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Mesopotamia Commission Report

Mesopotamia Commission (1).pdf

This detailed report of the Mesopotamia Commission contains the findings of the Mesopotamia Inquiry. In various instances, it points towards the unpreparedness of the Indiana army for the war and finds several factors which led to serious medical negligence of the troops of the Indian army.

Pages 10-12 show the procedures of the deployment of the Indian army to protect British oil interests in Abadan. The commission’s enquiry shows that the army’s budget had been reduced and the India office had protested saying they would have ‘extreme difficulty’ in supplying any expedition to Basra or Mesopotamia. The “Indian army was thus suddenly and unexpectedly called upon to participate largely in an external warfare for which no preparation had been made.” (p. 10)

The section on Medical Breakdown highlights, in grave terms, the lack of adequate medical facilities which led to further deterioration in the health conditions of the troops. The report further shows that this situation was not acknowledged so that the “effect was to conceal from the authorities outside Mesopotamia the real facts as to the medical breakdown in November”. (p. 78) 

Another section, ‘Atmosphere of Economy up to Date of War, and Effect upon Military Preparations in India’ (p. 103-7) reiterates the unpreparedness of the Indian army. It argues that the army was only prepared to defend India’s internal security and act in the northwest frontier against the tribal population. Further, no steps were taken to ensure that the troops were on par with European ones. The war equipment was also in a similar condition and was insufficient to meet the needs of the Mesopotamia Expedition.

These points are further emphasised in the last section titled Findings and Conclusion. This document is thus useful for understanding the decisions which had an impact on the condition of the Indian troops fighting in the region.