The British Indian Army: Virtue and Necessity (BOK)
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The British Indian Army was a distinctive phenomenon, a curious combination of Western imperial and South Asian military cultures. It was first and foremost a military instrument for garrison duties, but it was rarely used in internal security and most of its history is concerned with expeditionary wars. While the British regarded the Indian Army as a source of pride and a vital source of imperial manpower, it was not a simple case of exploitation of local indigenous labour by an indifferent colonial system, but rather an evolving and often imperfect partnership, with shared identities, varying degrees of proficiency, and a particular ethos. The Indian Army was transformed under British direction, and arguably enjoyed its greatest triumph in defeating Imperial Japan in 1945. Paradoxically, at the same time, the Indian Armed Forces were also the most potent vehicles for the concept of a free and independent India. This new edited work is a selection of the Indian army's long history of development and modernisation, drawing out themes such as leadership, discipline, racial categorisation, mechanisation, and operational performance. It ranges from the campaigns of the eighteenth century to the agonized decisions to break up the old army between the new nations of South Asia. Chapters also cover the operations in Afghanistan, Persia and China in the nineteenth century; the gruelling conditions of Mesopotamia and Gallipoli in the First World War; auxiliaries on the North West Frontier; ambiguities over internal security in the Inter-War Years; air power and armoured warfare; the paradoxes of race; and operations in Malaya during the army's nadir in 1941-42. The collection represents renewed interest in the Indian armed forces during the British period and offers a wide range of themes for consideration.