For over two hundred years the British maintained a powerful military system in India. If it is recalled at all in the popular imagination of today, the Victorian Indian Army remembered as much for its use in the pomp and ceremony of grand imperial occasions as for anything else - as a colour adjunct to the parades, processions and rituals of British India. But although Britain is regarded as primarily a naval power in the heyday of Empire in the late Victorian era, possession of the Indian Army gave her a major land-power status east of Suez. This military might was vital to the protection of British interests in India itself and for the defence of its often turbulen frontiers. It was equally important as a tool of imperial expansion overseas: the Indian Army was deployed in China, Africa, the Middle East and elsewhere to safeguard the flanks of the Indian Empire and it also contributed in a significant manner to the extension and maintenance of British rule in the tropics.