§ THE MARQUESS OF LANSDOWNE
My Lords, I wish to ask the noble Earl the Leader of the House a Question of which I have given him private notice—namely, whether he has any information to give us as to the accuracy of a statement which appeared in The Times to-day to the effect that a force consisting of a company of sappers and miners and the 48th Pioneers is to move to a station on the Darjeeling line, and that this station is to serve as a base should operations be undertaken in Tibet.
§ THE LORD PRIVY SEAL AND SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE COLONIES (THE EARL OF CREWE)
My Lords, in reply to the Question of the noble Marquess I have to say that, in view of the present disturbed condition of Tibet, the Government of India have thought it necessary to collect at the frontier a sufficient force to enable the trade agencies at Gyantse and Yatung to be speedily reinforced in case they should at any time be in immediate danger of attack. The force which is held in readiness includes one battalion of Native Infantry, two sections of mountain Artillery, and a section of sappers and miners; and also a battalion and a section of sappers and miners will be sent, if necessary, to hold the lines of communication. This force will not cross the frontier unless the protection of our officers renders it necessary, and it will in no circumstances intervene between Tibetans and Chinese, and if it should ever enter Tibet it will be withdrawn as soon as the situation permits.