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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 57


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This paper presupposes the reader to be fairly acquainted with the topography of Afghanistan and the character and distribution of its inhabitants.

The plan adopted in its preparation has been to state the accepted principles guiding warfare in a mountainous country, and on them to found possible strategical structures, which are at the same time considered in their relations to the inhabitants of the country.

Thinking it easy to say, "I think so and so," but not so easy to show good reason for the thought, endeavour has been made to determine both the value and danger to India of her outwork, Afghanistan, by a consideration of facts and of those military principles which, having been deduced from the experiences of war by those who have been its greatest masters, are equivalent to facts, and from teachings drawn from history, facts also, for history repeats itself.

Under the impression, also, that it is a poor thing to allow personal views and notions of present ease and peace to have any weight whatever in the solution of a strategical question of the greatest importance to posterity, and which must be solved now to their best advantage, and not our own, if we desire that they should inherit our birthright, and if we are not desirous of bartering away our inheritance for the vainly imagined advantages of living in the most dangerous fascination of a Pools' Paradise of Peace, there are put forward here the necessities conceived to be required for the security of the Indian Empire against Russian encroachments for all time.

These conceived necessities resulting from a study of the topographical features of Afghanistan, its inhabitants, and its neighbours, are given:—the principles upon which they are founded being granted to be true, they, as deductions from them, must stand to be as true as anything drawn from principles can be true, and to be as near to a right mathematical demonstration of the problem as possible.

The situation calls for activity, and not for a hand-folded policy waiting on the course of events, unless our minds are made up to be controlled by, and not to control them.

We are a mighty and wealthy nation entitled to pride of place", and to secure for our posterity what we have ourselves inherited.