Territorial Army (India)

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Territorial Army
प्रादेशिक सेना
Territorial Army India Logo.gif
Territorial Army India Logo
Country  India
Type Army
Size 200,000 Troops
Headquarters TA Group Headquarters
Nickname(s) Terriers
Motto(s) सावधानी व शूरता - Savdhani Va Shoorta (Vigilance and Valour)
Engagements 1962 India-China War
1965 Indo-Pak war
1971 Indo-Pakistani War
Operation Pawan in Sri Lanka
OP RAKSHAK in Punjab & J&K
OP RHINO and OP BAJRANG in the North East
Decorations 2 Ati Vishisht Seva Medals
15 Vishisht Seva Medals
5 Vir Chakras
13 Sena Medals
25 Mentioned-in-Dispatches
43 COAS commendation cards.
Website Official Website of Territorial Army

The Indian Territorial Army (TA) is a second line of defence after the Regular Indian Army; it is not a profession, occupation or a source of employment. It is only meant for those people who are already in mainstay civilian professions; in fact, gainful employment or self-employment in a civil profession is a prerequisite for joining the Territorial Army.


The Indian Defence Force, incorporating Europeans and Indians in separate sections, was formed by the British on 9 October 1917. It was established in order to release regular troops from garrison duties during the First World War. It was divided into British and Indian sections. Like the Indian Army of the time, units in the Indian section consisted primarily of British officers and Indian other ranks. Units in the British section were all British. The Indians were volunteers, but many of the Europeans were conscripted, as the Indian Defence Force Act 1917 made military service compulsory for all Europeans permanently residing in British India (including the princely states) between the ages of 16 and 50.[1] Boys between 16 and 18 were only obliged to undertake training and men over 40 only had to serve in their local district, but men between 19 and 40 were obliged to serve anywhere required within the country. Only the clergy were exempt.[2]

The IDF was generally unpopular among the British conscripts. It was replaced by the Auxiliary Force (for Europeans and Eurasians) and the Indian Territorial Force (for Indians) in 1920.[3]

The modern Territorial Army was inaugurated by the first Indian Governor-General of India, C. Rajagopalachari, on 9 October 1949 after the Independence Territorial Army Act was passed in 1948. The annual Prime Minister's Territorial Army Day Parade takes place on 9 October.[4]

The Territorial Army initially had various types of units such as armoured regiments, infantry battalions, air defence, medical regiments, engineers field park companies, signal regiments, Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (EME) workshops, coast batteries, Army Service Corps GT Coy, ASC Compo Pl, and AMC field ambulances. By 1972 these units were either disbanded or converted to Regular Army units with the exception of infantry battalions.

Territorial Army units were actively involved in military operations in 1962, 1965 and 1971. The "Terriers" have also taken part in Operation Pawan in Sri Lanka, Operation Rakshak in Punjab & J&K, Operation Rhino and Operation Bajrang in the North East. Departmental units came to the aid of the civil authorities during industrial unrest and natural calamities, most famous being earthquake in Latur (Maharashtra), Uttarkashi in Garhwal Himalaya and the super cyclone in Odisha. The Ecological units have arrested man-made environmental degradation by planting 2.5 crore trees over 20,000 hectare of land in Mussoorie hills and Pithoragarh (Uttarakhand), Bikaner and Jaisalmer (Rajasthan) and ravines of Chambal in Madhya Pradesh.

Force structure[edit]

The Territorial Army is part of the regular Indian Army. The present role of the Territorial Army is to relieve the Regular Army from static duties and assist civil administration in dealing with natural calamities and maintenance of essential services in situations where life of the communities is affected or the security of the country is threatened, and to provide units for the Regular Army as and when required.

The Territorial Army has a strength of approximately 40,000 first line troops (and 160,000 second line troops) comprising departmental Territorial Army units such as railway, IOC, ONGC, telecommunication and General Hospital, and the non-departmental Territorial Army units of infantry battalions and ecological battalions affiliated to various infantry regiments.

