The Indian military. India has fought a number of wars against Pakistan and China since independence in 1947 and generally acquitted itself pretty well.
Much of India's military equipment is Soviet/Russian in origin (hence the "Iglas" in the title, the Igla being a Russian man-portable SAM), sometimes licence-built, with India continuing to buy mostly Russian today. This trend is the result of a combination of factors, but the most important are the Bangladesh Liberation War, where America armed Pakistan, and the long-standing Pakistani alliance with China, which stopped being friendly with the USSR sometime during the late '50s or early '60s. In the lead-up to the war, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi scored a surprise coup with with the Indo-Soviet Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation, an public declaration of support to offset Pakistani's American support (like the nuclear-armed ''Enterprise'' carrier) which allowed direct Indian intervention into Bangladesh.
Since then, India has been loaned Tu-142 "Bear" reconnaissance aircraft, has a version of the Su-30 and may get Tu-22M "Backfires" at some point in the future. It will soon get an Akula class SSN from the Russians, albeit without the long-range missiles due to the Russian Federation being a signatory to the Missile Technology Control Regime (a 34-country agreement barring the export of missiles with a range of 300km plus). It is also partnering with Russia on the FGFA, a derivative of the PAK FA (the Russian rival to the F-22). More importantly, the positive performance of Soviet-made tanks against their American-built counterparts in the Indo-Pakistani wars of 1965 and 1971 has led the Indian Army to rely extensively on contemporary Russian equipment, with its principle MBTs being the T-72 (of which it has 2,400) and the T-90 (with as many as 900). Indian and Russian armor commanders regularly perform joint exercises, following the example of their air forces.
However, India, a non-aligned country during the Cold War (with a mutual defense treaty with the USSR), also has plenty of equipment from the UK and France (including Mirage 2000s, Sea Harriers, and licence-built SEPECAT Jaguar attack aircraft) and has recently placed orders for C-130J Super Hercules transports and P-8I Poseidon maritime patrol planes from the United States (which signed a civil nuclear agreement with India in 2005 and has generally been ingratiating itself with New Delhi since 2000). The most recent procurement deal of this kind occurred in 2011, when the Indian Air Force agreed to purchase the French Dassault Rafale (with 16 fighters to be bought from French factories and the remaining 108 to be manufactured in India). India has also begun the process of augmenting its Russian helicopters with the American CH-47 Chinooks and AH-64 Apaches.
As (then) part of the British Empire, the Indian army fought alongside British, Canadians, and ANZACs in both world wars. The Indian military has continued to be very similar to Britain in organization and doctrine—particularly in its continuation of the British Indian Army's regimental system and battle honours, including retention of honours earned during the colonial periodnote —down to using that most deadly of close quarter weapons, the bagpipe. The Indian military is a very effective Western style force that uses an extensive amount of Russian gear, not the rather more common Soviet style client state.
Consisting of 295 ships, 246 aircraft, and 67,000 active personnel, the Indian Navy is heading towards blue-water status, being able to seriously deploy outside its own waters.note
They have an aircraft carrier, the INS Vikramaditya (formerly the Soviet Kiev class STOVL carrier Admiral Gorskhov, converted to a full-length one), which entered service in 2014. It is also building two additional full-length carriers of its own design (INS Vikrant and INS Vishal).
India has also been rather busy on its own stuff; the new carrier is locally-developed and India is developing its own nuclear subs, possibly nuclear-capable. There has also been a light fighter aircraft, the HAL Tejas, developed. India seeks to become a new superpower, and thus considers the ability to design and produce its own world-class weaponry a top priority.
Indian Air Force
India's Field Marshal in the 1971 war with Pakistan, the recently-deceased Sam Hormusji Framji Jamshedji Manekshaw, was the epitome of an Officer and a Gentleman. Each of the "ji's" in his name was an affectionate honorific added by his troops.
While they have many examples of Crazy Awesome, the existence of a camel-mounted marching band is probably toward the top of the list.
India has been a nuclear power since 1974 (and had been capable of being so for awhile earlier), testing its first bomb under the wonderful codename Smiling Buddha. It conducted further tests in 1998.
Just how many bombs it has and how rapidly deployable they are is a subject of speculation, but India is developing an ICBM (Surya, meaning "Sun" in several Indian languages) and possibly ballistic missile subs. The recent development of nuclear weapons by India's perennial nemesis, Pakistan, has raised fears worldwide that the next Indo-Pakistani War will be the world's first atomic war.
India has a no-first-use policy. While not a member of the NPT, it shows no signs of being interested in proliferating whatsoever and is too politically stable to have its weapons fall into the wrong hands. On the other hand, the command and control structures for nuclear weapons in India are not as tight and clear-cut as many analysts would like them to be.
The Indian military in fiction:
- Shows up in some of the later Tom Clancy novels, such as Executive Orders and Debt of Honor. Not really described in full, and generally used somewhere between Mooks and The Dragon by the actual Big Bad of whatever is going on.
- In Debt of Honor, some B-1B Lancers break their best carrier, Vikrant, by flying very close to it and going supersonic. There are no diplomatic consequences for this. At the time, however, India was attempting to invade Sri Lanka, and the United States had chosen to guarantee Sri Lanka's sovreignty, so whatever consequences may have resulted from the Vikrant flyby were small potatoes compared to the larger geopolitical conflict going on.
- Fights a war of aggression against Burma and Thailand in Shadow of the Hegemon. Sabotaged by the evil teenage mastermind Achilles who is manipulating the Indian government so that the Chinese can wipe the floor with them after they have been exhausted by a long campaign against fierce Thai attacks on their supply lines. Petra Arkanian, the Armenian tactical genius captured by Achilles had predicted exactly this result and issued a plan that anticipated the Thai strategy (masterminded by her former classmate Bean), but Achilles put the kibosh on that. The result is that India is occupied by China until a Muslim army under a new Caliphate (headed by their classmate Alai) liberates India.
- A brief mention comes up in WarGames. One of the nuclear war scenarios that WOPR runs through is India and Pakistan finally losing it.
- The main character of Main Hoon Na is a major in the Indian military.
- In Pukar, if they aren't a terrorist, they're connected with the Indian military.
- On nuclear arsenal, we have Nuclear Gandhi of Civilization to thank. While it may seems odd that Gandhi the pacifist would favor nukes, as noted in the above blurb, the only thing that is truly at odd is the AI's frequent first use of nukes. Later installments do correct the aggression, but keep the nuke worship; as a result, it's quite difficult to piss Gandhi off, but he will try to reduce your civilization to radioactive craters if you accomplish it.
- Shows up in Season 1 of Chris Ryan's Strike Back attempting to retake a hotel in New Delhi from hostage takers.
- Before Shahrukh Khan became a big name in Bollywood, he starred in a short lived TV show called Faujitranslation about Indian Army Para-Commando trainees.
- In SEAL Team season 2 episode 21, an Indian Air Force helicopter arrives to provide emergency exfiltration for Bravo Team from their failed mission in Kashmir. Due to the volatile situation in that region, the helicopter is operating under the guise of "military exercises." It also happens to be a helicopter that the Indian military does not use, most probably because the production studio does not have access to actual Russian & Indian copters that are in the IAF's inventory.
- Indian special forces finally show up on the scene in the ending of Hotel Mumbai to secure the titular hotel and neutralize the Islamic terrorists slaughtering civilians inside.
- The blockbuster movie Uri: The Surgical Strike features the Para Commandoes front and center, being based off of the September 29, 2016 cross-border raid into Pakistan-occupied Kashmir in retaliation for a terrorist attack on the Uri frontline base that got 19 Indian soldiers killed.