander Lieutenant colonel Wing commander
Major or
Squadron leader
Lieutenant Captain Flight lieutenant
Sub-lieutenant Lieutenant or
First lieutenant
Flying officer
Ensign Second
Pilot officer
Midshipman Officer cadet Officer cadet
Enlisted grades
Chief petty officer or
Warrant officer
Sergeant major or
Warrant officer
Warrant officer
Petty officer Sergeant Sergeant
Leading seaman Corporal Corporal
Seaman Private Aircraftman

Field marshal (FM) is a five star General officer rank and the highest attainable rank in the Indian Army. Field Marshal is ranked immediately above General and is largely a ceremonial/war time rank, having been awarded only twice. A Field Marshal's insignia consists of the National emblem over a crossed baton and saber in a lotus blossom wreath. It is equivalent to an Admiral of the Fleet in the Indian Navy or a Marshal of the Air Force in the Indian Air Force.

On appointment, Field marshals are awarded a Gold-tipped baton which they may carry on formal occasions.


Sam Manekshaw, MC (3 April 1914 – 27 June 2008), also known as Sam Bahadur ("Sam the Brave"), was the first Indian Army officer to be promoted to the rank of Field Marshal. His distinguished military career spanned four decades and five wars, beginning with service in the British Indian Army in World War II. Manekshaw rose to be the 8th chief of staff of the Indian Army in 1969 and under his command, Indian forces conducted victorious campaigns against Pakistan in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 that led to the liberation of Bangladesh in December 1971. The decisive results achieved by the Indian Army during this war under the able military leadership of Manekshaw gave the nation a new sense of confidence and his services were recognized by the President of India when in January 1973, he was elevated to the rank of Field Marshal.

Kodandera Madappa Cariappa, OBE (28 January 1899 – 15 May 1993) was the first Indian Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Army. He led the Indian forces in Kashmir during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947. He was a member of the Army Sub Committee of the Forces Reconstitution Committee, which divided the British Indian Army into the Indian and Pakistani Armies after the Partition of India in 1947. After his retirement from Indian Army in 1953, he served as the High Commissioner to Australia and New Zealand till 1956. General K M Cariappa was honored with the rank of Field Marshal in 1986 by the President of India.[1]

Air Force[edit]

The equivalent rank in the Indian Air Force (IAF), Marshal of the Air Force, was conferred on Air Chief Marshal Arjan Singh in 2002 in recognition of his service in building the Force, and for his leadership during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965. He was also the first officer promoted to Air Chief Marshal in the IAF. All previous Indian Chiefs of Air Staff had been Air Marshals.


The equivalent rank in the Indian Navy is the Admiral of the Fleet, but this has never been awarded.


  1. ^ "Field Marshal Kodandera Madappa Cariappa, OBE". The Official Home Page of the Indian Army. Retrieved 2009-01-26. [dead link]