29 NOVEMBER 1940, Page 1

The Irony of India

An article on a later page on the situation in India, by an Indian writer whose sympathies with the Indian National Con- gress are tempered by a sober realism, affords so much ground for hope as is provided by the suggestion that present differences are to some extent based on misunderstandings, and that the ground for an accommodation between Indian leaders (the Moslem League as well as the Congress must be included) could still be found. This is merely a personal opinion, but if there is any basis at all for it the possibility should be explored to the utmost. It is ironical to the point of despair that a man so radically and fundamentally hostile to Nazism as Mr. Nehru should be undergoing imprisonment for speeches denouncing Indian co-operation in the war against Nazism. India, of course, is co-operating on a great and increasing scale, as statements broadcast within the past week by the Indian High Commissioner, Sir Firoz Khan Noon, and Mr. Amery strikingly testify. There has just, moreover, concluded at Delhi the highly important conference of Commonwealth States East of Suez, which has decided to perpetuate its existence through a standing committee whose seat will be in Indii. But even more important than to secure India's material support is to secure India's goodwill. Mr. Amery has made a good start as Secretary of State, but the influence of half a dozen leading personalities in India at present is great, and a Secretary of State in Whitehall can establish no effective contact with them. Mr. Amery in the House of Commons last week deprecated the idea that a personal visit to India by himself would be of value. He may well be mistaken in this. Such a visit could be only exploratory ; hopes must not be encouraged only to be dashed; but the case for personal contacts at this moment is very strong.