Ministry of Defence
Branch of Government of India
Ministry of Defence

South Block, Secretariat Building, New Delhi
Ministry overview
Formed15 August 1947; 76 years ago (1947-08-15)
Preceding Ministry
  • Department of Defence (1938–47)
JurisdictionGovernment of India
HeadquartersSecretariat Building
Raisina Hill, New Delhi
28°36′50″N 77°12′32″E / 28.61389°N 77.20889°E / 28.61389; 77.20889
Employees1,400,000[1][2] (active personnel) (2023)

700,000[3] (reserve personnel) (2023)

200,000[4] (civilian) (2014)
Annual budget6.21 lakh crore (US$78 billion) (2024)[5]
Minister responsible
Deputy Minister responsible
Ministry executive
Child agencies

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) (Hindi: रक्षा मंत्रालय; romanized: Raksha Mantralay) is charged with coordinating and supervising all agencies and functions of the government relating directly to national security and the Indian Armed Forces. The President of India is the ceremonial commander-in-chief of the armed forces of the country. The Ministry of Defence provides policy framework and resources to the armed forces to discharge their responsibility in the context of the defence of the country. The Indian Armed Forces (including Indian Army, Indian Air Force, Indian Navy) and Indian Coast Guard under the Ministry of Defence are primarily responsible for ensuring the territorial integrity of India.

As per Statista, MoD is the largest employer in the world[9] with 29.2 lakh (2.92 million) employees.[10][11][12]

At present, the undergoing new creation of National Defence University, for training of military officials and concerned civilian officials, will be administered and overseen by the Ministry. The Ministry organises and runs Republic Day celebrations and parade every year in January at Rajpath, hosting a chief guest. The Ministry has the largest budget among the federal departments of India and currently stands third in military expenditure in the world,[13][14][15] among countries of the world.[16]


A Military Department was created in the Supreme Government of the English East India Company at Kolkata in the year 1776, having the main function to sift and record orders relating to the Army issued by various Departments of the Government of East India Company. The Military Department initially functioned as a branch of the Public Department and maintained a list of Army personnel.[17]

With the Charter Act 1833, the Secretariat of the Government of the East India Company was reorganised into four departments, each headed by a secretary to the Government.[17] The armies in the presidencies of Bengal, Bombay and Madras functioned as the respective presidency armies until April 1895, when the presidency armies were unified into a single Indian Army. For administrative convenience, it was divided into four commands: Punjab (including the North West Frontier), Bengal (including Burma), Madras and Bombay (including Sindh, Quetta and Aden).[17]

The supreme authority over the Indian Army was vested in the Governor General-in-Council, subject to the control of the Crown, which was exercised by the Secretary of State for India. Two members in the council were responsible for military affairs. One was the Military Member, who supervised all administrative and financial matters. The other was the commander-in-chief who was responsible for all operational matters.[17] The Military Department was abolished in March 1906 and was replaced by two separate departments; the Army Department and the Military Supply Department. In April 1909 the Military Supply Department was abolished and its functions were taken over by the Army Department. The Army Department was redesignated as the Defence Department in January 1938. The Department of Defence became the Ministry of Defence under a cabinet minister in August 1947.[17]

Post independences changes

The functions of MoD which in 1947 was mainly logistic support to the armed forces, has undergone far reaching changes. In November 1962, following the 1962 war, a Department of Defence Production was set-up to deal with research, development and production of defence equipment. In November 1965, the Department of Defence Supplies was created for planning and execution of schemes for import substitution of requirements for defence purposes. These two Departments were later merged to form the Department of Defence Production and Supplies.

The Defence Minister, Rajnath Singh addressing an Atmanirbhar Bharat Defence Industry Outreach Webinar, jointly organised by the Society of Indian Defence Manufacturers (SIDM), the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and Department of Defence Production (DDP), Ministry of Defence (MoD), in New Delhi on 27 August 2020. Also seen are General Bipin Rawat, General Manoj Mukund Naravane, Admiral Karambir Singh, Air Chief Marshal R.K.S. Bhadauria, the Defence Secretary, Ajay Kumar, the Secretary (Defence Production) and the Secretary, Raj Kumar, Department of Defence R&D and chairman, DRDO, G. Satheesh Reddy.

In 1980, the Department of Defence Research and Development was created. In January 2004, the Department of Defence Production and Supplies was renamed the Department of Defence Production. A Scientific Adviser to the Defence Minister was appointed to advise on scientific aspects of military equipment and the research and design of defence forces equipment. The Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare was created in 2004.[citation needed]



The Ministry of Defence consists of five departments; Department of Defence (DoD), Department of Military Affairs (DMA), Department of Defence Production (DDP), Department of Defence Research and Development (DRDO), and Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare (DESW). The Defence Secretary of India functions as head of the Department of Defence,[18][19] and is additionally responsible for coordinating the activities of the departments in the ministry.[18][19]

The principal functions of all the departments are as follows:

Universities and institutes

Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, Defence Institute of Advanced Technology, Defence Institute of Psychological Research and National Defence University come under administration and purview of the Ministry of Defence.

