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Singhal, Damodar Prasad (1955) Indian External Policy With Special Reference to the North-Western and Eastern Frontiers, 1876-1898. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI: https://doi.org/10.25501/SOAS.00034094

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Abstract

This study is an account of the diplomatic relations of India with Afghanistan on the North-Western frontier and with Burma on the Eastern. Since the problems of the North-Western frontier figured more prominently in the Indian external policy, the major part of the work has been devoted to the discussion of Afghan questions. 'Containment' was the aim of the Indian policy towards Afghanistan until the period of Lytton's viceroyalty. Supported by the Conservative government in London, Lytton almost immediately transformed the policy of containment into a policy of interference, as he was convinced that Afghanistan could not for long survive as an independent state between the two great European powers. It was for Britain through India to assert herself. He started by applying political pressure on the Amir in an attempt to dictate his terms, but eventually resorted to military action. Opposed to this 'Forward' policy were the Liberals. When they came to power in 1880. Lytton was replaced by Ripon, who was charged to withdraw from Afghanistan without loss of prestige. Ripon with his patience and tact was successful in obtaining the friendship and confidence of the Afghan ruler by helping him to consolidate his kingdom. The consolidation of Amir's power and the occupation of Merv by Russia in 1884 led to the appointment of an Anglo-Russian Boundary Commission and finally to the delimitation of the ill-defined Northern boundary of Afghanistan in 1887. Between 1890 and 1898, Indo-Afghan relations became strained largely over the ill-defined the boundary of Southern Afghanistan, due to the revival of Forward policy by Lansdowne and Elgin. However, the diplomatic negotiations prevented an open clash and culminated in the demarcation of the disputed territories. On the Eastern frontier, Indian policy was not so fluctuating. The British commitments in Afghanistan prevented Lytton from pursuing a forward policy towards Burma, But the Kabul massacre in 1879 provided an opportunity to Lytton to withdraw the British Residency from Mandalay. Ripon could not restore normal diplomatic intercourse between India and Burma without publicly disowning the stand the British had already taken. However, the pressure from commercial quarters and danger of French intrigues in Burma forced Dufferin to annex Upper Burma in 1886. This study has made great use of the original documents and private papers, which have come to light only recently. With the help of these materials, it has been possible to confirm certain historical beliefs and demolish certain others.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier): https://doi.org/10.25501/SOAS.00034094
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2020 17:37
URI: https://eprints.soas.ac.uk/id/eprint/34094

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