Group headquarters[edit]

  • TA GP HQ, Southern Command – Pune, Maharashtra
  • TA GP HQ, Eastern Command – Kolkata, West Bengal
  • TA GP HQ, Western Command – Chandigarh, (union territory)
  • TA GP HQ, Central Command – Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh
  • TA GP HQ, Northern Command -Udhampur, Jammu & kashmir

Departmental units[edit]

  • 968 Railway Engineer Regiment (TA) – Ludhiana - since disbanded
  • 969 Railway Engineer Regiment (TA) – Jamalpur
  • 970 Railway Engineer Regiment (TA) – Jhansi
  • 971 Railway Engineer Regiment (TA) – Delhi - since disbanded
  • 972 Railway Engineer Regiment (TA) – Muzaffarpur - since disbanded
  • 1031 Railway Engineer Regiment (TA) – Kota
  • 1032 Railway Engineer Regiment (TA) – Adra
  • 1034 Railway Engineer Regiment (TA) – Bangalore - since disbanded
  • 1101 Railway Engineer Regiment (TA) – Chandigarh
  • 1103 Railway Engineer Regiment (TA) – Kota - since disbanded
  • 1105 Railway Engineer Regiment (TA) – Secunderabad
  • 1051 Railway Engineer Regiment (TA) – Ludhiana - since disbanded
  • 1052 Railway Engineer Regiment (TA) – Adra - since disbanded
  • General Hospital (TA) (500 Beds) – Kolkata
  • General Hospital (TA) (400 Beds) – Allahabad
  • General Hospital (TA) (300 Beds) – Jaipur
  • General Hospital (TA) (300 Beds) – Patiala
  • General Hospital (TA) (300 Beds) – Guwāhāti
  • General Hospital (TA) (300 Beds) – Ahmadabad
  • General Hospital (TA) (400 Beds) – Rohtak (Haryana)
  • 414 ASC Battalion Marketing (TA) – Kamptee
  • 777 Signal Regiment Telecom (TA) – Mhow
  • 801 Engineer Regiment Refineries & Pipelines (TA) – Agra
  • 811 Engineer Regiment ONGC (TA) – Baroda

Non-departmental units[edit]

  • 101 Infantry Battalion (TA) Maratha LI – Pune
  • 102 Infantry Battalion (TA) Punjab – Kalka
  • 103 Infantry Battalion (TA) Sikh LI – Ludhiana
  • 105 Infantry Battalion (TA) Rajputana Rifles – Delhi Cantonment
  • 106 Infantry Battalion (TA) Para – Bengaluru
  • 107 Infantry Battalion (TA) 11 Gorkha Rifles – Darjeeling
  • 108 Infantry Battalion (TA) Mahar – Dehradun
  • 109 Infantry Battalion (TA) Maratha LI – Kolhapur
  • 110 Infantry Battalion (TA) Madras – Coimbatore
  • 111 Infantry Battalion (TA) Kumaon – Allahabad
  • 112 Infantry Battalion (TA) Dogra – Jalandhar
  • 113 Infantry Battalion (TA) Rajput – Kolkata
  • 114 Infantry Battalion (TA) Jat – Fatehgarh
  • 115 Infantry Battalion (TA) Mahar – Belgaum
  • 116 Infantry Battalion (TA) Para – Deolali
  • 117 Infantry Battalion (TA) Guards – Tiruchirappalli
  • 118 Infantry Battalion (TA) Grenadiers – Nagpur
  • 119 Infantry Battalion (TA) Assam – Shillong
  • 120 Infantry Battalion (TA) Bihar – Bhubaneswar
  • 121 Infantry Battalion (TA) Garhwal Rifles – Kolkata
  • 122 Infantry Battalion (TA) Madras - Kannur
  • 123 Infantry Battalion (TA) Grenadiers - Jaipur
  • 124 Infantry Battalion (TA) Sikh – New Delhi
  • 125 Infantry Battalion (TA) Guards – Secunderabad
  • 126 Infantry Battalion (TA) JAK Rifles – c/o 56 APO
  • 150 Infantry Battalion (TA) Punjab – Delhi
  • 151 Infantry Battalion (TA) Jat – Muzaffarpur
  • 152 Infantry Battalion (TA) Sikh – Ludhiana
  • 153 Infantry Battalion (TA) Dogra – Meerut
  • 154 Infantry Battalion (TA) Bihar – Brichgunj (Port Blair)
  • 155 Infantry Battalion (TA) JAK Rifles – Sujanpur
  • 156 Infantry Battalion (TA) (H&H) Punjab – Rajouri
  • 157 Infantry Battalion (TA) (H&H) Sikh – BD Bari
  • 158 Infantry Battalion (TA) (H&H) Sikh LI – Janlot
  • 159 Infantry Battalion (TA) (H&H) Dogra – Thalela
  • 160 Infantry Battalion (TA) (H&H) JAK Rifles – Kupwara
  • 161 Infantry Battalion (TA) (H&H) JAK LI – Baramulla
  • 162 Infantry Battalion (TA) (H&H)
  • 163 Infantry Battalion (TA) (H&H)
  • 164 Infantry Battalion (TA) (H&H) NAGA – Zakhama
  • 165 Infantry Battalion (TA) (H&H) Assam – Imphal
  • 166 Infantry Battalion (TA) (H&H) Assam – Tezpur

