HC Deb 03 March 1903 vol 118 cc1232-3

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for India whether the Resolutions or other Orders of the Indian Government, defining the objects and organisation of the Seistan Arbitration Commission, now travelling through the waterless Registan desert, and also the Seistan Boundary Commission under command of Major MacMahon, can be laid before Parliament, together with estimates of the cost of the large military escort accompanying these Commissions; does the proposed boundary demarcation extend to the Persian frontiers: and, seeing that these operations are outside British India, will the expenditure incurred be borne by or delated to the imperial Treasury; has work on the projected Quetta-Nushki-Seistan Railway already commenced; and from what funds, or under what guarantees, will that line be constructed.


In accordance with the sixth Article of the Treatyof 1857, Major MacMahon has been deputed to proceed to the Perso-Afghan frontier to settle certain disputes which have arisen between the Persians and Afghans in Seistan regarding irrigation rights. He has also been instructed to take the opportunity of demarcating, in conjunction with a Persian Commissioner, a portion of the Perso-Baluch frontier, which was settled but not actually demarcated by a joint Anglo-Persian Commission in 1896, but regarding which some misunderstanding has recently arisen. Major MacMahon's escort consists of a troop of cavalry and two companies of infantry. I have received no estimate of the cost, but the expense will fall upon Indian revenues. I understand that the work has commenced on the line to Nushki, which will be constructed from Indian funds. I do not propose at present to lay any Papers on the Table.