Inter-services organisations

Integrated Defence Staff

Main article: Integrated Defence Staff

To ensure a high degree of synergy between the Armed forces, the Government has set up the Integrated Defence Staff, headed by the Chief of Integrated Defence Staff as the chairman. It was created on 1 October 2001 based on the recommendations of the Group of Ministers which was set up in 2000 (post-Kargil) to review India's defence management.[28] It acts as the point organisation for integration of policy, doctrine, war-fighting and procurement by employing best management practices. The chairman of Integrated Defences Staff is a 4-star General (or his equivalent in the Air Force or the Navy).

The first Chief of Defence Staff was General Bipin Rawat, who took over on 1 January 2020.[29]

Chiefs of Staff Committee

"Chiefs of Staff are the authority for advising the Defence Minister and normally through him the Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs on all military matters which require ministerial consideration". The Integrated Defence Staff is '"the principal arm and Secretariat to the Chiefs of Staff Committee".[30][31]


The Chiefs of Staff Committee is composed of: (a) Chief of the Army Staff (COAS); (b) Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS); (c) Chief of the Air Staff (CAS); and (d) Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) (non-voting member). The Scientific Adviser to the Minister of Defence is invited to attend whenever needed.[30]

The senior most member of the COSC is appointed its chairperson. General Bipin Rawat was the last head of COSC.[32]

The position of COSC has ceased to exit with the creation of Chief of Defence Staff.

General Bipin Rawat was appointed the first Chief of Defence Staff in 2019. He died in a helicopter crash on 8 December 2021.


The responsibility for national defence "rests with the Cabinet, which 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 Raksha Mantri (Defence Minister) is the head of the Ministry of Defence."[17]

The Defence Ministry is responsible for "obtaining policy directions of the Government on all defence and security related matters" and communicating these directions to "Services Headquarters, Inter-Services Organisations, Production Establishments and Research and Development Organisations".[17] The MoD works closely with the National Security Council, Ministry of External Affairs and the Ministry of Home Affairs.


MoD is headed by the Minister of Defence, who is supported by one, or more than one, minister of state.[17]

Minister Designation Portfolio
Rajnath Singh Minister of Defence Overall responsibility.
Ajay Bhatt Minister of State for Defence Charter of duties includes secondary logistic and administrative functions.

Senior officials

There are about 400,000 defence civilians, under the MOD including Ministry of Finance personnel attached to MOD. In 2015–16 Defence pension bill was 54,500 crore (equivalent to 780 billion or US$9.8 billion in 2023) of which about 36 per cent was on account of defence civilians.[66]

Defence Secretary, other senior officials and Scientific Adviser to Defence Minister

See also: Defence Secretary (India) and Defence Production Secretary

The ministers are supported by a number of civilian, scientific and military advisers.

The Defence Secretary as head of the Department of Defence,[18] is the senior most civil servant in the ministry and is responsible for coordinating the activities of the four departments in the ministry.[18] His/her role is to ensure that the MoD operates effectively as a department of the government.[33][34][18] Defence Secretary is assisted by additional secretaries and joint secretaries to Government of India posted in the ministry. The Defence Secretary, generally, is an officer from the Indian Administrative Service, apart from the Defence Secretary, there are three other secretary-level posts in the Ministry of Defence.

Scientific Adviser to Defence Minister plays a key role in formulation of research and development policies and promoting self-reliance in Indian defence industries.

Senior officials in the Ministry of Defence[35][36][37][38]
Name Designation
Giridhar Aramane, IAS Defence Secretary
Giridhar Aramane, IAS Secretary (Defence Production)
Niten Chandra, IAS Secretary (Ex-servicemen Welfare)
Sameer V. Kamat Secretary (Defence Research and Development) and chairman, DRDO
Sanjiv Mittal, IDAS Financial Adviser

Civil services under MoD

Civil Services under the Ministry of Defence
S. No. Name of service Group
1 Indian Naval Material Management Service A
2 Border Roads Engineering Service A
3 Defence Aeronautical Quality Assurance Service A
4 Defence Quality Assurance Service A
5 Defence Research and Development Service A
6 Indian Defence Accounts Service A
7 Indian Defence Contract Management Service A
8 Indian Defence Estates Service A
9 Indian Defence Service of Engineers A
10 Indian Naval Armament Service A
11 Indian Ordnance Factories Service A
12 Indian Ordnance Factories Health Service A
13 Armed Forces Headquarters Civil Services B

Finance Division

The Finance Division of the Ministry of Defence is headed by the Financial Adviser (Defence Services). The financial advisor exercises financial control over proposals involving expenditure from the Defence Budget and is responsible for the internal audit and accounting of defence expenditure. In the latter tasks, the financial advisor is assisted by the Controller General of Defence Accounts.

