Modern History Simplified: Policy of Subsidiary Alliance by Lord Richard Wellesley

Policy of Subsidiary Alliance
  1. Lord Wellesley decided that the time was ripe for bringing as many Indian states as possible under British control. By 1797 the two strongest Indian powers, Mysore and the Marathas, had declined in power.
  2. To achieve his political aims Wellesley relied on three methods: the system of Subsidiary Alliances’, outright war, and the assumption of the territories of previously subordinated rulers.
  3. What is the Subsidiary Alliance System?
    • The ruler of the allying Indian state was compelled to accept the permanent stationing of a British force within his territory and to pay a subsidy for its maintenance.
    • Sometimes the ruler ceded part of his territory instead of paying an annual subsidy.
    • Also the Indian ruler would agree to the posting at his court of a British Resident.
    • The Indian Ruler would not employ any European in his service without the approval of the British.
    • The Indian Ruler would not negotiate with any other Indian ruler without consulting the Governor-General.
    • In return, the British undertook to defend the ruler from his enemies. 
    • They also promised non-interference in the internal affairs of the allied state, but this was a promise they seldom kept.
  4. The State  lost the right of self-defence, of maintaining diplomatic relations, of employing foreign experts, and of settling its disputes with its neighbours.
The Indian States’ Subsidiary Alliances were formed in the following order:

Hyderabad (1798)
Mysore (1799 – After Tipu Sultan was defeated in the Fourth Anglo-Mysore War)
Tanjore (1799)
Awadh (1801)
Peshwa (Marathas) (1802)
Scindia (Marathas) (1803)
Gaekwad (Marathas) (1803)

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