§ SIR WILLIAM WEDDERBURN (Banffshire)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for India, whether, in accordance with Section 54 of the Government of India Act, 1858, the fact that orders were sent directing the actual commencement of hostilities beyond the external frontiers of India, were as regards the Chitral Expedition, communicated to both Houses of Parliament within three months after the sending of such order; and, if not, why this has not been done?
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR INDIA (Lord GEORGE HAMILTON,) Ealing, Middlesex
No communication under the Act has been made to Parliament as regards Chitral. The orders sent for the advance of a force to relieve the Political Agent in Chitral have not been held to be of a nature to fall within the provisions of Section 54. An examination of the precedents shows that the Section has never been held to apply to cases such as the present, where the operations have been carried on with frontier tribes, and not an organised Power beyond Her Majesty's Indian Protectorate. The only cases in which the consent of Parliament has been asked since the Act of 1858 was passed, are those when hostilities were carried on in Abyssinia, Afghanistan, Egypt and Burma. As the House has already been informed by the right hon. the First Lord of the Treasury, papers relating to the Chitral Expedition, including the most recent instructions, will be laid on the Table of the House as early as possible.
§ SIR W. WEDDERBURN
asked whether the noble Lord considered Chitral within the external frontiers of India?
§ SIR HENRY FOWLER (Wolverhampton, E.)
asked the First Lord of the Treasury whether the papers relating to Chitral would be laid on the Table before the Indian Budget was introduced?
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Mr. A. J. BALFOUR,) Manchester, E.
replied in the affirmative, but added 259 that he did not think the Indian Budget should be taken until Supply was finished, and he hoped that would not take very long.
§ MR. W. J. GALLOWAY (Manchester, S.W.)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for India, whether the troops now in Chitral are to form a permanent force of occupation; if not, which regiments are to be withdrawn; and can he state an approximate date when such withdrawal will take place?
§ LORD GEORGE HAMILTON
There will be a permanent force in Chitral territory, consisting of two native infantry regiments, two guns of a mountain battery, and one company of sappers. What particular regiments will be selected I cannot say, but the Government of India, I understand, propose to withdraw the Pioneer battalion now there. Thus the addition to the force in the whole Gilgit Agency will be one regiment, one company of sappers, and one mountain battery. The withdrawal of the Pioneer regiment will take place as soon as the necessary arrangements can be made. ["Hear, hear!"]