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

Название: Foreign Office Files for India, Pakistan and Afghanistan, 1947-1980
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Description: Section I. Independence, partition, and the Nehru era, 1947-64 - - Section II. South Asian conflicts and independence for Bangladesh, 1964-71 - - Section III. Afghanistan and the Cold War, emergency rule in India, and the resumption of civilian rule in Pakistan, 1972-80.

These three collections consist of the British Government's files on the countries of South Asia from shortly before Indian partition and independence up to 1980. This was a turbulent era in the region's history. The partition of 1947 and the splitting apart of Pakistan in 1971 were accompanied by loss of life and enormous population movements, as refugees fled violence or ethnic conflict. India fought Pakistan twice in Kashmir, in 1947-8 and 1965, and China in the Himalayas in 1962. Stable and democratic government proved elusive outside India, the region experiencing a succession of coups: in Pakistan in 1958 and 1977, in Afghanistan in 1973, 1978 and 1979, and in Bangladesh in 1975; democracy underwent a flowering and then a withering in Nepal, where King Mahendra established a partyless autocracy in 1959. Even in India, which had successfully established a democratic, secular state at independence, the government of India Gandhi became increasingly authoritarian and intolerant of dissent in the 1970s, imprisoning hundreds of opponents.

From the perspectives of the Cold War superpowers of the era, South Asia was a decisive military and ideological battleground. Britain maintained naval bases in Ceylon after its independence and established a significant RAF presence in the Maldives; in 1971 an American airbase was set up on the British island of Diego Garcia. Pakistan became a significant ally of the United States, which supplied arms and military technology; it also joined CENTO, an alliance intended to stop Soviet expansion into the Middle East. In contrast, India under Nehru followed a neutral course, being instrumental in the founding of the Non-Aligned Movement, until it was forced to look to western aid when faced with a hostile China. The 1970s also saw both India and Pakistan develop nuclear weapons.

The files in this collection cover these events from the standpoint of British officialdom. In addition to high politics, the papers in the files cover such issues as economic and industrial development, trade, migration, visits to South Asia by British politicians and by South Asian politicians to Britain and elsewhere, education, administrative reorganisation, conflict over language, aid, political parties, agriculture and irrigation, and television and the press. Together they form a resource of fundamental value to scholars and students of modern South Asia.
Coverage: 1947-1980

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