Relation of British India with Neighboring Countries


Anglo-Bhutanese Relations

  • 1865, the Bhutanese were forced to surrender the passes in return for an annual subsidy.
  • It was the surrendered district which became a productive area with tea gardens.


Anglo-Nepalese war


Anglo-Nepalese Relations

  • 1801, English annexed Gorakhpur which brought the Gorkhas’ boundary and the Company’s boundary together
  • Conflict started due to the Gorkhas’ capture of Butwal and Sheoraj in the period of Lord Hastings (1813-23)
  • War, ended in the Treaty of Sagauli, 1816 which was in favour of the British
  • Nepal accepted a British resident
  • Nepal ceded the districts of Garhwal and Kumaon.
  • They abandoned claims of Terai.
  • Nepal also withdrew from Sikkim.
  • British acquired sites for hill stations, such as Shimla, Mussoorie and Nainital.
  • Gorkhas joined the British Indian Army in large numbers.




Anglo-Burmese Relations

  • British want to capture forest resources of Burma, market for British manufactures in Burma


1st Burma War (1824-26)

  • Burmese expansion westwards and occupied Arakan and Manipur, and became threat to Assam and the Brahmaputra Valley.
  • British expeditionary forces occupied Rangoon in 1824 and reached within 72 km of the capital at Ava
  • Peace was established in Treaty of Yandabo, 1826
  • British cede its coastal provinces of Arakan and Tenasserim
  • Burma abandon claims on Assam, Cachar and Jaintia
  • Recognise Manipur as an independent state
  • Accept a British resident at Ava and posting a Burmese envoy at Calcutta.


Burma War


2nd Burma War (1852)

  • 2nd war was result of imperialist policy of Lord Dalhousie.
  • British merchants were keen to get hold of timber resources of upper Burma and also sought further inroads into Burmese market
  • British occupied Pegu, the only remaining coastal province of Burma


3rd Burma War (1885)

  • After death of Burmese King Bhindan, his son Thibaw succeeded to throne.
  • Thibaw was hostile towards the British
  • A humiliating fine had been imposed on a British timber company by him.
  • Dufferin ordered the invasion and final annexation of upper Burma in 1885
  • British faced a strong guerrilla uprising in whole of Burma soon after
  • Burmese nationalists joined hands with the INC
  • To weaken this link, Burma was separated from India in 1935
  • Burmese nationalist movement further led by U Aung San during 2nd World War
  • Burma got  independence on January 4, 1948



Anglo-Tibetan Relations

  • Tibet was ruled by a theocracy of Buddhist monks (lamas) under nominal suzerainty of China.
  • Russian influence at Lhasa was increasing
  • Curzon felt alarmed and sent a small Gorkha contingent under Colonel Younghusband in 1903
  • Tibetans refused to negotiate and offered non-violent resistance
  • Younghusband pushed his way into Lhasa (Aug 1904) while Dalai Lama fled
  • Treaty of Lhasa 1904 singed
  • Tibet would pay an indemnity of Rs 75 lakh at the rate of 1 lakh rupees per annum
  • As a security for payment, Indian Government would occupy the Chumbi Valley (territory between Bhutan and Sikkim) for 75 years
  • Tibet would give Great Britain some control over foreign affairs of Tibet
  • Treaty was revised reducing the indemnity from Rs 75 lakh to Rs 25 lakh and providing for evacuation of Chumbi valley after 3 years
  • Only China gained in the end out of the whole affair
  • According to Anglo-Russian convention of 1907, two great powers would not negotiate with Tibet, except mediation of the Chinese government.


Anglo-Afghan War


Anglo-Afghan War

  • After the Treaty of Turkomanchai (1828), between Persia and the Russian Empire, English got alarmed about possible Russian plans regarding India.
  • Passes of the north-west seemed to hold the key to enter India
  • Need was felt for Afghanistan to be under control of a ruler friendly to the British
  • Auckland advocated a forward policy in 1836
  • Company government in India itself had to take initiatives to protect boundary of British India
  • Tripartite Treaty (1838) was entered into by British, Sikhs and Shah Shuja (deposed from the Afghan throne in 1809)
    • Shah Shuja be enthroned with the armed help of the Sikhs
    • Shah Shuja conduct foreign affairs with advice of the Sikhs and the British
    • He recognises the Sikh ruler, Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s claims over the Afghan territories on the right bank of the River Indus.


