HC Deb 03 May 1937 vol 323 cc763-4
4. Mr. Gallacher

asked the Under-Secretary of State for India whether His Majesty's Government are prepared to reconsider the present policy of the Government of India in regard to the North-West Frontier, to abandon all interference in the tribal area, and to stop strategical road construction in Waziristan and the bombing of wide areas from the air which has accompanied it; and whether, with a view to avoiding further bloodshed, the Government will secure the immediate withdrawal of all British and Indian forces to a stated distance within the administrative border of India?

The Under-Secretary of State for India (Mr. Butler)

The policy of the Government of India is to maintain the peace of the border and to enter into friendly relations with the tribes, with a view to their gradual civilisation. There can be no question of a reversal of this policy in the sense suggested by the hon.

Mr. Gallacher

Is there any difference between the British bombing Waziris who are defending their territory and the Italians bombing Abyssinia?

7. Brigadier-General Clifton Brown

asked the Under-Secretary of State for India what are the latest developments on the North-West Frontier of India; and whether the lack of mule and pack transport, which has hindered the operations of the troops away from the roads, has yet been overcome?

Mr. Butler

The operations recently carried out by different columns composed of two brigades of the 1st Division and the Razmak and Bannu brigades have in each case been successful. In these, and in the attack on the 2nd Brigade camp on the night of 27th/28th April, the tribal lashkars have suffered heavily and it is reported that they are diminishing in number. There is no lack of animal pack transport and the accounts of operations, which are fully reported in the Press, show that the tactical mobility of the various columns is not being impaired.

Brigadier-General Brown

Is the hon. Gentleman quite clear that with the large mechanised force in India now there is in mountainous country adequate mobility?

Mr. Butler

I am informed that there is an adequate supply of animal transport where it is needed.

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