A Military History of India and South Asia
From the East India Company to the Nuclear Era
by Daniel P. Marston, ed., Chandar S. Sundaram, ed.
December 2006, 256pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-0-275-98570-7
$95, £74, 83€, A131
eBook Available: 978-0-313-04898-2
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

This book provides a general introduction to the military history of South Asia, 1700 to the present, focusing on the development of the modern military cultures of India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh.

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.


"This volume contains 13 first-rate essays by new South Asian scholars. They demonstrate that East India Company trade depended upon military superiority; that the British learned how to strengthen ties between officers and sepoys after the 1857 mutiny; and that crystallization of the martial race theory was part of imperial strategy....Highly recommended. All levels/libraries."—Choice, December 1, 2007

"South Asia's geography and politics is of key interest to the developing nations, and so A Military History of India and South Asia From the East India Company to the Nuclear Era should be on the shelves of any college-level collection, whether it be military or civilian in nature. Collections also strong in Asian history and culture will find this history important: it surveys the region since 1700, covering major conflicts, ideological and social differences, military encounters, and more. Experts contribute chapters strongly supported by source materials and research."—The Bookwatch, August 1, 2007

"This is both a solid introduction and also a thought-provoking text for those with some prior knowledge of the Indian Army."—The Bulletin of the Military Historical Society, August 1, 2007

"Complaining that Indian military history has been grossly neglected by the South Asian studies community and by military historians, Marston and Sundaram present a varied collection of 13 papers that both distill work by established scholars and present new and original research on military history in the South Asian subcontinent. As the title implies, the opening paper examines the armed expansion of the English East India Company from the mid-18th to the mid-19th century and the final paper analyzes India's current nuclear policy. Between these bookends are examinations of army training at the Northwest frontier (1901-1947), the performance of the Indian Army in the First World War, the Indianization of the officer corps (1817-1940), the Indian wars with China and Pakistan, and the conflict between the Tamil Tigers and the government forces of Sri Lanka."—Reference & Research Book News, February 1, 2007

". . . those who are interested in the military history of South Asia since the mid-eighteenth century will find it a great pleasure to read."—Army History, October 5, 2009
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