22 SEPTEMBER 1939, Page 2

India's Co-operation

The degree of conviction and resolve with which a country of such potentialities as India throws itself into the Allied cause is a matter of the first importance in its bearing on the result of the war, the future of India itself and the future of the British Empire. The Princes have immediately, as in 1914, come forward with liberal offers of support. All British India, whatever degree of active participation it may or may not be prepared for, loathes everything Nazi Germany stands for, and realises that the hopes of India can only be fulfilled if Britain and France are victorious. Mr. Gandhi, with all his immense influence, has made his own views about that crystal-clear, and, as Lord Halley recalled in a broadcast speech on Saturday, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru has painted a vivid picture of what India would be under Nazi rule. Nevertheless, the Indian National Congress has so far hesitated to commit the vast following for which it speaks, inviting the British Government to declare first its war-aims in regard to democracy and imperialism and say how effect would be given to them in India. So far as this represents an attempt to drive a political bargain under stress of crisis it is unfortunate. India is well on the way to Dominion status, and the delay in bringing federation into force is not the fault of the British Government. The fruit of the last war for India was the great constitutional advance marked by the Montagu-Chelmsford reforms. Like co- operation in the present conflict must inevitably have like results. Congress, it may be hoped, will recognise that, and not feel it necessary to stop and drive a bargain now.