Chiefs of the tri-services and Defence Staff

In 1955, the title of Commander-in-Chief was abolished and the three service chiefs were designated as the Chief of the Army Staff, the Chief of the Naval Staff and the Chief of the Air Staff. The heads of the three services of Indian Armed Forces are:

Vice Chiefs of the tri-services


SRIJAN portal

The SRIJAN is a portal launched by MoD in order to take up the products imported for indigenisation. According to Ministry; it displays defence products that have been imported recently and will tag with the Defence Public sector undertakings, Ordinance Factory Board and others in order to push for its domestic manufacturing for exports in future.[39]

See also


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  2. ^ "20% Sailor Shortage in Navy, 15% Officer Posts Vacant In Army, Nirmala Sitharaman Tells Parliament". 27 December 2023.
  3. ^ IISS 2023, pp. 243–248
  4. ^ "Report of the 7th Central Pay Commission of India" (PDF). Seventh Central Pay Commission, Government of India. Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 November 2015. Retrieved 13 August 2017.
  5. ^ {}
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  7. ^ "DRDO". Archived from the original on 17 June 2018. Retrieved 17 June 2018.
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  12. ^ "With 2.92 million people, Indian defence ministry is world's biggest employer". The Times of India. 29 October 2022. Retrieved 29 October 2022.
  13. ^ Behera, Laxman K. (2 February 2018). "Defence Budget 2018-19: The Imperative of Controlling Manpower Cost". Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses. Retrieved 19 February 2018.
  14. ^ Peri, Dinakar (1 February 2018). "Modest hike in defence budget, pensions see sharp rise". The Hindu. New Delhi. ISSN 0971-751X. OCLC 13119119. Retrieved 19 February 2018.
  15. ^ Pandit, Rajat (1 February 2018). "Budget 2018: Govt hikes defence budget by 7.81%, but it's just 1.58% of GDP & lowest since 1962". The Times of India. New Delhi. OCLC 23379369. Retrieved 18 February 2018.
  16. ^ Tian, Nan; Fleurant, Aude; Wezeman, Pieter D.; Wezeman, Siemon T. (April 2017). "Trends in World Military Expenditure, 2016" (PDF). Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. Retrieved 24 April 2017.
  17. ^ a b c d e f g h "ABOUT THE MINISTRY". Ministry of Defence, Government of India. Retrieved 14 January 2018.
  18. ^ a b c d e f "About DoD". Department of Defence, Government of India. Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  19. ^ a b c d e f g "Annual Report (2016-17)" (PDF). Ministry of Defence, Government of India. Retrieved 14 January 2018.
  20. ^ "Cabinet Secretariat Notification" (PDF). Gazette of India. 30 December 2019. Retrieved 25 February 2020.
  21. ^ "Government of India (Allocation of Business) Rules, 1961 (As Amended up to 31st January, 2017)" (PDF). Gazette of India. 31 January 2017. Retrieved 25 February 2020.
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  23. ^ "Govt sets up Dept of Military Affairs to be headed by Chief of Defence Staff". Hindustan Times. 24 December 2019. Retrieved 24 December 2019.
  24. ^ "Cabinet Secretariat Notification" (PDF). Gazette of India. 30 December 2019. Retrieved 25 February 2020.
  25. ^ "About The DDP". Department of Defence Production, Government of India. Archived from the original on 4 February 2017. Retrieved 22 January 2018.
  26. ^ "Genesis & Growth". Defence Research and Development Organization, Government of India. Retrieved 22 January 2018.
  27. ^ "About DESW". Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare, Government of India. Retrieved 22 January 2018.
  28. ^ "About IDS > History". Integrated Defence Staff. Retrieved 14 January 2018.
  29. ^ "Lt Gen Satish Dua takes over as CISC". Press Information Bureau of India. 3 November 2016. Retrieved 14 January 2018.
  30. ^ a b "THE CHIEFS OF STAFF COMMITTEE". Integrated Defence Staff. Retrieved 14 January 2018.
  31. ^ "Welcome message from Chief of Integrated Defence Staff". Integrated Defence Staff. Retrieved 14 January 2018.
  32. ^ "Air Chief Marshal Dhanoa gets baton of COSC chief". The Hindu. 29 May 2019.
  33. ^ "ABOUT THE MINISTRY". Ministry of Defence, Government of India. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
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  39. ^ "rajnath-singh-launches-online-portal-srijan-to-promote-indigenisation-in-defence-production". Retrieved 2 September 2020.