Assam Rifles

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Assam Rifles
Coat of arms of the Assam Rifles
Coat of arms of the Assam Rifles
MottoSentinels of the North East
Agency overview
Employees63,747 Active Personnel[1]
Annual budget6,061.87 crore (US$849.9 million) (2020-21)[2]
Jurisdictional structure
Federal agencyIN
Operations jurisdictionIN
Governing bodyIndian Army
Constituting instrument
  • Assam Rifles Act, 2006 & Rules 2010
General nature
Operational structure
HeadquartersShillong, Meghalaya , India
Minister responsible
Agency executive
Parent agencyIndian Army
1985 postage stamp

The Assam Rifles is the oldest Indian Paramilitary Force, dating back to 1835 under the British Raj, raised under the name Cachar Levy. The present name of "Assam Rifles" has been used since 1917.[4] Similar to the Rashtriya Rifles in J & K, in the Northeastern States the Assam Rifles is the specialised force that carries out anti- insurgency operations in difficult terrain of the region.[5] Over the course of its history, the Assam Rifles have served in a number of roles, conflicts and theatres including World War I, where they served in Europe and the Middle East, and World War II, where they served mainly in Burma. After the Chinese annexation of Tibet, the Assam Rifles were tasked with manning the Tibetan border of Assam Himalayan region. They were also instrumental in maintaining law and order in the tribal Arunachal Pradesh.

The Regular Indian Army Officers command the Assam Rifles. Assam Rifles is the Oldest Central Paramilitary Force (CPMF) and under the Dual Control of Both Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Defence. The Administrative Control is held with Ministry of Home Affairs whereas Operational Control is held with Ministry of Defence.[6] The Assam Regiment was formed in 1941 due to absence of Regular Army Unit in North East as Assam Rifles as a CPMF was only existing organisation then. There are currently 46 battalions of Assam Rifles with a sanctioned strength of 63,747 personnel.[7][8] They perform many roles including the provision of internal security under the control of the army through the conduct of counterinsurgency and border security operations, provision of aid to the civilians in times of emergency, and the provision of communications, medical assistance and education in remote areas.[9] In times of war they can also be used as a combat force to secure rear areas if needed. Since 2002 the force has been given the role of guarding the Indo–Myanmar barrier.[10]Assam Rifles Jobs.


Early history[edit]

The present day Assam Rifles can trace its origins to a paramilitary force known as Cachar Levy which was established by the British in 1835 in the Assam region. he Assam Rifles boasts of being the oldest paramilitary force. With approximately seven hundred and fifty men, this force was formed as a police unit to protect settlements against tribal raids and other assaults as British rule slowly moved towards the north east parts of India.[7]

Despite problems with equipment and training, the contribution of this force in opening the region to administration and commerce was nevertheless quite significant and over time they have become known as the "right arm of the civil and [the] left arm of the military" in the region.[7] In 1870 these existing elements were merged into three Assam Military Police battalions which were spread out in the Lushai Hills (later 1st battalion), Lakhimpur (2nd battalion) and Naga Hills (3rd battalion). A fourth battalion was later formed Imphal in 1915. Following India's independence, Col. Sidhiman Rai, MC, was appointed the first Indian DG of Assam Rifles.

Since then the name of the force has undergone a number of changes, as have the roles that it has been required to perform.

World War I and Interwar Years[edit]

During World War I, men from what was then known as the Assam Military Police were part of the Indian forces that fought in Europe and the Middle East. Over three thousand men from the force were provided to the Gorkha regiments of the Indian Army in this time, earning seventy-six gallantry awards during the conflict including seven Indian Order of Merit awards and five Indian Distinguished Service Medals.[7] These men performed with such distinction that the name Assam Rifles was assigned in 1917 as recognition of their part in the war.[7] Elements of the force were also utilised in India during the war, being used to maintain internal security in order to free up troops from the army for use overseas. During this time, the most notable action occurred in 1917 when columns of the Assam Rifles were despatched to Patna, to restore law and order in the riot-torn city.[7]

After the war the force returned to northern India where they were used to maintain security amidst growing civil unrest and disorder. In concert with the British Indian Army, they also undertook a number of expeditions into remote tribal areas along the north-east frontier and into Burma. In 1924 they were sent to Malabar, which was then still part of the Madras Presidency, to carry out operations against the Mopla rebels.[7]

