Discuss the key principles of Subsidiary Alliance System. To what extent, this system contributed in making the British Company the Supreme Sovereign Authority in India?

Published: February 19, 2017

The key principles of subsidiary alliance system were as follows:

  • A permanent subsidiary force would be stationed in the capital of friendly princely state
  • For the upkeep of this force a smaller native state was asked to pay in cash and bigger native state was asked to surrender a part of its territory yielding revenue equal to the expenditure on upkeep of subsidiary force.
  • The company was to protect native state from all external enemies of any kind.
  • An English resident was to stay in the capital of native state
  • Native state was to surrender its foreign relation to company
  • Native state was not to employ any Frenchman or other European nation who don’t have friendly terms with Britain.
  • The native state was not to declare any war or peace without the permission of the company
  • The native state shall not enter into offensive or defensive alliance without the permission of the company.

Due to this system, the company was able to maintain a large army without much financial burden. Battalions of such armies were stationed at places of strategic significance to counter any challenge arising from any part of India. Thus, subsidiary alliance strengthened the striking capability of East India Company. This system not only helped British in territorial expansion because almost half of the territory of native state was given away for the upkeep of subsidiary force; but also helped in wiping out the French challenge and eliminated possibilities of native alliance against British. [254 words]

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