Indian Political Department

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The Indian Political Department (IPD) originated in a resolution passed on September 13, 1783 by the Board of Directors of the East India Company; this decreed the creation of a department which could help “relieve the pressure” on the administration of Warren Hastings in conducting its "secret and political business".

In 1843, Governor-General Ellenborough reformed the administration, organizing Secretariat of the Government into four departments – Foreign, Home, Finance and Military. The officer in charge of the foreign department was supposed to manage the “conduct of all correspondence belonging to the external and internal diplomatic relations of the government”.

A distinction was made between the “foreign” and “political” functions of the department; relations with all “Asiatic powers” (including native princely states of India) were treated as “political” and those with all European powers as “foreign”.

At independence in 1948, the Foreign and Political department of the British India government was transformed into the new Ministry of External Affairs and Commonwealth Relations.


The staff employed by the IPD were generally referred to as "politicals" and were recruited form four areas:[1]


  1. ^ Wendy Palace (2004), The British Empire & Tibet 1900 - 1922, London: Routledge, ISBN 0415346827, OCLC 834529138, 0415346827 

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