In their proclamation to the tribes on their way to Chitral, before the commencement of the campaign, the Government of India had declared that their sole object was to put an end to the present, and to prevent any future, unlawful aggression upon Chitral territory ; and now that Umra Khan had been driven from his country, and that Sher Afzul had been captured, the British officers relieved, and our prestige restored, the Government had then to decide what should be our future relations with the ruler of Chitral and with the tribes on the way to Chitral. Two alternatives only were placed before the Government ; they must either maintain their position in Chitral, or change their policy and abandon the attempt to keep any effective control, over the external affairs of that state. The history of Chitral had demonstrated that the state had not for the last twenty years been able to stand alone, and the condition of Chitral since its invasion by Umra Khan, and the investment of Mr. Robertson in the fort by Sher Afzul, had been one of anarchy. It was more clear than ever that the country must lean on some external support, and it seemed to be demonstrated to the Government of India, therefore, that the maintenance of our influence in Chitral was a matter of the first importance. To abandon Chitral to the possibility of foreign occupation would involve a risk which ought not to be run, and it would be unjustifiable to ignore our pledges to preserve the suzerainty of Kashmir ; but the events which culminated in the gallant defence of Chitral and the excellent measures taken for its relief, from both north and south, rendered it, in the opinion of the Government of India, impossible that we could ever think of maintaining British influence in that country again without the presence of British troops. The means whereby they could maintain sufficient military occupation of the Chitral valley had accordingly to be faced. The length of time occupied, and the difficulty incurred in sending troops and supplies by way of Kashmir and Gilgit, and the expense of doing so, rendered it impossible to try and hold Chitral by so precarious a thread. The alternative was to establish communication by the Peshawur border. Along this route there are many fanatical tribes, to keep whom in order might involve much expenditure ; but in the recent operations it was demonstrated that the hostility of these tribes had been exaggerated, and that the Mulla fanatical influence was less strong than it had been believed to be. It was therefore considered possible to come to arrangements with the intervening tribes, which, backed by a sufficient, but not an extravagant, show of force, would be adequate to keep open the route by which troops and supplies could be sent up to Chitral. Along this route a considerable trade is carried on, and the country through which it passes furnishes supplies to an amount which would render it unnecessary to import any large quantity from India for the use of the troops in Chitral. If friendly relations were established with the tribes, it might be expected that cultivation would increase, and the surplus produce be more and more available. General Low s force during their occupation of the country had constructed a good road by the Panjkora Valley, so that by using it, it would only be necessary on the way to Chitral to pass through two States, Dir and Swat. Of these two States, the first was necessarily friendly to the British Government, for the position of the Khan of Dir had depended entirely upon the support given him by the British Government, and in regard to the second, many of the chiefs had, even before the war, petitioned the Government of India to take them under their protection, as they feared attack from their powerful neighbour Umra Khan, and now since the war they had shown themselves to be quite friendly. They had been egged on into opposing the British advance by Umra Khan for his own purposes, and by their fanatical mullas, who always dread the encroachment of a foreign power will lessen their influence. But the Swatis are not really a war- like race ; they are more cultivators and traders than soldiers. By working for the British during the occupation, they had earned large sums of money, and as they had always been treated with justice and consideration by the British officers, they preferred, and asked, that the British troops should remain in their country. The Government of India proposed, therefore, under these circumstances, to leave a garrison of two native infantry regiments, two guns of a mounted battery, and one company of sappers, as a garrison in Chitral. The headquarters of this force would be placed at Kila Drosh, a place about 130 miles distant from our settled frontier in the plains of the Punjab, and twenty-four miles from Chitral itself At Chitral a half battalion would be stationed in a strong position. To support this, it was proposed for the first year or two to keep a brigade of two native regiments, one mounted battery, and one company of sappers on the Malakand Pass, just a few miles over the Punjab frontier, and commanding the chief entrance into these countries ; and one battalion was to be stationed to guard the bridge over the Swat River. Between the Swat River and Kila Drosh, a distance roughly of 100 miles, a road was to be held by levies — by about 250 from Swat, and about 500 from Dir. These proposals of the Government of India were sanctioned by the Secretary of State on August 9th.

The much controverted question of the retention or abandonment of Chitral having thus been settled, it would be wearisome to reiterate the various arguments for and against its occupation. High military authorities say that it would be wiser to leave the whole country alone ; to let an invader come there if he will, but not to think ourselves of throwing an army into those mountain fastnesses to oppose him. Other authorities, including the past and present Commander-in-Chief in India, and practically every military officer of position now serving in India who has studied the subject, think that the retention of Chitral is necessary for the proper defence of our North-west Frontier. But setting aside the purely military aspect of the question, about which such diametrically opposite opinions were expressed by military men on the spot and military men at home, the point which appears to have had very great weight with the Government in bringing them to the decision now arrived at is the question of prestige. The Government considered that a withdrawal from Chitral would involve a serious loss of prestige, and they recognised that in dealing with Asiatic peoples prestige cannot be lightly disregarded. We had for some years made it the object of our policy to control the external affairs of Chitral, to guard its northern passes and to watch what went on beyond them. This was known to be our object both to the people themselves and to the surrounding countries, and whether it would have been wiser or not from a financial point of view to abandon Chitral, it cannot be doubted that the appearance of inconsistency and of not knowing our own mind which the withdrawal from the position which we had so definitely taken up in Chitral would have given to the minds not only of the Chitralis but of the people of Swat, of Bajaur, of Afghanistan, and of Central Asia would have stamped us as a wavering undecided Power whose policy could not be counted on .

And no one can more appreciate the evil effects of such an impression than officers who have actually dealt with those wild impressionable people across our frontier. One cannot too often repeat the statement that they are people in their infancy, versatile and impulsive as children, and, this being so, they must be made to believe in the unwavering consistency of purpose of the Power which seeks to control them. If they think that Power does not know its own mind and will blow hot one day and cold the next, they will remain unstable and restless as they have hitherto been, till they eventually throw in their lot with that neighbouring Power whose stability and singleness of policy is belifeved in. But if they consider that we are a Power whose: purpose can be relied on they will only too gladly remain by us loyally as their suzerain. They know very well that they must have a suzerain power of some sort over them, and they only want one whose purpose and whose ability to protect them can be relied on. Hitherto they had not been able to trust in this. They were attacked by a neighbouring state ; they asked us for assistance and it was not given them. They saw therefore little purpose to be gained from siding with us. Now they know better, and can believe in our strength and in our intention to steadily carry through the policy we had for years definitely adopted ; and with this impression thoroughly stamped upon their minds there can be little risk of such trouble as we have had this year ever again occurring. The few restless spirits who have hitherto gambled with the people, and used them as pawns in the political game for their own purposes, will no doubt dislike the change to a time of rest and improvement from a period of incessant strife and warfare in which though they might go under, they at any rate had a chance of coming out the winner. Yet the people on the whole will be glad of the chance of quiet, and we have every reason to believe that just as in the case of Hunza, the neighbouring state to Chitral, which four years ago had like Chitral to be subdued, but which both in 1892, not a year after the campaign there, and again this year by furnishing those hardy mountain levies which so materially assisted Colonel Kelly to accomplish his arduous march and turn the enemy from their mountain position had so loyally come to our aid when the call upon them was made, so also now in Chitral the people once and for all recognising that we are a power who can and will exercise the proper duties of a suzerain, and yet that we have no wish to tamper with their customs or set aside their ruler, will join us instead of opposing us, and will with the Hunza men be turned from an element of weakness to a source of strength upon our frontier, and help us and not obstruct us in the defence of our great Indian Empire.