The British India Command was the name given to the general staff of the Commander-in-Chief (C-in-C), India. It was responsible for India and for varying periods parts of the Middle East (Iraq and Persia). For periods before the creation of South East Asia Command (SEAC) the C-in-C India was also responsible for Ceylon and Burma.
The Commander-in-Chief, India, who reported to the civilian Viceroy of India, had some 2,000 officers under his command in 1945. GHQ India, which was based in New Delhi, was redesignated Army HQ in 1947 when India was partitioned.
World War II
Following a review by the British Chiefs of Staff in late 1939, operational control of troops in Iraq passed in early 1940 to Middle East Command although the provision of troops and their maintenance remained for the most part GHQ India's responsibility. In March 1941, in the period before the Anglo-Iraqi War, the C-in-C Middle East General Archibald Wavell, who was preoccupied with existing problems in his theatre, gained approval for Iraq to come under India's operational control again but once hostilities commenced in May Wavell was obliged by London reluctantly to reassume responsibility. In June 1941, after cessation of hostilities, control reverted once more to GHQ India. India finally relinquished responsibility for Persia and Iraq in August 1942 when a separate Persia and Iraq Command was created.
In December 1941 Burma, which had been under the operational control of Far East Command in Singapore, was transferred to India Command. After the dissolution of ABDACOM in February 1942 the C-in-C India also became responsible for Ceylon. During this period, some Chinese and American units also came under the operational control of the India Command. These responsibilities remained unchanged until the creation of South East Asia Command (SEAC) in August 1943.
With the creation of SEAC there were three separate operational commands. The China Theatre was under the command of Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek. SEAC was an Anglo-American command under a Supreme Allied Commander, Lord Mountbatten, who was responsible for operations in Burma, Ceylon, Malaya and Sumatra. India Command, under General Auchinleck Commander-in-Chief, India, was responsible for the development of India as a base, for internal security in India and the defence of India's North West Frontier. India Command's base responsibility included the training, equipping, maintenance and movement of operational forces assigned to SEAC.
- Patti 1980, p. 11.
- Jackson 2006, p. 148.
- Pakistan's higher defence organisation Defence Journal, January 1999
- India Army GHQ Hansard, 29 November 1945
- Britain's Small Wars
- Playfair 2004a, pp. 63 & 66.
- Playfair 2004b, p. 178.
- Playfair 2004b, pp. 184 & 185.
- Playfair 2004b, p. 250.
- Playfair 2004c, pp. 375 & 376.
- Playfair 2004b, p. 8.
- Playfair 2004c, p. 3.
- Jackson, Ashley (2006). The British Empire and the Second World War (illustrated ed.). Continuum International Publishing Group. p. 148. ISBN 1-85285-417-0.
- Patti, Archimedes L. A. (1980). Why Viet Nam?: Prelude to America's albatross (illustrated ed.). University of California Press. p. 11. ISBN 0-520-04156-9.
- Playfair, Major-General I.S.O.; with Stitt, Commander G.M.S; Molony, Brigadier C.J.C. & Toomer, Air Vice-Marshall S.E. (2004a) [1st. pub. HMSO:1954]. Butler, J.R.M, ed. Mediterranean and Middle East Volume I: The Early Successes Against Italy (to May 1941). History of the Second World War, United Kingdom Military Series. Uckfield, UK: Naval & Military Press. ISBN 1-845740-65-3.
- Playfair, Major-General I.S.O.; with Flynn, Captain F.C. (R.N.); Molony, Brigadier C.J.C. & Toomer, Air Vice-Marshall S.E. (2004b) [1st. pub. HMSO:1956]. Butler, J.R.M, ed. The Mediterranean and Middle East, Volume II: The Germans come to the help of their Ally (1941). History of the Second World War, United Kingdom Military Series. Uckfield, UK: Naval & Military Press. ISBN 1-845740-66-1.
- Playfair, Major-General I.S.O.; with Flynn, Captain F.C. (R.N.); Molony, Brigadier C.J.C. & Gleave, Group Captain T.P. (2004c) [1st. pub. HMSO:1960]. Butler, Sir James, ed. The Mediterranean and Middle East, Volume III: British Fortunes reach their Lowest Ebb (September 1941 to September 1942). History of the Second World War, United Kingdom Military Series. Uckfield, UK: Naval & Military Press. ISBN 1-845740-67-X.
- Romanus, Charles F.; Sunderland, Riley (1953). Stiwell's Mission to China. Government Printing Office. p. 364. Library of Congress 35-603349.