This volume examines ethnicity in relation to one major facet of Asian life—the military. Ethnicity, now being studied on a variety of scholarly and geographical fronts, is a fruitful topic for consideration in the study of the relationships between the Asian armed forces and their governments and societies. While Ethnicity and the Military of Asia profits from recent explorations of ethnicity, it also benefits from the current interest in a close scholarly examination of the relationship between armed forces, war, and society.
Since the military institutions of so many Asian societies have played or are playing leading roles in their country's government, the military has a relationship, often ambiguous, to the development of the expression of nationhood—a central factor in the new states of Asia. This study shows that policies concerning the military have importance for intergroup relations by expressing policies on ethnicity and by modifying relations between ethnic groups. One factor that correlates with this is that policy concerning membership in the military has a relationship to the search for "modernization" and to social mobility.