24 NOVEMBER 1939, Page 2

The Future in India

Not much news is coming through about developments in India, but what is known is on the whole reassuring. The situation is no worse, and in some respects it seems a little better. Mr. Gandhi is obviously reluctant to press matters to the point of general civil disobedience, and the Indian newspapers are writing in more moderate terms. If The Times correspondent at Delhi correctly represents its general attitude Indian opinion would now be satisfied with assur- ances that Dominion status will be granted as soon rs Indians have settled their own communal differences ; special difficulties are admitted to exist in regard to respon- sibility for defence. A message to the Manchester Guardian speaks of a proposal, with respectable Indian backing behind it, that an Indian should be appointed as Member in charge of Defence on the Governor-General's Executive Council. Whether any Indian possesses the necessary qualifications for that particular post seems doubtful. But the expansion of the Executive Council by the addition to it of Indian leaders of the different parties and communities, as suggested by Lord Linlithgow himself, remains the most helpful line of immediate advance. The next step would be to get back to the Federal plan, which but for unnecessary hesitations on the part of the Princes might be in operation today. More desirable still is the resumption of office by the Provincial Ministries which resigned at the bidding of Congress. Even partial agreement at the centre would make that possible.