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Statute of Westminster 1931 and India



  Apr 22, 2024

Statute of Westminster 1931 and India



Q: What was the Statute of Westminster (1931)?

A: A landmark British law that granted legislative independence to the self-governing Dominions within the British Empire (Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Irish Free State, and Newfoundland).

Q: How did the Statute of Westminster change the relationship between Britain and its Dominions?

A: It removed the following powers Britain previously held over Dominions:

● The ability to veto laws passed by Dominion parliaments.

● The automatic inclusion of Dominions in British foreign policy decisions, including war.

Q: What happened before the Statute of Westminster?

A:1865 Colonial Laws Validity Act: This law gave Britain strong control over colonial legislation and foreign policy.

    1926 Imperial Conference: Defined Dominions as equal in status to Britain within the British Commonwealth of Nations.

Q: Why was India excluded from the Statute of Westminster?

A: Several factors played a role:

● India's active and diverse independence movement.

● India's rejection of Dominion status, desiring complete independence.

● Britain's strategic and economic interests in India:

  ►   India housed a large portion of the British army and funded its presence.
  ►   India enjoyed fewer commercial concessions than other colonies.

Q: How did Britain's interests in India prevent its inclusion in the Statute of Westminster?

A: Granting India similar legislative independence would jeopardize Britain's military and economic control over the country, something Britain was unwilling to concede.

Q: What was the Montagu Declaration?

A: A 1917 statement by Edwin Montagu (Secretary of State for India) outlining a vague pathway for India towards self-government. This policy was purposefully ambiguous to appease both pro-independence and pro-British voices within India.



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