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India: Administrative Reform and World War I
Country Study > Chapter 10 > National Security > Colonial-Era Developments > The Indian Military under the British Raj > Administrative Reform and World War I

ADMINISTRATIVE REFORM AND WORLD WAR I


Administrative reforms in 1895 abolished the presidency armies, and command was centralized under the aegis of a single army headquarters at Delhi. In the early twentieth century, the process of centralization continued; and during this period, the separation between military and civilian spheres of influence and the ultimate primacy of civilian authority gained final acceptance in both civilian and military circles.

During World War I, India's contribution of troops, money, and supplies to the Allied cause was substantial. More than 1 million Indian soldiers were sent abroad, and more than 100,000 were either killed or wounded.

The mobilization for the war effort revealed a number of shortcomings in the military establishment. Officer casualties had a particularly pernicious effect on military formations because only the British officers assigned to a battalion had the authority and standing to exercise overall command. In addition, Indian officers from one company could rarely be transferred to another having a different ethnic, religious, or caste makeup. As a consequence, after the war most battalions were reorganized to ease reinforcement among component companies. Strong pressure from the Indian public also drove the British to begin training a small complement of Indians for commissions as a first step in the Indianization of the officer corps. The Royal Indian Air Force was established in 1932, and a small Indian marine unit was reorganized into the Royal Indian Navy in 1934. Indian artillery batteries were first formed only in 1936. Although the practice of limiting recruitment to the martial races had proved inadequate during World War I and entry had been opened to "nonmartial" groups, the traditional recruitment emphasis on martial races was nonetheless resumed after demobilization.

Data as of September 1995




Last Updated: September 1995


Editor's Note: Country Studies included here were published between 1988 and 1998. The Country study for India was first published in 1995. Where available, the data has been updated through 2008. The date at the bottom of each section will indicate the time period of the data. Information on some countries may no longer be up to date. See the "Research Completed" date at the beginning of each study on the Title Page or the "Data as of" date at the end of each section of text. This information is included due to its comprehensiveness and for historical purposes.

Note that current information from the CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State Background Notes, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Country Briefs, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Country Profiles, and the World Bank can be found on Factba.se.

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