1st Anglo-Afghan War (1839-42)

  • British intention was to establish a permanent barrier against schemes of aggression from the north-west
  • An English army entered into Kabul in 1839 after a successful attack
  • Most of the tribes had already been won over by bribes.
  • Dost Mohammed surrendered in 1840 and Shah Shuja was made  Amir of Afghanistan.
  • But Shah Shuja was unacceptable to the Afghans.
  • Afghans rose in rebellion, killing garrison commander in Kabul
  • British were compelled to sign a treaty in 1841 with Afghan chiefs
  • British East India Company troops are destroyed by Afghan forces on the road from Kabul to Jalalabad, Afghanistan
  • Afghan force was leaded by Akbar Khan, son of Dost Mohammad Khan.
  • British agreed to evacuate Afghanistan and restore Dost Mohammed
  • British re-occupied Kabul in Sept 1842 and arrived at a settlement with Dost Mohammed.
  • 1st Afghan War cost India 1.5 cr. rupees and nearly 20,000 men
  • The ‘Masterly Inactivity Policy‘ was followed by the British towards Afghanistan from 1860-76.
  • It was conceived by John Lawrence.
  • It fulfils two conditions
    1. Peace at the frontier was not disturbed
    2. no candidate in civil war sought foreign help
  • Sher Ali established himself on throne, Lawrence tried to cultivate friendship with him


2nd Anglo-Afghan War (1878-80)

  • British conservative government under Benjamin Disraeli (1874-80), Lytton became the Viceroy of India in 1876
  • He started a new foreign policy of ‘proud reserve’.
  • Lytton made an offer of a favourable treaty to Sher Ali, but Amir wanted friendship with both Russia and British India.
  • Sher Ali refused to keep a British envoy in Kabul.
  • Lytton decided to invade Afghanistan.
  • Sher Ali fled in face of the British invasion, and the
  • Treaty of Gandamak 1879 was signed with Yakub Khan, the eldest son of Sher Ali.
  • Amir conduct his foreign policy with the advice of Government of India.
  • Permanent British resident be stationed at Kabul.
  • Government of India give Amir all support against foreign aggression, and an annual subsidy.
  • Soon, Yakub replaced and Abdur Rehman became the new Amir.
  • Ripon new viceroy decided on a policy of keeping Afghanistan as a buffer state.
  • After 1st World War and the Russian Revolution 1917, Afghans demanded full independence.
  • Habibullah successor of Abdur Rahman was killed in 1919 and new ruler Amamullah declared open war on British.
  • Peace came in 1921 when Afghanistan recovered independence in foreign affairs.


Anglo-Afghan War


British India and the North-West Frontier

  • Conquest of Sindh (1843) and annexation of Punjab (1849) carried British boundaries beyond Indus and brought them in contact with Baluch and Pathan tribes
  • Those tribes were mostly independent, but the Amir of Afghanistan claimed nominal suzerainty over them
  • A compromise was finally reached by drawing Durand Line, 1893 between Afghan and British territories
  • But the Durand Agreement failed to keep peace and soon there were tribal uprisings.
  • Curzon, the viceroy between 1899 and 1905, followed a policy of withdrawal and concentration.
  • British troops withdrew from advanced posts which were replaced by tribal levies, trained and commanded by British officers
  • He also encouraged the tribals to maintain peace
  • He created North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) in 1901 directly under the Government of India
  • Earlier, it was under control of the lieutenant-governor of Punjab
  • 1932, it was announced that the NWFP was to be constituted as a governor’s province.
  • Since 1947,the province belongs to Pakistan.


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