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  • Writer's pictureCol. DJS Chahal

Is Territorial Army like Regular Army and do the Officers become Permanent?


The Territorial Army (TA) is a volunteer force that is recruited and trained to relieve the regular troops from static security duties in the rear areas during operations, like manning of important bridge, guarding lines of communications in the hinterland and security of important installations, supply dumps, etc.

In case of a threat to the security of the country, the TA units may be called upon to augment the resources of the Regular Army units, e.g. some TA units are periodically deployed in the active counter insurgency areas to provide assistance in certain essential static duties.

Territorial Army provided a yeoman service during ‘Operation Pawan’ in Sri Lanka, ‘Operation Rakshak’ in Punjab and J&K, ‘Operation Rhino’ and ‘Operation Bajrang’ in the North East. Moreover, Territorial Army units were actively involved in military operations in 1962, 1965 and 1971.

The second very important task that the TA is trained to do is, to assist the 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.

In an exigency where a section of a particular department goes on a strike or is rendered defunct for whatever reasons, certain departmental Territorial Army units have been raised and they are trained to take on the onerous duties being performed by the railway, IOC, ONGC, telecommunication and General Hospital.

Departmental units came to the aid of the civil authorities during various industrial unrest and natural calamities, most famous being earthquake in Latur (Maharashtra), Uttarkashi and super cyclone in Orissa.

Besides these, certain non-departmental Territorial Army units of infantry battalions and ecological battalions affiliated to various infantry regiments also exist.

The Ecological units have arrested man made environmental degradation by planting 25 million trees over 20,000 hectares of land in Mussoorie hills & Pithoragarh (Uttarakhand), Bikaneer & Jaisalmer (Rajasthan) and ravines of Chambal in Madhya Pradesh.

Historical Background

The Indian Defence Force Act was promulgated in 1917 and it made conscription (compulsory military service) mandatory for all Europeans permanently residing in British India between the ages of 16 and 50.

The Indian Defence Force incorporated the Europeans and Indians in separate sections, i.e. the British and the Indian sections. While Indians joined the force as volunteers, the Europeans were conscripted. The major reason to establish this force was to release regular troops from garrison duties during the First World War.

Later in the year 1920, the Territorial Army was raised by the Britishers. It had two wings, 'The Auxiliary Force' for Europeans & Anglo-Indians and ‘The Indian Territorial Force’ for Indian Volunteers.

Territorial Army Act was passed in 1948 and TA was raised after it was formally inaugurated by the first Indian Governor General Shri C Rajagopalachari on 09 Oct 1949, which is celebrated every year as the Prime Minister's TA Day Parade.

The Territorial Army initially had various types of units such as armoured regiments, infantry battalions, air defence, medical regiments, engineer field park companies, signal regiments, Electronic 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 into Regular Army units with the exception of infantry battalions.

The Territorial Army has a present strength of approximately 40,000 first line troops (and 160,000 second line troops).

Is Territorial Army like Regular Army and do the Officers become Permanent?

This is a question which most candidates who are applying for TA will have. Well, Territorial Army is part of the Regular Army, but is an adhoc force that is recruited from already “employed or self-employed” candidates.

The TA units get embodied every year for a two to three months training camp and then, it gets disembodied. The personnel go back to their respective trades in the civil; some of them are banker, lawyer, agriculturists, etc.

The rationale behind the above mentioned exercise is that the personnel get a reorientation training every year, so that they can be suitable employed as and when the need arises, without having to bear their persistent expenditure when not embodied (salary is given only for the period of embodiment).

The good news for the TA aspirants is that since there is a major shortage of officers, most of the officers, who volunteer to continue serving beyond their embodiment period every year, are retained. The promotion of the officers is based on their record of service and the length of active service they put in.

Therefore, the TA officers in the present day context continue to serve and get promoted like other regular officers. The standard embodiment periods include the following:

  • One month basic training in the first year of commission.

  • Two months annual training camp every year including the first year.

  • Three months Post Commissioning training within first two years at IMA Dehradun.

Miscellaneous Aspects

Age Limit: Between 18-42 years on the date of submitting the application form.

Educational Qualification: Graduation from any recognized university.

Employment Criteria: Gainfully Employed in Central/ State Govt. / Semi Govt. / Pvt Firm/ Own business/ Self Employed. (Serving Employees of Armed Forces/ Police/ Para Military Forces are not eligible).

Application Form: Candidates may obtain application form from Employment Newspaper or can download from

How to Apply: Eligible male candidates & Ex-service officers may send their application in the prescribed format along with self addressed stamped envelope of 28×12 cms size, two passport size photographs & postal stamps worth Rs 27/- affixed on envelope to the respective Territorial Army Group Headquarters before the notified date.

The addresses and contact numbers of various Territorial Army Group Headquarters are as given below:

  • Chandigarh: PIB Cell, TA Group Headquarters, Western Command, Building No.750, Sector-8B, Chandigarh-160 009. Ph No. 0172-2547864.

  • Lucknow & Patna: PIB Cell, TA Group Headquarters Central Command, Lucknow (UP) – 226002. Ph No.0522-2482278.

  • Kolkata & Shillong: PIB Cell, TA Group Headquarters, Eastern Command, Fort William,Kolkata (WB) - 700021. Ph No.033-22313227.

  • Jaipur, Pune, Bangaluru & Hyderabad: PIB Cell, TA Group Headquarters Southern Command, Pune-411001. Ph No. 7768003601, 02026880123.

  • Udhampur & Srinagar: PIB Cell, TA Group Headquarters Northern Command, Udhampur (J&K) – 182101 Ph No.01992 243592

Selection Process

Candidates whose application forms are found correct are called for screening (Written Exam and Interview) by a Preliminary Interview Board (PIB) by the respective TA Group Headquarters.

Successful candidates further undergo evaluation at a Service Selection Board (SSB), which is exactly similar to SSB for any other entry. The selection at the SSB is followed by a Medical Board for final selection.




Nos. of Questions




Reasoning and Elementary Mathematics





General Knowledge and English



Time: Maximum time for each paper is 02 hrs and will be conducted in two sessions from 10:00 hrs to 12:00 hrs and 14:00 hrs to 16:00 hrs.

Type of Exam: Objective (OMR Answer Sheet will be used).

Qualifying Marks: The candidates will have to score minimum 40% marks in each paper separately and have an overall average of 50% to qualify.

Penalty for Wrong Answers: There will be penalty imposed for wrong answers marked by a candidate as under:-

  • There will be four possible answers to every question. For each question for which a wrong answer has been given by the candidate, half of the mark assigned to that question will be deducted as penalty.

  • If a candidate gives more than one answer, it will be treated as a wrong answer even if one of the given answers happens to be correct. Penalty will be imposed as above.

  • There will be no penalty for questions not attempted.


I wish to highlight that all those candidates who have a lot of passion for joining the forces, but were unable to join through the regular avenues, and have become overage, Territorial Army offers them a golden opportunity to finally convert their dreams into reality.

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