HC Deb 16 March 1899 vol 68 cc965-6

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for India how-far and in what direction during the last dozen years have the Indian Military authorities, in the methods of recruiting and organising their native armies, extended the policy of forming regiments or companies of special races, castes, or communities; and can any correspondence be presented, or other form of consecutive statement be made that will serve to explain to Parliament the objects of these sectional organisations and show what authorities have advised these changes in recruiting and in classifying the rank and file of the Indian armies; such statement to include copies of any dissents recorded or objections made either in the Council of the Governor-General or in that of the Secretary of State?


The whole of the Native Army in India is now organised either in class regiments or in class squadron and class company regiments, the general principles as regards the latter being that no class should consist of less than two troops or two companies, and that as a rule there should not be more than three classes in a regiment, and never more than four classes. The composition of each regiment is detailed in the Indian Army list. The change was recommended by the Government of India, with the concurrence of the Commander-in Chief and of the Governments of Madras and Bombay. One member of the Viceroy's Council dissented from the proposal to form class company regiments in Bombay, but did not record any written dissent. There were no dissents recorded in the Council of India. I do net think the subject is one upon which it would be advisable to publish the correspondence, though I could have a Memorandum prepared which, without entering into the reasons for the changes, would show the changes which have been made of late years.