Lucy P. Chester
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‘This is your country and it is up to you to decide’
The façade of South Asian responsibility
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British leaders were astonishingly slow in grappling with the problem of determining a new international boundary line. The partition was to be perceived as a South Asian undertaking, with British officials acting only as steady and impartial guides. The Radcliffe commission was clearly concerned with delimitation, not demarcation; demarcation was left to India and Pakistan, after independence. Despite Cyril Radcliffe's central role in the boundary-making process, few historians have offered more than a cursory appraisal of Radcliffe the individual. As Radcliffe prepared for his voyage to India, the British Government began to speed up its withdrawal. On 4 July 1947, the government introduced an Indian Independence Bill in the British House of Commons. This bill included a clause that ultimately rendered Radcliffe's decision binding on both India and Pakistan.

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Borders and conflict in South Asia

The Radcliffe boundary commission and the partition of Punjab


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