The Indianisation of the Indian Army
A history of wasted opportunity – prejudice, procrastination and fears of a British backlash hampered attempts to give the Indian Army a native officer corps between 1919 and 1939.
In my opinion, we have been playing a losing hand from the start in this matter of 'Indianisation'. The Indian has always thought, rightly or wrongly, that we never intended the scheme to succeed and expected it to fail. Colour was lent to this view by the way in which each new step forward has had to be wrested from us, instead of being freely given. Now that we have given a lot we get no credit because there was little grace in our giving!
These were the opinions of the then Lieutenant-General, Claude Auchinleck, on the policy of the Indianisation of the Indian Army, as stated in a letter to Leo Amery, the Secretary of State for India, on October 12th, 1940. What was Indianisation, and why was General Auchinleck, the future Commander-in-Chief, so clearly unimpressed with the policy up to the beginning of the Second World War? Indianisation was officially defined by Lord Halifax, the Secretary of State for India, in 1934:
The term Indianisation is used to describe the process of introducing Indians into the Commissioned ranks of the defence forces in India.