Various defence forces of India and their roles

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Aspirants who aim to join various defence forces have to clear exams like AFCAT, NDA, CDS Exam. India is a secular country having a total of 29 states and 7 Union Territories. The population of India is composed of people belonging to different religions, communities and verbalizing different languages. India is sharing its border with Pakistan, China, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, And Myanmar. Neighboring countries like Pakistan and China keep on haunting India with their terror attacks. Along with these external issues, India is facing various internal issues arising because of disputes among people of different caste and creed. In order to solve such issues, India needs to maintain its forces.

Various defence forces of India and their roles

Indian armed forces consist of defence forces, paramilitary forces and strategic forces. Along with defence forces of India, The Indian Airforces and Navy forces are responsible for maintaining peace and security of the nation. Candidates who desire to crack CDS exam can join a leading institute that provides the best CDS coaching in chandigarh. These forces are given the responsibility of maintaining the peace and security of the motherland. 

Let us discuss various defence forces of India in detail :

  • Indo-Tibetan border police (ITBP)

It was established 24th October 1962 after the 1962 Sino-Indian conflict. It was created under the CRPF Act. Assam Rifles in Sikkim were replaced by ITBP in 2004.

The current Director-general of ITBP(2022) is S.S. Deswal. 

The role of ITBP is discussed as below:

  • The Indo-Tibetan border police guard the border with China and monitor the northern borders. 
  • Detecting and preventing violation on the border.
  • Keeping an eye on illegal immigration and trans-border smuggling.
  • The states guarded by ITBP are Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttrakhand, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh.
  • National Security Guard (NSG)

This force is highly trained to deal with militants effectively. It was established on 22nd September 1986.  This is a special force that works under the ministry of home affairs. These forces played a major role in countering the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack.

Its role is mentioned hereunder:

  • To counter the surge of militancy in the country.
  • Provides assistance to local police and special forces.
  • To fight against terrorists.
  • Guarding the states during internal disturbances.
  • Central Industrial Security Force (CISF)

The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) was established in 1969 under The CISF Act, 1968. This is the only force that has a customized and dedicated fire wing. The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) is a compensatory cost force. At present Director-General of CISF (2022) is S.K. Jaiswal.

The role of this force is discussed as below:

  • It provides security to the public sector undertakings, airports and special economic zone (SEZ’S).
  • It is efficient in providing security cover to nuclear installments, space establishments, seaports, airports and sensitive government buildings. 
  • It also provides Z+, Z, X and Y security. 
  • Border Security force (BSF)

BSF is also considered as India’s First Line Defence. It was established on 1st December 1965. It works under the control of the ministry of home affairs. The current Director-General of BSF (2022) – Shri Rakesh Asthana, IPS.

BSF’s role is explained in points mentioned below:

  • It ensures security on various borders of India and headed by an IPS officer.
  • It takes various defensive actions during the time of war to free up Indian Army troops to carry out offensive operations.
  •  Assisting the CRPF and army in counter-insurgency operations.
  • Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF)

It was established by the enactment of CRPF Act 1949. It came into subsistence as Crown Representative’s Police in 1939 for internal security. The current Director-General of CRPF (2022) is Dr. A P Maheshwari, IPS.

The role of CRPF is mentioned below:

  • The primary mission of the Central Reserve Police Force is counter-insurgency operations.
  • It also assists the State and Union Territories in police operations to maintain law and order.
  • Apart from this, the force participates as a police force in the UN peace-keeping missions.
  • The CRPF maintains a special operation unit known as Commando Battalion for Resolute Action(COBRA) to combat Maoist insurgents.
  • Assam rifles

It was established in 1835 and is the oldest paramilitary force in India. It is often referred to as  the“Friends of the Hill People”, “Friends of the North East People” and the “Sentinels of the North East”. It is headed by an Army officer of the rank of Lieutenant General. It currently reports to the Ministry of Home Affairs. The administrative control of Assam Rifles is with MHA while the operational control is with the Ministry of Defence.

Role of assam rifles:

  • They guard the 1,643 km long Indo-Myanmar border since 2002.
  •  This force plays a crucial role in North East India, handling counterinsurgency and border security operations.

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  • Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB)

The sashastra seema bal was established in 1963. The current SSB chief (2022) is Kumar Rajendra Chandra, IPS.

Role of SSB: 

  • They guard Indo-Nepal and Indo-Bhutan Borders.
  • They are also deployed during elections as polling booth security.
  • They are deployed to control anti-national activities and inculcate feelings of national belonging in the border population among others. 
  • It also acts against smuggling and other illegal activities.


There are seven main defence forces as discussed above. Each of these forces performs a separate function. They operate under the Ministry of Home affairs. Each of the forces is led by an IPS officer with the eminent exception of the Assam Rifles which is headed by an Army officer of the rank of Lieutenant General. 

There are several aspirants who aim to join defence forces. For getting selected in defence forces candidates need to clear a  government exam. Are you one of those candidates who want to clear the NDA exam? If yes, join a leading institute which can provide the best NDA coaching in Chandigarh.