Since September 2001, the Western public has found a renewed interest in South Asia. On the border between the Muslim and non-Muslim world, the region has seen its strategic importance to the West heightened, while the fact that the two major competing regional powers, Pakistan and India, each possess nuclear weapons has raised new anxieties. Given the importance of South Asia to current global conflicts, A Military History of India and South Asia provides a much-needed overview of the military history of the region since 1700, covering the areas that later evolved into the states of India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh. In chapters devoid of academic jargon, the book provides lucid introductions to various topics, from the rise of the British East India Company, to the Indian Army in the First World War, to the current tensions between India and Pakistan in Kashmir.
With chapters written by established experts, the book makes important contributions to the study of modern South Asian history, British Imperial history, and the history of war and society. It will appeal to students, scholars and laypersons alike with an interest in the social, political and military history of the region. Chapters in the book document the rise of the British East India Company and the uprising of 1857-59, in which the largely Bengali army rose up against the British officer corps, and the subsequent decision by the British Crown to take direct control of India and its army. Further chapters document the colonial Indian Army’s role in British imperial wars in Afghanistan and in World Wars I and II. Half of the book explores the development of national armies for India, Pakistan, and, later, Bangladesh, giving accounts of the wars that have torn South Asia since independence, including the Indo-Pakistani wars, the India-China War, and the Sri Lankan War, the continuing conflicts over Kashmir, and the proliferation of nuclear weapons.