India Reserve Forces
Sources: The Library of Congress Country Studies; CIA World Factbook
India's "second line of defense" is composed of several citizen mass organizations. These include the Territorial Army, a voluntary, part-time civilian force that receives military training and serves as a reserve force for the army "to relieve [it] of static duties, to aid the civil power, and to provide units for the regular Army, if and when required." It was raised in 1949 and has been used in times of war and domestic disturbances. Organizationally, Territorial Army personnel are raised from among employees of government agencies and public-sector enterprises and are formed into departmental units. Nondepartmental units are raised from other citizens, including former active-duty military personnel. In the early 1990s, Territorial Army units saw service in Jammu and Kashmir and along the northern and western borders of India and in support of paramilitary units subordinate to the Ministry of Home Affairs.
The National Cadet Corps, which is open to young men and women, was established in 1948 to develop discipline and leadership qualities useful in life and particularly for potential service in the armed forces. The semiautonomous organization receives guidance from the ministries of education and defence at the central level and from state-level governments at the local level. It is organized into army, navy, and air force wings, and its ranks correspond to those in the respective armed forces.
Civil Defence Volunteers are under the leadership of a small paid cadre, who are trained to provide early warning communications at the town level. They also participate in civil works construction projects and natural disaster relief work. Subordination is through the local state or territory government and the Ministry of Home Affairs.
The Home Guards are a voluntary force raised by state and territory governments under the guidance of the Ministry of Home Affairs. Home Guards undergo minimal training and receive pay only when called for duty. They assist the police in crime prevention and detection; undertake watch and patrol duties; and aid in disaster relief, crowd control, and the supervision of elections. The central government reimburses the states and territories at varying rates for expenses incurred in the performance of Home Guard duties.
Space and Nuclear Programs
India detonated its first and only nuclear device at Pokharan in the Rajasthan Desert in May 1974. Subsequently and in all likelihood as a consequence of international pressure, India has chosen not to conduct any further tests. At a formal level, Indian officials and strategists deny that India possesses nuclear weapons and refer to India's position as an "options strategy," which essentially means maintaining the nuclear weapons option and exercising it should regional and international conditions so warrant. In pursuit of this end, India refuses to sign the 1968 Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. Formally, Indian officials argue that India's refusal to sign the treaty stems from its fundamentally discriminatory character; the treaty places restrictions on the nonnuclear weapons states but does little to curb the modernization and expansion of the nuclear arsenals of the nuclear weapons states.
The Indian ballistic missile program has some elements in common with the nuclear program. Under the aegis of the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme, India is developing rockets of varying ranges: the Agni, the Prithvi, the Akash, the Trishul, and the Nag. The Agni, which former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi referred to as a "technology demonstrator," was first test fired in May 1989 and again in May 1992. In 1995 it was not yet operational, but it has intercontinental ballistic missile potential. The Prithvi--which some sources reported had an operational unit raised in 1995 and deployed along the Pakistani border--is a tactical, short-range surface-to-surface missile designed by the DRDO as part of India's antimissile defense system. Based on the Soviet Scud missile, its 250-kilogram payload can be launched from a mobile launcher. The Trishul is a sea-skimming short-range missile. The Akash is a multitarget surface-to-air missile that was being test fired in 1994 and 1995. The Nag is essentially an antitank missile.
The Indian missile program has been of concern to the United States, which, under the terms of the Missile Technology Control Regime, imposed sanctions against the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in June 1992. In July 1993, the United States prevailed upon the Russian space agency, Glavkosmos, not to transfer cryogenic rocket engines to India (see Russia; United States, ch. 9). The ISRO decided it would develop the engine on its own by 1997 while continuing to seek purchase of modified versions of the engines from Russia. Seven such cryogenic engines were scheduled for delivery by Glavkosmos between 1996 and 1999. In keeping with its agreement with the United States, Glavkosmos was not going to transfer additional technology for cryogenic engines. However, cryogenic engine technology transfer had begun in 1991, and hence leading ISRO officials were confident about their 1997 projection.
Data as of September 1995
NOTE: The information regarding India on this page is re-published from The Library of Congress Country Studies and the CIA World Factbook. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of India Reserve Forces information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about India Reserve Forces should be addressed to the Library of Congress and the CIA.