Ecological battalions[edit]

  • 128 Infantry Battalion (TA) Rajputana Rifles Eco – Sri Mohangarh
  • 127 Infantry Battalion (TA) Garhwal Rifles Eco - Dehradun
  • 128 Infantry Battalion (TA) Rajputana Rifles Eco - Bikaner
  • 129 Infantry Battalion (TA) JAK LI Eco - Samba
  • 130 Infantry Battalion (TA) Kumaon Eco - Pithoragarh
  • 131 Infantry Battalion (TA) Rajput Eco - Gwalior
  • 132 Infantry Battalion (TA) Rajput Eco - Bhatti Mines, Delhi
  • 133 Infantry Battalion (TA) Eco
  • 134 Infantry Battalion (TA) Assam Eco
  • 135 Infantry Battalion (TA) Assam Eco


Infantry training is carried out on urban and provincial systems.

Urban systems of training
  • Recruit Training: Training is carried out on weekends and holidays. Four hours of training is counted as one day. Thirty-Six days in the first year only including a camp of not less than four days if the trainee volunteers with the written consent of his employer, if any.
  • Annual Training: A minimum of thirty-six days, with extensions up to a maximum of sixty days including a camp for fourteen days.
  • Post Commission Training: All officers are required to undergo ten weeks of post commission training within two years of their commissioning. Ex-officers from the Regular Army or Short Service Commissioned can be exempted from this training at the sole discretion of the commanding officer.
  • Voluntary training to gain additional military training, provided the trainee volunteers with the written consent of the employer if any.
Provincial systems of training
  • Recruit Training: For a continuous period of thirty days in the first year only.
  • Annual Training: For a continuous period of two calendar months in the first and subsequent years.
  • Post commission Training: Officers receive ten weeks of compulsory post commission training within two years of commissioning.
  • Voluntary Training to gain additional military training, provided the trainee volunteers with the written consent of his employer, if any.


Many famous Indians have been members of this force, including Brigadier K P Singh Deo, former Cabinet Minister; Captain Rao Birender Singh, former Chief Minister of the State of Haryana; Subir Raha, former Chairman, ONGC; Padama Shree, Brigadier (Retd) Dr. Kapil Mohan VSM PhD Managing Director, Mohan Meakin Breweries and various present ministers, legislators, senior civil officers and professionals.

Capt. Muthukrishnan Iyyappan, commissioned in 1999 was the first officer of the Territorial Army to be permanently seconded to the regular army. He joined the 3rd battalion of 8 Gorkha Rifles and served a tenure at the Siachen Glacier — again the first officer of Territorial Army to serve in the Siachen Glacier. Capt. Muthukrishnan Iyyappan was also the first officer of the Territorial Army to be posted at the Defense Services Staff College where he was the Officer Commanding - Troops during 1999–2000. His tenure as company commander with the 109 Marata Light Infantry (TA) at Srinagar, the state of Jammu and Kashmir, witnessed the first ever Fidayeen (suicide) attack in the history of Kashmir insurgency in April 2000.[5][6][7]. Capt. Muthukrishnan Iyyappan is currently the MD & CEO of Eka Academy, a corporate training organisation based in Mumbai and Budapest. [8]

Navdeep Singh, a lawyer, is known to have received the highest number of decorations/awards in the Territorial Army.

The Malayalam film star Mohanlal is an honorary lieutenant colonel in the TA (Madras Regiment).

Major Vishal Bakshi, Chairman of VR Industries, was awarded with the Vishisht Seva Medal, on Republic Day, 2010.[9]

Deepak Rao, a military trainer, scientist, author, and physician, is considered to be an authority in the field of close quarter battle training. He was conferred the honorary rank of major in the Territorial Army[10][11] after 17 years of imparting special close quarter battle commando training to the armed forces. He serves as the executive director of the Unarmed and Commando Combat Academy and has been appointed as resource personnel for imparting training in close quarter battle by India's Ministry of Home Affairs.[12]

On 1 November 2011, Mahendra Singh Dhoni 106 INF Bn (TA) PARA and Abhinav Bindra 124 INF Bn (TA) Sikh Li were awarded the rank of lieutenant colonel in the Territorial Army for their respective contributions in the field of cricket and shooting.[10][11]

Mechanical Engineer from Special Class Railway Apprentice 96 Batch, Prashant Kumar Singh, posted as Deputy Chief Mechanical Engineer at Carriage & Wagon Workshop, Alambagh, represented Indian Railways TA at Rashtrapati Bhawan.[13] Captain Prashant Kumar Singh participated and presented the tableau from Railway’s side in Prime minister’s Territorial Army Day parade on 4 October in Parade Ground Delhi. He is the only officer to have received the General Manager Railway Award on the recommendation of the Territorial Army.[14] He represented the Indian Railway Territorial Army before the President of India, Pratibha Devi Singh Patil, at the "Calling on the President" that was held at Rashtrapati Bhawan on 13 October 2011.

