In this article I’m going to explain about Policy of masterly Inactivity and why it abandoned, Core Principles, Architect: Lord John Lawrence, Reasons behind the Policy, Criticisms and Shift, Abandonment and Legacy

Understanding the Policy of Masterly Inactivity in British India

Core Principles

Non-Intervention: The British Raj refrained from getting involved in Afghan affairs actively. This meant no sending British troops or officials into Afghanistan.

Cautious Diplomacy: Instead of domination, the British focused on friendly relations with Afghan rulers through diplomatic channels.

Internal Focus: Rather than spreading thin, the British prioritized consolidating their power within India itself.

Architect: Lord John Lawrence

Learning from Mistakes: Lord John Lawrence, the Viceroy of India, shaped this policy based on the failures of the First Anglo-Afghan War. He believed avoiding direct involvement in Afghanistan would save resources and manpower.

Reasons behind the Policy

Past Lessons: The disastrous outcome of the First Anglo-Afghan War taught the British that conquering Afghanistan was not worth the effort.

Cost Considerations: Maintaining a large military presence in Afghanistan seemed too expensive compared to the strategic benefits.

Challenges of Terrain and Politics: Afghanistan’s rugged landscape and fiercely independent tribes made successful military campaigns unlikely.

Criticisms and Shift

Fears of Russian Influence: Critics worried that British inaction would allow Russia to expand into Central Asia, potentially threatening British interests.

Instability Concerns: Some argued that not supporting a particular Afghan ruler could lead to instability, which might harm British interests.

Abandonment and Legacy

The Policy of Masterly Inactivity was abandoned in the late 1870s due to changing political leadership and concerns over Russian influence. The subsequent Second Anglo-Afghan War proved costly for the British, raising questions about the effectiveness of the policy in safeguarding their interests.

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