1st Edition

The History of British Diplomacy in Pakistan

By Ian Talbot Copyright 2021
    260 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    260 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book is the first account of the British diplomatic mission in Pakistan from its foundation at the end of the Raj in 1947 to the ‘War on Terror’.

    Drawing on original documents and interviews with participants, this book highlights key events and personalities as well as the influence and perspectives of individual diplomats previously not explored. The book demonstrates that the period witnessed immense changes in Britain’s standing in the world and in the international history of South Asia to show that Britain maintained a diplomatic influence out of proportion to its economic and military strength. The author suggests that Britain’s impact stemmed from colonial-era ties of influence with bureaucrats, politicians and army heads which were sustained by the growth of a Pakistani Diaspora in Britain. Additionally, the book illustrates that America’s relationship with Pakistan was transactional as opposed to Britain’s, which was based on ties of sentiment as, from the mid-1950s, the United States was more able than Britain to give Pakistan the financial, military and diplomatic support it desired.

    A unique and timely analysis of the British diplomatic mission in Pakistan in the decades after independence, this book will be of interest to academics working in the fields of South Asian History and Politics, International Relations, British and American Diplomacy and Security Studies, Cold War Politics and History and Area Studies.

    Introduction  Part 1: The Formative Phase  1. Partition and the Establishment of a British Diplomatic Mission in Karachi  2. A Corner of a Foreign Field: The British Deputy High Commissions 1947-1958  3. Contrasting Personalities: Laurence Graffety-Smith and Gilbert Laithwaite British High Commissioners 1947-1954  4. Diplomats and their Wives: Alec and Dodo Symond in Karachi 1954-61 Part 2: From High Commission to Embassy  5. Sir Morrice James: Kashmir and War  6. The Diplomatic Mission in Crisis 1970-1  7. Embassy Years 1972-89 Part 3: The Contemporary High Commission  8. Twenty First Century Diplomatic Challenges and Tools  9. Diplomacy in a Decade of Turmoil 1998-2008  Conclusion


    Ian Talbot is a professor of Modern South Asian History at the University of Southampton, UK. His recent Routledge publications include the edited books India and World War I (co-edited with Roger Long, 2018) and State and Nation-Building in Pakistan (co-edited with Roger Long, Gurharpal Singh, and Yunas Samad, 2015).

    Professor Talbot has drawn on both British and American diplomatic sources and has spoken to many of the British diplomats who witnessed and helped to respond to the many difficult issues that have affected Britain’s relations with Pakistan and their ability to influence events. [...] his book breaks new ground for a diplomatic history in examining both the impact of social media and the importance of personal relationships in the conduct of public diplomacy. [...] this book provides valuable insights into the work of British diplomats, many of them as Talbot more than once reminds us, of exceptional ability, in a period of massive global and regional turbulence and change.

    William Crawley, Asian Affairs, Volume 52, 2021 - Issue 2