Who adopted the policy of Subsidiary Alliance? What were its features? Which Indian power first accepted it? – Answered

The Policy Initiative:

Lord Wellesley adopted the policy of Subsidiary Alliance for the expansion of the British dominion in India.

The Features:


Through the ‘forward’ policy Lord Wellesley aimed at bringing as many native states as possible under British control. To achieve this aim Wellesley devised the system of ‘Subsidiary Alliance’.

The main features of the system were: (a) The native ruler who became a subsidiary ally of the English would be protected by the Company’s govt., against any foreign attack, (b) In lieu of this guarantee the native ruler had to maintain a force under British command and pay a subsidy for its maintenance to the Company, (c) The native ruler was forbidden to negotiate with any foreign power without the knowledge of the English.

Lord Wellesley aimed at realizing the above goals through the system of Subsidiary Alliance.

In contemporary India the three leading native powers were: the Nizam of Hyderabad, Tipu Sultan of Mysore and the Marathas.


Lord Wellesley, however, invited all the native powers to accept Subsidiary Alliance. The Nizam, the feeblest among all, accepted the Alliance first.

Tipu Sultan and the Marathas, however, preferred to give battle rather than to accept the humiliating Subsidiary Alliance.

First to Accept the Alliance:

The feeble Nizam of Hyderabad was the first to accept the Subsidiary Alliance with the English.