Importance of Military Studies

Military Studies is also known by various names like defence and strategic studies, military science, war and national security studies, war and strategic studies. Mankind always suffered from wars but never gave up the need to fight wars. In the modern world, the need to wage wars has changed and the methods of fighting too have changed.

The importance of having strong armed forces and the need to protect the people against various threats is a constant feature of our life. Knowledge of military security, how armed forces are organised to fight a war and what is the art of warfare are questions, which get answered by studying military studies.

Military studies from ancient times, deals with all subjects pertaining to the military and how soldiers and kings are trained in the art of fighting. It can be defined as the study of military organisations, analysis of security threats to a country, the art of warfare and the method of using the armed forces in the defence of the nation.

  1. Study of Military Organisation: Ancient armies started with foot soldiers and later went on to create the Chaturangabala force consisting of chariots, elephants, cavalry and infantry. Our ancient gurus thought about this organisation of the army. They taught this subject and the soldiers learnt to use the horses, elephants and weapons. Study of military organisations commenced from ancient times and continues even today.

  2. National Security: Any kingdom or nation faces enemies, threats from environment, threats from natural calamities, etc. It is important to understand the type of threats and methods to overcome the threat. Therefore, an analysis of national security will tell us about how big the army should be and how should it be organised to fight against all identified threats.

  3. Art of Warfare: Warfare is defined as the activity of fighting between two armies. When two nations fight they employ different strategies and tactics to win the battle. Armies have to be trained to use different strategies and tactics against enemy forces to win. Therefore this subject is important for soldiers and officers to learn the tactics and strategies used in battle.

Important Aspects in Military Studies

  1. Terrain: Study of terrain where the battle will be fought. This subject helps in making defences, forts (in olden times) and creating obstacles for the enemy.

  2. Tactics: Tactics is the art or plan of deploying army units to maneuver to a position of advantage in a battle. Different tactics have to be thought over against different types of enemies and different terrain (fighting in mountains will be different from fighting in deserts).

  3. Maps and Astronomy: These are required for navigating and moving from one place to another. In ancient times there were no maps and armies used directions, movement of sun and stars to march from one place to another.

  4. Leadership: Military leadership is an art a creative activity based on character, ability and mental power. It is one of the most important factor in war fighting.

  5. Logistics: The armies have to be equipped and supplied essential items during a battle. Logistics becomes important to win a battle.

Ethics of War Fighting

Since olden times India always fought a just war - 'Dharam Yudha'. It means, the king fought a war only when it was required for the welfare of the kingdom. Similarly, the warrior or soldier had a code of conduct. Being disciplined was the first code. Some of the warrior codes or laws that were followed by ancient armies in India were:

  • A warrior (Kshatriya) in armour must not fight with one who is not wearing armour.
  • One should fight only one enemy and cease fighting if the opponent is disabled.
  • Aged men, women and children, the retreating, or one who held a straw in his lips as a sign of unconditional surrender should not be killed.