Explain the system of “subsidiary alliance”.

From 1757 to 1857, the East India Company used a variety of political, economic and diplomatic methods to annex Indian kingdoms. The subsidiary alliance was one such method. According to the terms of this alliance, Indian rulers were not allowed to have their independent armed forces. They were to be protected by the Company, and had to pay for the “subsidiary forces” that the Company had to maintain for the purpose of protecting them. If Indian rulers failed to make the payment, then part of their territory was taken away as penalty. For example, in 1801, the nawab of Awadh was forced to give over half of his territory to the Company for failing to pay for the “subsidiary forces”.

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