Difference Between Paramilitary, Military and Central Armed Police Force

There is a common misconception that any armed uniform personnel is either part of the military, paramilitary, central armed police force or sometimes with  either of the three services

All the three are different in every aspect save for the single goal of protecting India from an existential threat, external or otherwise.

Paramilitary Forces are auxiliary units that assist the defence forces and they include the Assam Rifles and Special Frontier Force (SFF)

The Military comes under the general term of “Defence Forces of India” which is mandated to protect the country from external forces. It includes the army, Navy and the Air Force.

The Central Armed Police Force (CAPF) is responsible for acting against any internal security threat. It includes forces such as the Central Industrial Security Force and ITPB (Indo-Tibetan Border Police)

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The differences between Paramilitary, Military and Central Armed Police Force are given in the table below:                                             

Differences between Paramilitary, Military and Central Armed Police Force

Paramilitary Military

Central Armed Police Force

Protection of resources from internal threats like Left-Wing Extremism, Insurgents etc Protecting the external borders of the country from terrorism and aggression from other countries These forces provide security to key economic installations from any existential threat they also function on the borders to check illegal border crossings, encroachments, smuggling 
Varied. Dependent upon the forces in question. For example, Assam Rifles reports to the Ministry of Home Affairs while the Coast Guard reports to the Ministry of Defence Ministry of Defence Ministry of Home Affairs
  • Assam Rifles
  • Indian Coast Guard
  • Special Frontier Force
  • Indian Army
  • Indian Air Force
  • Indian Navy
  • Central Reserve Police Force
  • Central Industrial Security Force
  • Indo-Tibetan Border Police Force
3 Star Officer of Equivalent Rank of Director General of Police 4 Star Officer of Equivalent Rank of General of Army As it comes under the Home Ministry it is headed by an IPS (Indian Police Service) Officer A CAPF cadre can officially reach the post of Assistant Director-General of Police but the Director-General post is reserved for IPS
Some of the paramilitary wings such as the Assam Rifles originated in 1835 while the Coast Guard originated as late as 1978 The Indian Military in its current form began from the native armies of the East India Company, which later became the British Indian Army and later was merged into the national army upon independence The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) is the largest industrial security force with over 165,000 personnel

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