HC Deb 08 November 1944 vol 404 cc1363-4
68. Mr. Summers

asked the Secretary of State for India if he is aware of the resentment felt by those who have joined the Indian Army, not as a career but for the war, many of whom are not volunteers, that they are not to participate in the scheme for demobilisation; and if he has any statement to make.

The Secretary of State for India (Mr. Amery)

My hon. Friend is, of course, aware that general demobilisation cannot take place until the total defeat of the Axis Powers throughout the world, and that, pending the defeat of Japan the question, as is clearly stated in the White Paper on the subject, is one of the reallocation of man-power. While the White Paper does not itself apply to British personnel of the Indian Army, I can assure him that general principles laid down in it, e.g. release by age and service group and special release for urgent reconstruction employment, will be applied to the Indian Army subject to such modifications as the special circumstances of the latter may call for. But the clause in the White Paper which states that "military requirements must override all other considerations "applies to the Indian Army as well as to the British Army, and the special problem with which the former is faced is that officers who have received the training which fits them to command Indian troops cannot be released until trained officers are available to replace them. Subject to these overriding Considerations, the Government of India and I are determined that all practicable steps should be taken to secure that release of personnel from the Indian Army should, as far as possible, accord with the lines that are being adopted in the case of the British Army. I am in consultation with the War Office on the subject.

Mr. Summers

Are we to understand from that reply that, apart from the exigencies of war, there would be no handicaps in respect of demobilisation to a man in the Indian Army, as compared with a man in the British Army serving with the Indian Army?

Mr. Amery

That is a very correct summary of my longer answer.

Mr. A. Edwards

Do I understand that it does not matter even if they are volunteers? If they are volunteers serving with the Indian Army, do I understand that they have not, in any way, prejudiced their right to demobilisation?

Mr. Amery

No, Sir, subject to the exigencies of the Service, as I have said.