HC Deb 23 June 1882 vol 271 cc202-3

asked the Secretary of State for India, whether it is true that considerable reductions have quite recently been made in the Military Forces of the Crown in India; and, if. so, what those reductions have been?


On the recommendation of the Commission on Army Organization appointed by the late Viceroy of India, and on the urgent and renewed representation of the Government of India that the strength of Artillery in that country was in excess of its requirements, especially as regards the very expensive branch of Horse Artillery, four batteries of that arm and one field battery, together with six batteries of garrison artillery, have been reduced. The number of mountain batteries has, however, been increased, and the strength of the 17 remaining garrison batteries has been increased from 80 to 108 men each. As regards the British establishment, no reductions or changes in the British Cavalry or Infantry in India have as yet been made. With regard to the reductions in the Native Army, four regiments of Cavalry and 18 regiments of Infantry have been reduced; but such an increase has been made to the 144 remaining regiments as to raise the total fighting strength in all ranks by a small number—about 30—the actual increase in privates being 2,366. One British officer has also been added to the establishment of each regiment.


Will the noble Marquess tell us what further reductions are contemplated?


answered that the Report to which he had made reference proposed a very considerable reduction in cadres, but no reduction in the total number of men. The Government of India had also recommended certain reductions; but they had not yet been adopted.