Explain the System of Subsidiary Alliance

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 9th, 2023

The System of Subsidiary Alliance was one of the East India Company’s political and diplomatic strategies. It was introduced to the Indian system by Lord Wellesley in order to gain control over Indian kingdoms, the East India Company used a subsidiary alliance structure. He proposed this concept to bring all of the “princely states” under British rule.

Subsidiary Alliance System

The term Subsidiary Alliance was brought into the system by French Governor DupleixIt and Lord Wellesley was the first to use it.

  • The subsidiary alliance system proposed that the Indian rulers were not permitted to use their independent defense troops but had to maintain British troops in the kingdom and include a British resident in their courts.
  • The East India Company adopted it in order to better dominate and control the Indian kingdoms.
  • The arrangement required Indian monarchs to maintain a British army to protect the rulers and their kingdoms, and they were also required to pay for the upkeep of these subsidiaries.
  • If any Indian ruler failed to pay for the subsidiary armies, he was forced to give up one of his provinces as a punishment.
  • In a similar scenario, the Nawab of Awadh was forced to relinquish more than half of his land in 1801 because he did not pay for British subsidiary forces.

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