World War II[edit]

During World War II, the role of the Assam Rifles evolved once more as they were called upon to undertake even more varied tasks due to their status as both a police and military organisation. This time, however, their service would be undertaken closer to home. After the lightning Japanese advance in 1942, the Assam Rifles fought a number of Independent actions behind enemy lines as the task of rear-area defence and rear-guard often fell to them during the Allies retreat into India. Later, as a large influx of refugees fled from the advancing Japanese into India, the Assam Rifles were given the task of managing and organising this mass of humanity.[7]

They also organized a resistance group on the Indo–Burmese border to counter the Japanese invasion and to harass the enemy line of communications. This group became known as "Victor Force" (or sometimes V-Force), and the nucleus of it was formed from platoons made up of men from the Assam Rifles. As part of this force, Assam Rifles platoons were used as covering forces during the latter stages of the Burma Campaign. Other elements fought in the defensive "boxes" around Kohima, whilst another, from the 4th Battalion, trained as airborne troops, was dropped near the Sittang River behind Japanese lines.[9] The 1st Battalion, as part of Lushai Brigade was sent ahead of the rest of the force to provide resistance in the Chin Hills. As a testament to the performance of Assam Rifles men during the war, members of the unit received forty-eight gallantry awards. These included: three MBE's, five Military Crosses, 4 Orders of British India, one Indian Order of Merit, 13 Military Medals, 15 Indian Distinguished Service Medals and 7 British Empire Medals.[7]

Assam Rifles personnel

Postwar period[edit]

Following the end of the war the five Assam Rifles battalions became part of the civil police under the Assam Inspector General of Police.[9] After independence, however, the Indian government assigned the Assam Rifles its own Director General, who is sent on tenure based postings from the Indian Army. Note: As per Ministry of Defence there is no deputation of Army Officers to Assam Rifles. [7] As the numbers of the force and the number of battalions gradually increased, the rank of the force commander was also upgraded until now it is that of Lieutenant General. The present Director General of the Assam Rifles is Lt Gen Pradeep Chandran Nair, AVSM, YSM.[11]

Prior to 1965, this force was under the Ministry of External Affairs, who were looking after NEFA affairs. It was transferred to the Ministry of Home Affairs when the latter took over this responsibility. From a nominal complement of only five battalions in 1947, it has grown to 33 with several range HQs. A training center, and a number of logistics units function under the HQ DG AR, Shillong. The Assam Rifles Public School is a much sought after education institute in the North East. The role of the Assam Rifles continued to evolve when in 1950 a devastating earthquake hit the Assam region and the force was called in to assist in the reconstruction of the areas and help in the resettlement and rehabilitation of those affected by it.[9] Later the force was once again called to undertake a combat role when, during the 1962 Sino-Indian War elements were used to delay the advancing Chinese forces so that the Indian Army could establish its defence lines.[7] During this time and since then, the Assam Rifles also maintained their peacekeeping role in the northern areas of India in the face of growing tribal unrest and insurgency. In this environment the maintenance of law and order, countering insurgency and reassuring the people of the region became important tasks for the security forces and initially they fell to the Assam Rifles before the Army assumed control, and then later their experience and goodwill in the region was drawn upon in order to assist the army in conducting these tasks.[7] In recognition of the unit's skill in counterinsurgency operations, three battalions were deployed on Operation Pawan in Sri Lanka between December 1988 and February 1990.[9]

Through its deployment in what has become known as the "tribal belt", the Assam Rifles have developed an ethos that is based primarily upon the notion of extending the hand of friendship with the people of the region despite the troubles that have occurred there.[7] This has resulted in their employment in a number of developmental activities in the region as they have worked to bring order and security to it. As such, their role has been further expanded to include the provision of medical assistance and basic education, assisting in reconstruction and agriculture and handling communications in remote areas.

