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A volunteer military, or all-volunteer military, is one that derives its manpower from volunteers rather than conscription or mandatory service. A country may offer attractive pay and benefits by military recruitment to attract volunteers. Many countries with volunteer militaries reserve the right to renew conscription in the event of an emergency.
The Indian Army is the world's largest standing volunteer army. According to the International Institute for Strategic Studies, in 2010 the army had a strength of 1,129,900 active personnel and 960,000 reserve personnel. Formerly, the pre-independence British Indian Army was also an all-volunteer force, at its peak having some 2,500,000 personnel.
In recent decades, the trend among numerous countries has been to move from conscription to all-volunteer military forces. One significant example is in France, which has historically been the first to introduce modern conscription; its model was followed by many other countries in Europe and elsewhere around the world.
- Military service
- Military volunteer
- United States Volunteers
- Volunteer Force (Great Britain)
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