Who is the Field Marshal of Indian Army?

By Priya Gupta|Updated : October 7th, 2022

This article will address the commonly asked question, "Who is the Field Marshal of Indian Army?". The highest possible rank in the Indian Army is Field Marshal (or field marshal, abbreviated as FM), a five-star general officer title. Although it is not used in the structure of the regular army, Field Marshal is the rank directly above general.

Field Marshal of Indian Army

Candidates are advised to go through the entire article as this might help you during your NDA Exam and other Defence exams. Currently, there isn't a Field Marshal in the Indian Army. Sam Manekshaw received the title of Field Marshal on January 1, 1973, becoming India's first Field Marshal. The rank was given to Kodandera M. Cariappa on January 15, 1986, making him the second recipient.

With only two awards, it is primarily a ceremonial or military rank. The national anthem is displayed over a crossed baton and saber in a lotus blossom wreath as the Indian Army Field Marshal's insignia. An officer who has retired from active duty cannot attain the Field Marshal rank because it is a lifelong rank. 

Just before retiring in 1973, Manekshaw received the position of Field Marshal, and Cariappa had already retired, so he could not be appointed a Field Marshal following the convention. To show Cariappa the respect he deserved, the Indian government ignored this tradition, and in 1986 he was appointed a field marshal.

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FAQs on Field Marshal of Indian Army

  • Sam Manekshaw received it for the first time in 1973 in honor of his devotion and leadership during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971. After the war, in 1971, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi chose to elevate Manekshaw to Field Marshal in the Indian Army before appointing him as the Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS).

  • Kodandera M. Cariappa, the first Indian to hold the position of commander-in-chief of the Indian Army, was the second person to receive the rank. At a special investiture ceremony conducted at Rashtrapati Bhavan on January 15, 1986, the Government of India disregarded the established requirements. It granted him the rank of Field Marshal as a gesture of appreciation for the excellent service he had provided to the country.


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