The central theme of this volume is deteriorating India-Pakistan relations. It opens in the aftermath of the Indian takeover of Hyderabad. This had been accomplished so rapidly that there was a widespread feeling in Pakistan that their country would be next to attract the attention of the Indian Army. Matters were worsened by the exodus of more than a million disaffected Hindus from East Pakistan to India. Belligerent speeches were made by both sides and Nehru told the British High Commissioner, Archibald Nye, on 20 November 1948 that ‘the situation in East Bengal was causing him far more anxiety than that in Kashmir’. However it was Kashmir which remained the major cause of tension. After a period of relative stalemate there was movement from mid-November and a real possibility of the extension of the fighting into West Punjab. Fortunately wiser counsels were to prevail and the volume gives clues as to why a cease fire was agreed extremely rapidly at the end of December. This took effect at midnight on 1 January 1949. There were now grounds for hope that relations between the two Dominions would greatly improve although Nye felt that because of likely problems with a plebiscite ‘in many respects our Kashmir troubles were only about to start’. But he trusted that these would not be accompanied by bloodshed.
The volume contains 376 documents (with Appendices) and includes extracts from the monthly appreciations on the general situation which both High Commissioners sent to London.
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Table of Contents
1. Documents for 18-30 September 1948 2. Documents for 1-15 October 1948 3. Documents for 16-31 October 1948 4. Documents for 1-15 November 1948 5. Documents for 16-30 November 1948 6.Documents for 1-15 December 1948 7. Documents for 16-31 December 1948
Lionel Carter was a member of the team which produced the British Government’s series of Documents on the Transfer of Power to India, 1942-47. From 1980 until 1999, Carter served as Secretary and Librarian of the Centre of South Asian Studies at the University of Cambridge.