What is Subsidiary Alliance, its features, advantages and disadvantages?

Safalta expert Published by: Saumya Sahoo Updated Thu, 03 Nov 2022 10:51 AM IST

 The design of Colonial expansion in the 17 th century is characterised by a number of policies, but the Subsidiary Alliance System attributed to the mind of Lord Wellesley was a master stroke that helped to expand the British Empire and ensure the security of the British Territories.  The idea behind the expansionist policy of Wellesley was to ensure expansion and integrity without having to pay for security. The nitty-gritty of the subsidiary alliance is crucial for candidates looking to paper for various examinations.  The direct questions on the subsidiary alliance often appear in the mains examination.  The space below has all the details related to the Subsidiary allowance and policy issues, and implications associated with it.
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Subsidiary Alliance features 

  • The treaty in India was planned by Lord Wellesley, but the term was introduced by the French Governor Duplex.
  • An Indian ruler who has entered into a Subsidiary alliance with the British must disband his army and accept British forces in his territories.
  • He additionally needed to pay for the preservation of the British army. If he failed to pay, part of his territory was taken and ceded to the British. In return, the British would protect the Indian nation from foreign attacks and domestic rebellions.
  • British promised not to interfere in the internal affairs of the Indian state, but this was rarely fulfilled.
  • The Indian state could not form an alliance with any other foreign power. Nor was it allowed to employ non-British foreigners. And if they hired anyone, they had to dismiss them from their service when the alliance was signed.
  • The idea was to curb French influence. No Indian states were allowed to form political alliances with other Indian states without British consent. Thus, the Indian ruler lost all power over foreign policy and military affairs.

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    It lost virtually all independence and became a British "protectorate". A British resident was also stationed at the Indian Court.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Subsidiary Alliance

The system of subsidiary alliance put forward several advantages to the Britishers that are disadvantageous to the Indian people in several ways.

Advantages for British Empire

The British received valuable territory.
For the British, the kings of India maintained sizable armies.
The protected ally's defense and foreign policy were indirectly under British supervision.
The Indian king may be overthrown at any time, and their domains could be annexed.
Other European nations had little access to the Indian kings' courts and were powerless to sway them.

Disadvantages for the Indian rulers

Indian kings lost their freedom and were under total British domination.
Indian states fell into poverty as a result of the subsidies' impact on their finances. The British annexed the states once the government fell. (Awadh, for instance)
The treasury was depleted by the expensive cost of supporting the British army and the ongoing demands of the inhabitants.
With British protection and patronage, the rulers of India lost concern for the well-being of their own people, who endured enormous injustice and misery.

What do you understand by Subsidiary Alliance?

A subsidiary alliance, in South Asian history, became a tributary alliance between Indian states and a European East India Company. The structure of subsidiary alliances become pioneered with the aid of using the French East India Company governor Joseph François Dupleix, who in the 1740s entrenched treaties with the Nizam of Hyderabad, India, and different Indian princes in the Carnatic region. It said that the Indian rulers who set up a treaty with the British might be furnished with safety in opposition to any outside assaults in the vicinity that the rulers had been:
 (a) required to maintain the British navy in the capitals of their states.
 (b)they had been to offer both money or a few territories to the business enterprise for the protection of the British troops.
(c) they had been to show out from their states all non-English Europeans whether or not they had been hired in the navy or in the civil provider and
(d) they needed to maintain a British reliable called `resident' in the capital in their respective states who might oversee all of the negotiations and talks with the opposite states which intended that the rulers had been to don't have any direct correspondence or family members with the opposite states. The approach become sooner or later followed with the aid of using the British East India Company, with Robert Clive negotiating a sequence of situations with Mir Jafar following his victory in the 1757 Battle of Plassey, and sooner or later the ones in the 1765 Treaty of Allahabad, due to the business enterprise's fulfillment in the 1764 Battle of Buxar. A successor of Clive, Richard Wellesley first of all took a non-interventionist coverage closer to the numerous Indian states which had been allied to the British East India Company, however later followed, and delicate the coverage of forming subsidiary alliances. The motive and ambition of this alteration are said in his February 1804 dispatch to the East India Company Resident in Hyderabad.

What were the advantages of Subsidiary Alliance?

  1. Britain acquired valuable territories as a side income. Indian rulers maintained a large army for Britain.
  2. Britain indirectly controlled the defense and foreign policy of its protected allies.
  3. They could also overthrow Indian rulers and annex their territories at any time.
  4. Other European powers had little access to the courts of Indian rulers and were unable to influence them.

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