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India: Military Role Expansion
Country Study > Chapter 10 > National Security > Public Order and Internal Security > Military Role Expansion


The army has four major roles or functions in the maintenance of public order and internal security. One is to defend India's territorial integrity and to maintain the inviolability of its borders. Another involves dealing with internal security threats stemming from secessionist demands and externally supported insurgencies. The army also is called upon to assist civilian authorities in maintaining civil order when local police forces and the paramilitary prove inadequate to the task. Finally, the army can also be mobilized to deal with natural disasters such as earthquakes and floods, the only domestic function that the army performs with enthusiasm.

Despite the existence of numerous paramilitary forces, the army has had to quell outbreaks of civil violence, primarily in the states of Assam, Jammu and Kashmir, and Punjab. By the early 1990s, army involvement in Assam and Punjab had diminished significantly as insurgencies waned. However, the role of the army in Jammu and Kashmir expanded substantially as both police and paramilitary forces failed to maintain law and order.

In 1993 upper-echelon army officers warned that excessive use of the army to restore civil order might have a number of corrosive effects. First, it might damage the morale of troops who might be distressed at having to shoot civilians. Second, it might have the effect of politicizing the army. The outgoing chief of army staff, General Sunith Francis Rodrigues, publicly articulated his misgivings on this subject. Furthermore, in June 1993, Rodrigues presented a report entitled "Maximizing Effectiveness of Central Police Organizations" to the Committee of Secretaries (composed of a "core group", the secretaries of defence, finance, and home affair, chaired by the cabinet secretary, and meeting on a weekly basis). The report called for the army to take over the training of paramilitary forces.

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

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