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Foreign Office Files for India, Pakistan and Afghanistan, 1947-1980

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Editorial Board

  • Joya Chatterji, University of Cambridge
  • William Gould, University of Leeds
  • Ayesha Jalal, Tufts University
  • Yasmin Saikia, Arizona State University
  • Mrinalini Sinha, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
  • Robert Crews, Stanford University
  • Yuanmei Yao, East China Normal University

Independence, Partition and the Nehru Era, 1947-1964

The following TNA classes are included in their entirety in this section:

  • DO 133/1-170 (India,1947-64)
  • DO 134/1-30 (Pakistan 1947-63)
  • FO 371/61450-175910 (General Correspondence, 1947-64) [files on Indian subcontinent only]

The birth and development of the Indian and Pakistani states, the problems of partition and the tensions over Kashmir, are examined in great detail, from 1947 through to the death of Jawaharlal Nehru in 1964. These were traumatic years for the region, with the violence of partition and its aftermath erupting into full scale war between India and Pakistan.

Other topics include:

  • Refugees and civil disturbances
  • The strategic position of Afghanistan
  • The evolution of Indian political relations with China
  • Reactions to the deaths of Mahatma Gandhi and Mohammed Ali Jinnah
  • Nehru’s visit to the US
  • US economic aid to India
  • UK arms supplies to India and Pakistan
  • The assassination of the Pakistani prime minister, Liaquat Ali Khan, in 1951
  • Indian land reform
  • Communism in South Asia
  • The declaration of martial law in Pakistan
  • The political implications of Nehru’s death and the succession crisis in the Congress Party
  • The future of the Gurkhas in the British Army

South Asian Conflicts and Independence for Bangladesh, 1965-1971

The following TNA classes are included in their entirety in this section:

  • DO 133/171-232 (India, 1965-71)
  • DO 134/31-50 (Pakistan, 1965-71)
  • FO 371/180959-186967 (General Correspondence, 1965-66) [files in this range on Indian subcontinent only]
  • FCO 37/1-980 (South Asia (S and FS Series), 1967-71)

Continued fighting over Kashmir and the separation of Bangladesh from Pakistan meant that further conflict dominated this period. It saw Indira Gandhi, Nehru’s daughter, gain power in India, whilst the military government of Pakistan wrestled with political disturbances, military crises and issues in East Pakistan.

Other files look at:

  • Asian immigration to the UK
  • The internal political situation in India, Pakistan, Bhutan and Ceylon
  • The Tarbela Dam project in Pakistan
  • US arms sales to India and Pakistan
  • British policy on aid and development in the region
  • British economic assistance for Afghanistan
  • Ceylon’s intention to become a Republic
  • President Nixon’s visit to Pakistan in 1969
  • Reports on events in individual Indian states
  • The development of television and films in India
  • Nuclear policy in India
  • Indo-Soviet relations
  • Events leading up to the declaration of independence for Bangladesh
  • UN debates - India, Pakistan and the dispute over Kashmir
  • Military situation, refugee crisis and famine relief in East Pakistan

Afghanistan and the Cold War, Emergency Rule in India, and the resumption of Civilian Rule in Pakistan, 1972-1980

The following TNA classes are included in their entirety in this section:

  • FCO 37/981-2375 (South Asia (S and FS Series), 1972-80)

There is excellent material on the government of Indira Gandhi - increasingly dictatorial, jailing hundreds of opponents and declaring a state of emergency in 1975. Two years later her government fell and India elected its first non-Congress prime minister. This decade also saw India develop nuclear weapons and Pakistan begin its own developments in response.

Other files cover:

  • Political parties in India and Pakistan
  • Industrial unrest in Karachi
  • US, British and Commonwealth policy towards South Asia
  • Coups in Afghanistan
  • International recognition of Bangladesh
  • The establishment of a Republic in Ceylon - Sri Lanka
  • Consequences of the withdrawal of Pakistan from the Commonwealth
  • Narcotics and drug trafficking in Afghanistan
  • The foreign relations and internal security of Bangladesh
  • British food airlifts to Nepal
  • The new Pakistani constitution of 1973
  • Henry Kissinger’s visit to South Asia in 1974
  • Civil disturbances in Sri Lanka in 1977
  • Military situation in Afghanistan, 1979-1980