Lord Mountbatten came to India with an aspiration to the partition of India and the speedy transfer of responsibility, initially in the form of Dominion Status, to Indian Governments for the sections of a divided India.
On June 3, 1947, Lord Mountbatten put forward his plan which outlined the steps for the solution of India’s political problem. The outlines of the plan discussed below:
• India to be divided into India and Pakistan.
• Bengal and Punjab will be partitioned and a referendum in NEFP (North-East Frontier Province) and Sylhet district of Assam would be held.
• There would be a separate constituent assembly for Pakistan to frame its constitution.
• The Princely states would enjoy the liberty to join either India or Pakistan or ever remain independent.
• August 15, 1947, was date fixed for handling over power to India and Pakistan.
• The British Government passed the Indian Independence Act of 1947 in July 1947, which contained the major provisions put forward by the Mountbatten plan.
Partition and Indian Independence Act 1947
• All the political parties accepted the Mountbatten Plan.
• Two Commissions were appointed by the British Government with Sir Cyril Redcliff as chairmen of both to see through the partition and fix the international boundaries of the nations-to-be.
• At the time of independence, there were 562 small and big princely states in India.
• Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel, the first home minister, used the iron hand in this regard. By August 15, 1947, all the states, with few exceptions like Jammu & Kashmir, Hyderabad and Chunagarh had signed the Instruments of Accession. Goa was with the Portuguese and Pondicherry with the French.
The Mountbatten Plan not only lay down the partition of India, but provides machinery for the areas affected by the Pakistan demand to choose, either through their Legislative Assembly representatives or through the referendum, between a single Constituent Assembly in accordance with the Cabinet Mission Plan, or a separate Constituent Assembly for a separate State. Hence, we can say that the main porpose of the Mountbatten Plan was the partition of India and the speedy transfer of responsibility, initially in the form of Dominion Status, to Indian Governments for the sections of a divided India.
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