Much research has been done on Western warfare and state building but very little on the military effectiveness of states, until now. Using South Asia as a case study, The State at War in South Asia examines how the state, from prehistory to modern times, has managed to wage war.
The State at War in South Asia is the first book to cover such a vast period of South Asian military history—more than three thousand years. In doing so, Pradeep P. Barua explores the state’s military effectiveness and moves beyond the western and nonwestern dichotomy characterized by most military analysis to date. He leads the reader through a selective study of significant battles, campaigns, and wars fought on the subcontinent. Barua combines this overview with an analysis of the state-building process, showing how the South Asian state has conducted war under its many political guises from the prehistoric and ancient periods to the modern era, with its threat of nuclear war. He challenges the historiographic idea that the Western way of war is superior, while examining in detail those battles, such as the Maratha-Afghan battle of 1763, that offer the most insight into the introduction of new tactics, organization, and technology. This meticulous study offers a panoramic view of the evolution of the South Asian state’s military system and its contribution to the effectiveness of the state itself.