The foreign policy of a colonial country is very different from that of a sovereign country. Two features of the foreign policy of colonial India were: one, that it was framed in the interest of Britain; and two, that till the very end, the British showed an unflinching determination to maintain their hold on India.
This book highlights the weight and significance of India in global affairs because of its huge size, richness of resources, and geostrategic and relational positioning. After independence, India inherited a whole set of notions and practices from the colonial past especially treaty arrangements with smaller neighbours; the nature of interactions with its extended neighbourhood; unresolved border disputes in the north; and the imperatives of ensuring India’s security both on its land and maritime frontiers. In the twenty-first century also, as a rising India reconstructs its foreign policy, some of the themes of the foreign policy of colonial India demand far greater attention. This book provides a model for studying the foreign policies of colonies in the global south. Covering the last fifty years of British rule in India, it focuses on the relations of the Government of India with states along the territorial rim of Britain’s Indian Empire and the regions along the routes that connect Britain with India.
Scholars have written hundreds of books on the foreign policy of India since 1947. But, during the last fifty years, virtually no general book has appeared on the period before 1947. This pioneering work aims at filling this hole. It will be of interest to journalists and academics in the fields of modern history, political science, international relations and colonial history of India and South Asia.
Table of Contents
1. Determinants of the Foreign Policy of Colonial India 2. Managing the Northern Frontier 3. The Great Game on the North-West Frontier 4. The Eastern Frontier 5. Colonial India and the Indian Ocean Rim 6. Concluding Comments
Sneh Mahajan was Associate Professor of History at Indraprastha College, Delhi University. She was also Senior Academic Fellow at the Indian Council of Historical Research, New Delhi. In 2012, she was elected President of the Non-Indian History Section of the Indian History Congress held at Mumbai. Her research interests include international history, modern Indian history, British foreign policy and strategy, and imperial history. She is the author of British Foreign Policy: The Role of India 1874-1914 (Routledge).