Civil-military relations in British and independent India, 1918-1962, and coup prediction theory
This thesis explains why India did not experience a military coup d'etat from 1918 to 1962.This involves a detailed consideration of the competing, though often complementary, theories which attempt to analyse the specific conditions and motives that cause officers to intervene against their government. As no one "coup theory" is found definitive, each is deployed when relevant to crucial episodes in British and independent India's civil-military relations from 1918 to 1962, including the history and development of a professional officer corps, Indian nationalism, the Indian National Armies of World War II, the Transfer of Power, Ayub Khan's "Revolution", the rise of the Menon-Kaul nexus, and the 1962 Sino-Indian War. Throughout, the emphasis is on the views and actions of senior retired Indian military officers. The opinions of almost 20 such officers are taken from their respective published (auto-)biographies. The views of another 108 officers (as well as a number of Indian civilians with experience in, or expertise at the highest level of civil-military relations) come from one of two versions of a detailed questionnaire and/or comprehensive personal interviews. This thesis reveals that there was never any serious threat of a military coup in India. Some factors contributing to this phenomenon are inherent: the country is large, diverse, predominantly Hindu, and enjoyed a continuity of political leadership. Other factors are the result of deliberate choices by the civil-military leadership and include the country's stability, quality and tradition of democracy, relative administrative efficiency, institutionalization of diverse centres of power and, most importantly, the professionalism of the officer corps. While this examination suggests measures available to other countries seeking to ensure civil supremacy-of-rule, the particular mix of factors which contributed to India never having experienced military coup is unique.