03 September, 2012
India and Southeast Asia: Strategic Convergence in the Twenty- first Century
By- T. Nirmala Devi and Adluri Subramanyam Raju (Eds.)
Southeast Asia and India are geographically contiguous. They share common histories and colonial experiences. During their freedom struggle and later, Southeast Asian countries expected India to support them not only politically but also economically for their development. However, due to various reasons including its preoccupation with domestic problems arising from partition, inward – looking economy, the war with China and in particular the Cold War divisions, India could not take interest in the region. Some of the Southeast Asian countries did not support India when it had conflict with China and Pakistan, which made New Delhi to maintain distance with the region. Though efforts were made to evaluate the policy course, some of the developments made both the entities to drift away from each other.
Disintegration of Soviet Union and India’s relation with the US in the post- Cold War period has had a positive effect on India-Southeast Asian relations. Both the entities recognize the importance of each other. The Southeast Asian countries have begun to see India as an economic power and have now become a major player in foreign direct investment stakes in India.India is active in setting up regional economic and development groupings like BIMSTEC and Mekong Ganga project. It also aims at developing land connectivity with the region through Myanmar and Thailand. Both India and Southeast Asian countries, as this timely volume shows, now increasingly view each other in a more constructive way. The volume focuses on various issues pertaining to relations between India and Southeast Asia.
T. Nirmala Devi is the former Director of the Centre for SAARC Studies, Andhra University Visakhapatnam. She was a Baden- Wurttemberg Fellow at the South Asia Institute, University of Heidelberg, Germany.
Adluri Subramanyam Raju is Associate Professor at the Centre for South Asian Studies, Pondicherry University, Pondicherry. He was Salzburg Seminar Fellow (2006) and the recipient of the Mahbub ul Haq Award (2003), Kodikara Award (1998) from RCSS, Colombo, and Scholar of Peace Award (2002) from WISCOMP, Delhi.
The Bengal Army and the Outbreak of the Indian Mutiny
By- Saul David
In 1857 the Indian troops of the Bengal Army rose against their colonial masters. They were quickly joined by tens of thousands of discontented civilians in what was to become the bloodiest insurrection in the history of the British Empire.
For much of the last century, Indian and British scholars downplayed the importance of professional grievances in their accounts of why the military insurrection of 1857 took place. Most viewed the Bengal sepoys as uniformed peasants who were affected by the same social, economic and religious concerns as their civilian counterparts. They tended to identify the defence of caste and religion as the key to the military uprising, while regarding the latter as little more than a precursor to a general revolt. Yet this study’s identification of professional concerns as the essential cause of the Indian Mutiny is very much in line with the recent historiography of military revolts.
All armies have grievances relating to conditions of service, particularly pay, career prospects and relations with officers. What set a colonial force like the Bengal Army apart is that it was a volunteer mercenary force officered by men of a different race and religion. Its loyalty to its paymasters, therefore, was entirely dependent on the incentives for service outweighing the disincentives. David argues that by 1857 this was no longer the case: primarily because the number and seriousness of the sepoys’ grievances was increasing, while the Bengal Army’s control over its soldiers was weakening.
Saul David is Professor of War Studies at the University of Buckingham in the UK, and the author of several critically-acclaimed books on the wars of the Victorian period.