Protecting the Raj: The Army in India and Internal Security, c. 1919-1939

By Srinath Raghavan
Small Wars & Insurgencies, 22 September 2005

This article examines the role of the Army in India in internal security duties during the inter-war years. It contends that the army's approach was much more pragmatic and nuanced than hitherto assumed. Evidence is presented to show that the army's internal security doctrine underwent far-reaching changes after the massacre in Amritsar in 1919. Thenceforth, minimum force became the central imperative and the other doctrinal principles served to reinforce it. The army also evolved a tactical drill which closely adhered to this doctrine. The article argues that the changing attitudes towards use of force are evident in the role of technology in internal security duties. Lastly, it examines the system of training which played a crucial role in ensuring compliance with the army's evolving approach to internal security.