Why the British Insisted on Farmers Growing Opium in India?
The British insisted on farmers growing opium in India to balance their trade with China. The British could buy tea from China only by paying in bullion. This resulted in outflow of treasure. Opium was one commodity which the British could sell and persuade the Chinese to buy.
Its addictive properties ensured a steady market. Returns from opium sale were used to finance tea purchases in China. Therefore, the Indian farmers were forced to cultivate opium and sell at a cheap price. This was then illegally smuggled into China and sold at a high price.
Opium grown in India helped the British to reverse the unfavourable balance of payment with China.
Opium trade resulted in two Opium Wars.
These wars forced China to open her territories to foreign trade.