The Indian Armed Forces consist of four components: the Indian Army, the Indian Navy, the Indian Airforce, and the Indian Coast Guard. Approximately 1.4 million personnel are currently on active duty in the military, with an additional 1,325,000 personnel in the reserve components. The Commander-in-Chief of the Indian military is the President of India. With a strength of 3.77 million personnel, including reserves and paramilitary forces, the Indian armed forces are the second-largest in the world, after the People's Liberation Army of China, and have troops deployed around the globe. As in most militaries, members of the Indian armed forces hold a rank, either that of officer or enlisted, and can be promoted.
The Government of India is responsible for ensuring the defence of India and every part thereof. The Supreme Command of the Indian Armed Forces vests in the President. The responsibility for national defence rests with the Cabinet. This is discharged through the Ministry of Defence, which provides the policy framework and wherewithal to the Armed Forces to discharge their responsibilities in the context of the defence of the country.
The predecessors to the Indian Armed Forces were the sepoy battalions, native cavalry, irregular horse and Indian sapper and miner companies raised by the three British presidencies, which became the Armies of their respective presidencies and were instrumental in helping the British establish their British empire in India and in Asia and parts of Africa.
The armed forces succeeded the British Indian armed forces following India's independence in 1947. After the second world war, many of the wartime troops were discharged and units disbanded. The reduced armed forces were partitioned between India and Pakistan. The Indian armed forces fought in all three wars against Pakistan and a war with the People's Republic of China. The Indian Armed Forces have participated in several United Nations peacekeeping operations and are presently the second largest contributor of troops to UN peacekeeping forces.