From a force of five battalions in 1947, the Assam Rifles has grown substantially over the years. In 1960 there were seventeen battalions, in 1968 there were twenty-one and today there are forty-six battalions.[9] In addition, the force has several area HQs, a training centre that processes up to 1,800 recruits at time, and a number of logistics units.[12]


The areas covered by the Assam Rifle Forces are themselves divided into sectors:


Members of the Assam Rifles have received the following military decorations[13] -

Pre - Independence Awards
Award Times awarded
Commander Of The Order Of British Empire (CBE) 1
Member Of The Order Of British Empire (MBE) 3
Companion of Order of the Indian Empire (CIE) 2
Indian Order Of Merit (IOM) 13
King's Police Medal (KPM) 11
Military Cross (MC) 5
Order Of British India (OBI) 6
Indian Distinguish Service Medal (IDSM) 31
Military Medal (MM) 25
British Empire Medal (BEM) 7
Mentioned In Dispatches 4
Post - Independence Awards
Award Times awarded
Ashoka Chakra 4
Param Vishisht Seva Medal 10
Kirti Chakra 33
Uttam Yudh Seva Medal 1
Ati Vishisht Seva Medal[14] 23
Vir Chakra 5
Shaurya Chakra[15] 147
Yudh Seva Medal 12
Sena Medal[16] 400
Vishisht Seva Medal[17] 97
Mentioned in dispatches 39

Lieutenant General Assam Rifles[edit]

The Lieutinant General of the Assam Rifles (DGAR) is the head of the Assam Rifles. The LGAR has their office in the Headquarters LGAR at Shillong. Appointed by the Government of India, the LGAR reports to the Minister of Defence. The holder of this position is a defence servant of Indian Military Service of the rank of Lieutenant General. The position is currently held by Lieutenant General Pradeep Chandran Nair, AVSM, YSM**.

Rank structure[edit]

Rank group General/flag officers Field/senior officers Junior officers Officer cadet
Assam Rifles[18][19]
Assam Rifles OF-8.svg Assam Rifles OF-7.svg Assam Rifles OF-6.svg Assam Rifles OF-5.svg Assam Rifles OF-4.svg Assam Rifles OF-3.svg Assam Rifles OF-2.svg Assam Rifles OF-1b.svg
Lieutenant general
लेफ्टिनेंट - जनरल
Major general
मेजर - जनरल
Lieutenant colonel
लेफ्टिनेंट - कर्नल
Enlisted ranks
Rank group Senior NCOs Junior NCOs Enlisted
Assam Rifles
Assam Rifles OR-9.svg Assam Rifles OR-8.svg Assam Rifles OR-7.svg Assam Rifles OR-6.svg Assam Rifles OR-4.svg Assam Rifles OR-3.svg No insignia
Subedar Major Subedar Naib Subedar Havildar Naik Lance Naik Sepoy
सूबेदार मेजर सूबेदार नायब सूबेदार हवलदार नायक लांस नायक सिपाही

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 August 2017. Retrieved 12 August 2017.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ "Expenditure Budget - Ministry of Home Affairs". Expenditure Budget | Union Budget of India. Ministry of Finance. Archived from the original on 26 May 2020. Retrieved 6 June 2020.
  3. ^ "Lt Gen Pradeep Chandran Nair takes over as DG of Assam Rifles - the Economic Times".
  4. ^ See Sharma 2008.
  5. ^ nios board military studies
  6. ^ Singh, Soibam Rocky (6 September 2020). "HC asks Centre to decide on control over Assam Rifles". The Hindu. Retrieved 5 September 2021.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m See History of the Assam Rifles Archived 10 March 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ "MHA Annual Report 2016-2017" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 August 2017.
  9. ^ a b c d e f Sharma 2008.
  10. ^ "One Border One Force?".
  11. ^ "Lt Gen Sukhdeep Sangwan takes over as DG of Assam Rifles". NORTHEAST NOW.
  12. ^ See Assam Rifles Training Centre Archived 9 March 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ "Honours & Awards". Retrieved 10 April 2021.
  14. ^ There has been one instance of a multiple award of the AVSM to the same recipient, that is a 'Bar' being awarded. This is included in this figure.
  15. ^ There has been one 'Bar' awarded for the Shaurya Chakra. This is included in this figure.
  16. ^ There have been six 'Bars' awarded for the Sena Medal to members of the Assam Rifles. These are included in this figure.
  17. ^ There has been one instance of a Bar being awarded for the VSM to a member of the Assam Rifles. This has been included in this figure.
  18. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 April 2012. Retrieved 3 October 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  19. ^ "Updates on 6th CPC". Retrieved 12 February 2013.


External links[edit]