Captain Jitender Kumar Sharma, Platoon Commander at 1101 Railway Engineer's Regiment (TA) at Chandigarh, is posted as Senior Coaching Depot Officer at New Delhi Railway Station, having been previously posted in Railway Board. Under his leadership, his depot won the General Manager's Best Coaching Depot Shield in Northern Railway.[citation needed]

Most recently Anurag Thakur, MP from Hamirpur has been commissioned to the rank of lieutenant on 29-July-2016 in Territorial Army.

Honorary officers[edit]

  • Kapil Dev joined the Territorial Army on 24 September 2008 and was commissioned as an honorary lieutenant colonel.[15][16]
  • Mohanlal joined the Territorial Army as an honorary lieutenant colonel on 9 July 2009. The army announced his appointment in December 2008. He is the first and only actor to have been conferred this title. His role in two films, Kirti Chakra and Kurukshetra, as an army member, led to his interest in the army and he voluntarily joined the Territorial Army.[17][18]
  • Deepak Rao was commissioned into the Para TA Regiment with the honorary rank of major by the President of India on 1 November 2011[10][11] for his contribution of 17 years in the modernisation of close quarter battle for the Indian Army.[19] Rao, along with his spouse Dr Seema Rao trained 15,000 soldiers over 17 years in close quarter battle training and hence was cited as India's foremost pioneer and specialist in close quarter warfare by the Indian Ministry of Defence.[20][21] His method of reflex shooting has been used to modernise combat shooting in Northern Command and Eastern Command under the directive of Army commanders. He serves as the executive director of the Unarmed and Commando Combat Academy and has also been appointed as a resource person for imparting training in close quarter battle by India's Ministry of Home Affairs.[12]
  • Mahendra Singh Dhoni Para (TA) and Abhinav Bindra 124 SIKH (TA) were conferred the rank of honorary lieutenant colonel for their respective contributions in the fields of cricket and shooting.[10][11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Indian Defence Force", The Times, 3 March 1917
  2. ^ "Compulsory Service in India: The New Defence Force", The Times, 7 March 1917
  3. ^ "Indian Auxiliary Force: First Year's Success", The Times, 12 October 1921
  4. ^ History
  5. ^ "The First Suicide Bomb in Kashmir". Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies. 11 May 2000. 
  6. ^ "Srinagar suicide bomber was Class 12 student". Asian Age. 22 April 2000. Retrieved 10 July 2016. 
  7. ^ "A virtual War of Freedom in Kashmir". Kashmir Newz Board. 5 Aug 2006. Retrieved 10 July 2016. 
  8. ^ "The Management team of Eka Academy". 
  9. ^ "New Delhi News : Vishisht Seva Medal for TA officer". The Hindu. 26 January 2010. Retrieved 17 August 2012. 
  10. ^ a b c d Firstpost (31 October 2011). "Army to confer Lt Col rank upon Dhoni, Bindra". Firstpost. Retrieved 17 August 2012. 
  11. ^ a b c d "Army to confer Lt Col rank upon Bindra, Dhoni - Rediff.com News". Rediff.com. 31 October 2011. Retrieved 17 August 2012. 
  12. ^ a b "Home Ministry Authorizes". Blackbeltcombat.tripod.com. Retrieved 17 August 2012. 
  13. ^ "Welcome To The Irsme Website". Irsme.nic.in. 13 October 2011. Retrieved 17 August 2012. 
  14. ^ "Article Window". Times of India. 14 October 2011. Retrieved 17 August 2012. 
  15. ^ "Kapil Dev joins Territorial Army". Rediff.com. 31 December 2004. Retrieved 17 August 2012. 
  16. ^ Kapil Dev joins Territorial Army
  17. ^ "Mohanlal wants to join Territorial Army - Movies News News - IBNLive". Ibnlive.in.com. 1 November 2008. Retrieved 17 August 2012. 
  18. ^ Mohanlal to become a Lt Colonel
  19. ^ "State Govt Commendation". Blackbeltcombat.tripod.com. 7 January 2009. Retrieved 17 August 2012. 
  20. ^ "Ministry of Defence, India - Press release". http://pib.nic.in. Retrieved 11 January 2011.  External link in |publisher= (help)
  21. ^ "Ministry of Defence - Report" (PDF). http://pib.nic.in. 11 January 2011. Retrieved 11 January 2011.  External link in |publisher= (help)

External links[edit]