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 MB Ts 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 Chinook Ch-47.
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.
India has an STOVL aircraft carrier (INS Viraat formerly the British Centaur class carrier HMS Hermes, carrying Sea Harriers and soon to be retired), is building two full-length carriers of its own design (INS Vikrant and INS Vishal), and is having the former Soviet Kiev class STOVL carrier Admiral Gorskhov converted to a full-length one, to be called INS Vikramaditya (which is running rather late and over budget). While the original plan was for the Viraat to be retired as soon as the Vikramaditya came into service, delays led to the Viraat being refitted and now it's expected to stay in the fleet until 2020 (which at 60 years of combined British and Indian service is more than twice as long as the hull was designed to last).
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.
The Indian Navy is heading towards blue-water status, being able to seriously deploy outside its own waters.note
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 existance 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 B1B 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.
- Abnormal Ammo: The hollow point "dum dum" rounds were invented here, at the Ordnace Factory in Dum Dum West Bengal
- Badass Creed: Each regiment has a motto as well as one of these as a battle cry.
- Church Militant: Many of those battle cries unabashedly invoke the name of certain Hindu deities to grant them victory, most commonly Kali or Durga. Even the Sikh regiments use a religious phrase.
- The Cavalry: Tank and Awesome Personnel Carrier units are all descended from old cavalry regiments in Kipling's Finest. They even use old cavalry ranks for the enlisted.
- Cool Plane: Besides the Tejes shown above, the Indian Air Force also has the Sukhoi 30 MKI that was custom built to IAF specifications. There is also the FGFA being jointly developed by Sukhoi and the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited company. The Navy was one of few nations to deploy the BAE Sea Harrier. A naval version of the Tejes will soon be rolled out.
- Cool Ship: The Arihant class nuclear missile submarines.
- Damager, Healer, Tank: If you combine the Army Medical Corps with its various Strike corps and Holding corps formations. The army's doctrine is to use designated corps sized units to hold firm against enemy advances, but use other specifically designated strike corps units to strike at the enemy units who have become bogged down.
- Development Hell: Indigenous weapon programs in India have not had great success in terms of fast completion and acceptance. The Arjun MBT has been in development since 1990, the Tejas fighter since 1994, the Arihant class nuclear submarine since 1988 and the new Vikrant aircraft carrier since 1999.
- Hold the Line: The Battle of Longewalla saw a heavy weapons company held off an entire armored brigade for a whole night. The armys Holding Corps are built specifically for defensive battle.
- Insistent Terminology: Senior NCO personnel are always addressed with the honorific "Sahib" by both junior enlisted and officers. By tradition, even the President of India must address them as Sahib.
- All junior enlisted in the Madras Sappers are addressed as "Thambi" (little brother in Tamil). Even the regiment's name qualifies, as it is based in Bangalore note , and Madras has renamed itself to Chennai.
- Some cavalry (armor) regiments still have the word "Horse" in their name.
- The Sapper regiment based in Mumbai still calls itself Bombay Sappers.
- Meaningful Name: A new enlisted soldier is called jawaan meaning "young man", while a newly enlisted cavalryman is called sowar meaning "rider".
- Military Academy: India's National Defence Academy functions like Canada's Royal Canadian Military College - trains prospective officers from all three services in a common curriculum, but does so for only 3 years. Officer cadets then go to a service academy for a year to complete their service specific training.
- There is an institution called the Rashtriya (national) Military College, but that is actually a prep school for NDA aspirants note
- Mountain Man: The army not only has the famous Gorkhas, but also the Kumaon - India's own Gurkhas.
- Old Shame: Notwithstanding the repugnant battle honors from their days as Kipling's Finest, the army doesn't look back fondly at the IPKF counterinsurgency against the LTTE in Sri Lanka. Nor do they want to remember the trouncing they got from the Chinese in 1962.
- Rock Beats Laser: Two instances, once with tanks and another with fighter planes.
- The tank instance was the Battles of Assal Uttar and Phillora where 40s era Centurion tanks crushed the more advanced 60s era Pattons fielded by Pakistanis With Panters.
- The fighter plane instance was small nimble low tech Folland Gnats shooting down Super Sabres and Starfighters.
- Training from Hell: To join the Navy's Marine Commandos, requires a long arduous selection course lasting two years - longer than even the Navy SEA Ls or the British SBS.
- Every infantry officer is expected to complete Commando School - India's equivalent of Ranger School.
- The Counterinsurgency and Jungle Warfare school has recently been taking in US Army Green Berets to train. You know that it is a tough school when the elite forces of other countries come there to train.
- The Parvath Ghatak or "Mountain soldier" school is similarly attended by the world's best elite forces.
- The HAWS or High Altitude Warfare School only lets people in who have passed the previous school.
- Tank Goodness: The Defense Research and Development Organization designed Arjun Main Battle Tank. How good a job they did is questionable, since it took 30 years (1974 to 2004) before any operational Arjuns were produced, and by some accounts the main lessons learned were how not to desing a main battle tank. The Arjun Mk II (still in prototype stage as of 2019) is supposedly a dramatic improvement, though continued purchases of the Russian T-90MS show that at a minimum the Indian Army is hedging its bets.
- True Companions: The Indian Army follows a Regimental system similar to the British Army. Therefore, an enlisted soldier always remains in the same regiment throughout his career, and will always serve with the same squadmates. It is only units who get transferred, so if you are reassigned somewhere, your entire unit gets reassigned there too. Only officers may rotate through assignments.