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

Sources from The National Archives, UK

Survey the high politics of Independence and Partition, social and cultural interchange after 1947 and the ramifications that these changes continue to have throughout South Asia today.

This is an outstanding resource for the political and social history of India, Pakistan and Afghanistan in this period, featuring essential content on Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, Sikkim and Kashmir, as well as other frontier regions.

Files look at the impact on UK, US and European trade, industrial policy, education and the media through a vast array of material including diplomatic dispatches, inward and outward telegrams, newspaper cuttings and transcripts, maps, photographs, political and economic reports, accounts of visits and tours, minutes of meetings, conference proceedings, letters, leaflets and more.

Scholars and students of India history, political science, international relations and economics will find in this publication a rich source of materials to explore and understand a critical period in India’s postcolonial history.
Professor Yasmin Saikia, Arizona State University

Foreign Office Files for India, Pakistan and Afghanistan, 1947-1980 is part of Archives Direct, a cross-searchable multi-product platform, sourced from The National Archives, UK.

Key Data


  • 1947-1964, Independence, Partition and the Nehru Era
  • 1965-1971, South Asian Conflicts and Independence for Bangladesh
  • 1972-1980, Afghanistan and the Cold War, Emergency Rule in India, and the Resumption of Civilian Rule in Pakistan

Period Covered

  • 1947-1980


  • The birth and development of the Indian and Pakistani states, the problems of partition and the tensions over Kashmir
  • Material on the government of Indira Gandhi – increasingly dictatorial, she jailed hundreds of opponents and declared a state of emergency in 1975.
  • The internal political situation in India, Pakistan, Bhutan and Ceylon
  • The political implications of Nehru’s death and the succession crisis in the Congress Party

Source Archive

  • The National Archives, UK

Material Types

  • Diplomatic dispatches
  • Telegrams
  • Newspaper cuttings and transcripts
  • Maps
  • Photographs
  • Political and economic reports
  • Accounts of visits and tours
  • Minutes of meetings
  • Conference proceedings
  • Letters, leaflets and other ephemera

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


  • Birth and development of the Indian and Pakistani states
  • Tensions over Kashmir
  • Evolution of Indian political relations with China
  • Reactions to the death of Mahatma Gandhi and Mohammed Ali Jinnah
  • UK and US arms supplies to India and Pakistan
  • Asian immigration to the UK
  • The government of Indira Gandhi
  • President Nixon's visit to Pakistan in 1969
  • Nuclear policy
  • Indo-Soviet relations

Key Features

  • Full-text searchable English-language materials
  • Documents from the UK government's official archive
  • Available within the cross-searchable Archives Direct platform

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