With regard the State Forces, prior to the inception of Indian Army based on the British model, most of the Princely States had their own armies to include infantry, artillery and cavalry units amongst other logistic units or sub units. While expanding their influence over India, the British augmented their own armies through local recruitment in order to effectively fight some of these very state armies who dared to oppose their advance.
Noteworthy is the fact that state armies like those of Travancore, Cochin, Mysore, Kolhapur, Hyderabad, Berar, Indore, Baroda, Gwalior, Bhopal, Saurashtra, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Faridkot, Patiala, Jind, Nabha, Kapurthala, Cooch Behar and also Kashmir, to name a few, were well-trained and very well organised.
However, the British permitted a large number of these states to maintain their armies even after subduing them. With the establishment of the British power in most of India, the Indian States reconsolidated their armies with the implementation of the Subsidiary Alliance by Lord Wellesley, under which the Indian States were required to maintain forces for the use of the Imperial power.
In some cases, where the States were unable to ensure regular finance for their forces, funds were provided or large tracts of land were ceded for their maintenance. Many of these State Force units and sub-units performed splendidly in a number of campaigns in India and overseas, particularly during the two World Wars.
(Courtesy: Indian Army)