Specifically, the points I am looking answers to are:

1) What is the first recorded instance of a standing army in the Indian subcontinent.
2) When did it become a general practice to have standing armies.
3) Any information on sizes of the said armies if possible.

  • Is part 2) only related to India? It seems like it is
    – ihtkwot
    Jun 28, 2012 at 3:58
  • 2
    Yes, all 3 points are related to India.
    – Bharat B
    Jun 28, 2012 at 4:05

2 Answers 2


I think during Alexander's period The great Nandha empire had the biggest army, consisting of 200,000 infantry, 20,000 cavalry, 2,000 war chariots and 3,000 war elephants (at the lowest estimates).

The king Pores, who was honored by Alexander the Great, was a king of marginal land inside the Nandha empire.

Probably Alexander the Great would have recorded his first loss in history, if he moved his forces a bit more inside the Nandha empire.

  • 1
    Nice to see someone attempt an answer to this question. However, I'd like to see a link for these numbers before deciding how to vote on this.
    – T.E.D.
    Jul 11, 2012 at 19:33
  • en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nanda_Empire
    – Veera Raj
    Jul 12, 2012 at 5:45
  • Lol. I meant to the text. However, having the link I can do that for you. Looks good to me now.
    – T.E.D.
    Jul 12, 2012 at 12:09
  • 2
    Where does it say that it's a standing army?
    – user69715
    Feb 22, 2017 at 9:57

The first Indian ruler to maintain a standing army was Bimbisara of the Haryanka Dynasty.

  • Do you have any evidence for this assertion?
    – MCW
    Feb 22, 2017 at 0:24

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