By the time the Japanese arrived on her eastern borders in the spring of 1942 India was beginning to resemble a chipped and dusty jewel in a dented imperial crown. She was economically backward, socially stressed, vulnerable to nationalist political instability and already su ering under the demands made upon her to support the war against the European axis, which was not going well. Moreover, her traditional defence posture and military culture le her ill-prepared to face the unexpected threat from the east and a new war in which she was both front line and strategic base. ere was sparkle still, though, deep in the jewel, and it was made of hard stu . Like the dented crown, the jewel would shine in the end.