Southern Asia 1947: Partition of India
The end of World War II saw British India in a state of increasing unrest, with debt-ridden Britain unwilling to accept the political and financial costs of maintaining control. In light of the growing conflict between Hindus and Muslims, the British granted their Indian Empire independence as two separate states: the Union of India and the Muslim-majority Dominion of Pakistan.
Changes to the map 28 September 1946–15 August 1947
Partition of India: India and Pakistan have become independent. Many princely states have not yet agreed to side with either country, including Kashmir, Hyderabad, Bhopal, Kalat, Bahawalpur, Tripura, and Manipur. Junagadh has declared for Pakistan. Sikkim and Bhutan have become protectorates of India. Hindu-Muslim violence has spread across India and Pakistan, creating millions of refugees.
Iran Crisis: Iran has occupied the separatist regions and renounced Soviet influence.
First Indochina War: The Viet Minh have attacked the French around Hanoi and are resurgent throughout Vietnam.
Indonesian National Revolution: The Dutch have reoccupied the main centers of Sumatra.
Egypt: The British have withdrawn from Egypt, which in turn has broken off diplomatic relations with Britain over British intentions to grant Sudan self-government.
14–15 Dec 1946 Reoccupation of Iranian Azerbaijan▲
Following the Soviet withdrawal from northwest Iran, Iranian troops moved into Tabriz, capital of the Azerbaijan People’s Government. The following day, Iran also occupied the Republic of Mahabad. Many of the Azerbaijani and Kurdish supporters of the two separatist republics fled to neighboring Soviet Azerbaijan.
19 Dec 1946 Outbreak of First Indochina War▲
Vietnamese Viet Minh forces detonated explosives in Hanoi, French Indochina, plunging the city into darkness. From here, the Viet Minh attacked French homes and military positions until a French counterattack was able to regain control of the city in February 1947. This battle marked the start of the First Indochina War.
3 Jun 1947 Mountbatten Plan▲
Only three months after his arrival in March, the new Indian viceroy, Louis Mountbatten, announced at a press conference on 3 June 1947 that a partitioned India would become independent as the two new dominions of India and Pakistan on 15 August. Referendums would be held in the key provinces to determine whether they would join India or Pakistan, with the princely states also advised to choose one or the other. The announcement of partition led to outbreaks of violence in mixed Muslim-Hindi areas, leading to hundreds of thousands of deaths and encouraging over 14 million people to migrate to places of religious majority.
21 Jul–4 Aug 1947 Operation Product▲
The Netherlands conducted Operation Product, a major military offensive against the Republic of Indonesia, after the breakdown of negotiations between the Dutch and the Indonesian nationalists. The offensive recaptured large parts of Java and Sumatra, before international pressure on the Dutch led to a ceasefire.
15 Aug 1947 Partition of Bengal▲
The British Indian province of Bengal is divided between India and Pakistan as part of the Partition of India, after the concept of an independent united Bengal is rejected. The partition prompts millions of migrants to flee across the border. Furthermore, by separating the industrial Hindu-majority West Bengal from the agricultural Muslim-majority East Bengal, the partition is economically devastating to both regions.
15 Aug 1947 Creation of Pakistan▲
The Dominion of Pakistan becomes independent upon the partition of British India under Governor-General Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan. The dominion begins as a federation of three provinces taken directly from British India—Sind, Baluchistan, and North-West Frontier Province—and two provinces partitioned with India—West Punjab and East Bengal.
15 Aug 1947 Indian Independence▲
Under the direction of Lord Louis Mountbatten of Burma, the last Viceroy of the British Indian Empire, British India is partitioned into the sovereign states of the Dominion of Pakistan and the Union of India. Indian National Congress leader Jawaharlal Nehru becomes Prime Minister of India, with Mountbatten agreeing to remain as Governor-General. The British Indian Army, the Indian Civil Service, the railways, and the central treasury are divided between India and Pakistan.
15 Aug 1947 Accession of Junagadh▲
Mohammad Mahabat Khanji III, the Nawab of the Gujarati princely state of Junagadh, announces the accession of his state to Pakistan. On 15 September Pakistan accepts his offer, despite Junagadh being geographically separated from Pakistan and only one-fifth of its population being Muslim. India responds by closing its borders to Junagadh, forcing the Nawab to flee to Karachi in October.