The Indian Army has changed its recruitment process with an aim to get a right mix of brains and brawn into the force, an official said on Wednesday. "Earlier we used to have a written examination at the end of the recruitment process, but it will now be the first thing to do so that the recruits are physically strong and brainy too," Army Recruitment Officer Colonel G Suresh told reporters on Wednesday.

He said the other tests - physical endurance and medical tests - will be held after the written examination.

Colonel Suresh said the other major change in the recruitment process has been that the aspirants will have to pay fees of Rs 500 to appear in the written examination.

"Out of this amount, the Indian Army will be bearing Rs 250 while the candidate will have to pay only Rs 250," he added.

The registration process for recruitment as Agniveer has started with the nationwide notification issued earlier this month. Online registration can be done only once in a year, Colonel Suresh said.

According to the modified recruitment procedure, a computer-based online common entrance exam (CEE) will be conducted before the recruitment rally.

The army had recently put out advertisements regarding the change in the process, in various newspapers. The recruitment will be carried out in three stages.

In stage one, all candidates who have registered and applied online on the website will undergo the CEE.

In stage two, the shortlisted candidates will be called for a recruitment rally at a location decided by respective Army Recruitment Offices (AROs) where they will undergo physical fitness test and physical measurement test, the statement said.

Finally in stage three, the selected candidates will undergo medical tests.