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Chair: Dr Amanda Chisholm, Senior Lecturer in Security Studies / Researcher in Gender and Security

Speaker: Dr Saawani Raje-Byrne, Lecturer in International History education at the Department of War studies, King’s College London 

This paper explores an alternative approach towards the idea of ‘civilian control’ over the military in post-colonial states—especially those with weaker institutional systems. These states face an additional set of civil-military challenges that literature focusing on civil-military relations in mature states does not adequately explain.

The lack of effective control on the civil-military dynamic in nations with weaker institutional structures means that institutional spaces for civil-military interaction are weak and susceptible to politicisation by individuals, relationships and motivations. This has tangible consequences on the civil-military balance as it opens up space for the politicisation of the military. Thus, this paper argues that institutions for “civilian control” need to go beyond just considering effective civilian control over the military and instead also focus on robust institutional controls for civilian leaders.

This approach will be explored with a brief analysis of civil-military relations in India over two decades, especially focusing on civil-military decision-making during wartime from 1947-1971.

Saawani Raje


Dr. Saawani Raje-Byrne is a lecturer in International History education at the Department of War studies, King’s College London where she teaches postgraduate and undergraduate students. Previously, she was a lecturer in Defence Studies education at the King’s College London Defence Studies Department and taught at the Joint Services Command and Staff College at Shrivenham. She was awarded a PhD from King’s College London in January 2021.

Her research is interdisciplinary, with her areas of interest including civil-military relations, South Asian security, Indian foreign policy, diplomatic and military history, and international relations, with a particular focus on South Asia. While currently working on a monograph based on her PhD thesis, she is also broadening her research focus to examine armies of the British Empire and questions of loyalty.

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Lecturer in War Studies Education

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