India is the Army's oldest mission field. Frederick St George de Latour Tucker, of the Indian Civil Service, read a copy of The War Cry, became a Salvationist and, as Major Tucker (later Commissioner Booth-Tucker), took the Indian name of Fakir Singh and commenced Army work in Bombay on 19 September 1882. The adoption of Indian food, dress, names and customs gave the pioneers ready access to the people, especially in the villages. In addition to evangelistic work, various social programmes were inaugurated for the relief of distress from famine, flood and epidemic. Educational facilities such as elementary, secondary and industrial schools, cottage industries and settlements, were provided for the depressed classes. Medical work originated in Nagercoil in 1893 when Harry Andrews set up a dispensary at the headquarters there. The medical work has grown from this. Work among the Criminal Tribes then began in 1908 at government invitation.

Several offices had been established in earlier years, including the Editorial and Literary Office and the Audit Office.
Since the establishment of the Health Services Advisory Council in 1986 a regionally based India National Office has evolved to provide support to many aspects of Salvation Army work in India.

The Conference of Indian Leaders (COIL) established in 1989, meets annually to coordinate national Salvation Army affairs and give direction to the national secretariat.

for further historical details, visit the The Salvation Army International Heritage Centre website at