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Partition of the Indian armed forces between India and Pakistan

Sharmila Singh,
Jawaharlal Nehru University
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The partitioning of the Armed Forces was described by Lord Ismay as "the biggest crime and the biggest headache". This was the inevitable consequence of the political decision to partition the count1y. Although theTe has been immense litemture dealing with various aspects of the partition of India, surprisingly, there has been no specific attempt to study the division of the Armed Forces- an enormous task undertaken by the British with the cooperation of the Indian and Pakistani authorities. This thesis hopes to rectify this glaring omission. Chapter I traces the evolution of the British Indian Armed Forces and also the changes in its organisational set-up. Chapter II examines the Indianisation of the Armed Forces, the political compulsions which were responsible for it, and its impact on the organisation of the Armed Forces. Chapter I I I examines the role of the three major actors - the British, the Congress and Muslim League on the question of the future of the Indian Armed Forces. Why were the British opposed to the division of the Armed Forces? Why a policy of rapid partition of the Armed Forces which had at first been regarded as unthinkable, was eventually adopted and applied in great haste? These and various other issues have been examined in this chapter. The complex process of division of the Armed Forces' personnel, units, stores, ordnance factories etc. have been discussed in chapters IV and V. Chapter VI examines the role of the Punjab Boundary Forces which had been created to maintain peace in the disturbed areas of the Punjab. The concluding chapter takes an integrated view of all the issues discussed in the preceding chapters. //bit.ly/3LKl2yy