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Wavell Plan (1945)
In October 1943 the British Government decided to replace Lord Linlithgow with Lord Wavell as the Viceroy of India. Before assuming the charge, Wavell worked as the Chief of the Indian army and thus had quite an understanding of the Indian situation. Right after assuming charge as Viceroy, Wavell’s most important task was to present a formula for the solution of the Indian problem which was acceptable for both the Congress and the Muslim League. After doing his basic homework, in May 1945 he visited London and discussed his suggestions with the British Government. The London talks resulted in the formulation of a definite plan of action which was officially made public simultaneously on June 14, 1945, by L.S. Amery, the Secretary of State for India in the House of Commons, and by Wavell in a broadcast speech delivered from Delhi. The plan, commonly known as Wavell Plan presented the following proposals:
- If all the Indian political parties would help the British in the war then the British Government would introduce Constitutional Reforms in India after the war.
- Viceroy’s Executive Council would be immediately reconstituted and the number of its members would be increased.
- In that Council, there would be equal representation of high-class Hindus and Muslims.
- Other minorities including low-caste Hindus, Shudders, and Sikhs would be given representation in the Council.
- All the members of the Council, except the Viceroy and the Commander-in-Chief, would be Indians.
- An Indian would be appointed as a member of Foreign Affairs in the Council. However, a British Commissioner would be appointed to look after the matters relating to the trade.
- Defense of India was to be in the hands of a British authority till Power was transferred to the Indian hands
- Viceroy would convene a meeting of the Indian politician including the leaders of Congress and the Muslim League so that they could nominate the names of the members of the new Council.
- If this plan is approved for the Central Government then the same type of popular ministries comprising of the political leaders would be formed in all the provinces.
- None of the changes suggested will in any way prejudice or prejudge the essential form of the future permanent Constitution of India
To discuss the proposal with the Indian leaders, Wavell summoned a conference in Simla on June 25, 1945.