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Theme 8. British policy in Tibet in 1912-1933


The return of Dalai Lama to Tibet in 1912.Attempts of Britain to re-establish Tibet as a buffer zone. The decalartion of Tibetan independence by the 13th Dalai Lama. Conference in Simla in 1914. The Anglo-Tibetan Simla Agreement as an unequal bargain: in return for India's frontier security, the Tibetans were promised diplomatic and military support in their stmggle with China. Britain proclaimed Chinese ‘suzerainty’ over an ‘autonomous’ Tibet. Situation in Tibet during World War I. Redifining of British interests in China after 1918. Plans of transformation of Tibet in the 1920s. British policy of the 1920s and 1930s led to eventual loss of Tibet’s independence: Britain wanted Tibet as a buffer but was not prepared to give the support necessary for it to remain independent. Foreign Office’s a 'wait-and-see' approach as a 'dormancy' policy. The 1921 Washington Conference as the crossroad in Anglo-Tibetan policy. Anti-British boycott in China after 1925. Moving allegiance of Dalai-Lama away from Britain towards China. British support of Chinese nationalism in post World War II period and Communist China’s invasion into Tibet in 1955.

The majority of the British troops returned to India, leaving 8,000 in Afghanistan, but it soon became clear that Shuja's rule could only be maintained with the presence of a stronger British force. The Afghans resented the British presence and the rule of Shah Shuja. As the occupation dragged on, William Hay Macnaghten allowed his soldiers to bring their families to Afghanistan to improve morale; this further infuriated the Afghans, as it appeared the British were setting up a permanent occupation Dost Mohammad unsuccessfully attacked the British and their Afghan protégé, and subsequently surrendered and was exiled to India in late 1840.

By this time, the British had vacated the fortress of Bala Hissar and relocated to a cantonment built to the northeast of Kabul. The chosen location was indefensible, being low and swampy with hills on every side. To make matters worse, the cantonment was too large for the number of troops camped in it and had a defensive perimeter almost two miles long. In addition, the stores and supplies were in a separate fort, 300 yards from the main cantonment.

Between April and October 1841, disaffected Afghan tribes were flocking to support Dost Mohammad's son, Akbar Khan, in Bamiyan and other areas north of the Hindu Kush mountains, organised into an effective resistance by chiefs such as Mir Masjidi Khan and others. In November 1841, a senior British officer, Sir Alexander 'Sekundar' Burnes, and his aides were killed by a mob in Kabul. The British forces took no action in response, which encouraged further revolt. The British situation soon deteriorated when Afghans stormed the poorly defended supply fort inside Kabul on November 9.

In the following weeks the British commanders tried to negotiate with Akbar Khan. Macnaghten secretly offered to make Akbar Afghanistan's vizier in exchange for allowing the British to stay, while simultaneously disbursing large sums of money to have him assassinated, which was reported to Akbar Khan. A meeting for direct negotiations between Macnaghten and Akbar was held near the cantonment on 23 December, but Macnaghten and the three officers accompanying him were seized and slain by Akbar Khan. Macnaghten's body was dragged through the streets of Kabul and displayed in the bazaar. Elphinstone had partly lost command of his troops already and his authority was badly damaged.

The Second Anglo–Afghan War was fought between the United Kingdom and the Emirate of Afghanistan from 1878 to 1880, when the latter was ruled by Sher Ali Khan of the Barakzai dynasty, the son of former Emir Dost Mohammad Khan. This was the second time British India invaded Afghanistan. The war ended after the British emerged victorious against the Afghan rebels and the Afghans agreed to let the British attain all of their geopolitical objectives from the Treaty of Gandamak. Most of the British and Indian soldiers withdrew from Afghanistan. The Afghans were permitted to maintain internal sovereignty but they had to cede control of their nation's foreign relations to the British.


Date: 2015-12-17; view: 1417

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Lecture 7. “Great Game” and Afghanistan | Theme 9. Soviet help to Xinjiang governor Sheng Shicai in the 1930s
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