Largest possible British India?

Just how big can it get? In OTL it contained what would become Burma, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and the Republic of India. The Pashto-dominated regions were split between Afghanistan and British India/future Pakistan both as a divide and conquer tactic and so Afghanistan could serve as a buffer state. Could the British India have included more of Pashto-dominated/Hindu Kush region? Could British Ceylon have somehow become part of it? Could it have incorporated all or part of Bhutan and/or Nepal?

Edit: I put this in the pre-1900 forum because I assumed most PODs would be pre-1900 but I'd be okay with any POD.
 
Kick all the other Europeans out and have them lose their trading posts. Small size but an increase. Have the British take over Thailand/Siam then merge into India. Add in Ceylon. I'm not sure the British would want that large an area under one administration area.
 
Kick all the other Europeans out and have them lose their trading posts. Small size but an increase. Have the British take over Thailand/Siam then merge into India. Add in Ceylon. I'm not sure the British would want that large an area under one administration area.
If they take Thailand,they can then add Malaysia into the Raj as well.Not that it is a good idea.I think Yunnan and Tibet can also get in.
 
Possibly Afghanistan and Iranian Baluchistan. Same for Bhutan, Sikkim, Ceylon, the Maldives and Nepal to the Raj.

At the very least, northern and peninsular Thailand could be part of Burma, and, by extension, the Raj.
 
Sri Lanka is easy, as the British did rule it for a while. Nepal and Bhutan are also doable, though Nepal might be a tough nut to crack. The French and Portuguese Indian colonies can be gained through negotiation with those countries. Afghanistan could be done, but I doubt anyone in power would want to gain a border with Russia.
An interesting addition would be some of the island states of the Indian Ocean, like the Maldives and Seychelles.
 
If they take Thailand,they can then add Malaysia into the Raj as well.Not that it is a good idea.I think Yunnan and Tibet can also get in.
Tibet might be doable in the sense of Lhasa being a protectorate (though a bigger money sink than most colonial projects). Yunnan is far too much trouble (since the easiest lines of communications go west to east).
 
Should Persia be rendered a British colony or protectorate at some point, might it eventually be incorporated into the Raj?

What about a timeline where the Great Game spins out into an open war between the United Kingdom and Russia, and the former comes out victorious? Might at least some portion of Russian Turkestan be annexed?

The Aden Colony was governed as part of India at some point, so might the same have happened with any other British possessions in the western Indian Ocean? Kuwait? Kenya?
 
So, the first question is what kind of relationship "counts" as being part of the Raj? If purely administrative structures are enough, then Aden and the British territories in the Persian Gulf can be added to your list as they were governed as subdivisions of the Raj until 1937 and 1947, respectively. British Somaliland and Singapore were also both governed as part of India for short periods, so it isn't impossible for those colonies administration to simply never be reorganized. Of course, they were both separated for reasons so you'd need a reason for the British to ignore the causes for separating the colonies IOTL. However, it also seems to me that in part people mean something closer to "feels like part of Britain's Indian empire" than "formally an administrative subdivision of British India". That of course is a much taller order.

Sri Lanka is relatively simple to achieve. Just have the initial period of Company rule after the capture of the island go better than IOTL so the creation of the Crown Colony is avoided and Sri Lanka follows the rest of the Company territories. Similarly, from some quick googling it seems the Maldives weren't never governed as part of India either, but due to the way the protectorate was established, so it seems simple enough to simply place them under India administratively. Nepal also seems simple enough with fairly minor tweaks to their earlier history; perhaps the British conquer Nepal in the 1814-1816 war, or Nepal sides with the Sepoys in the Mutiny and is conquered in the aftermath. I don't know enough about Bhutan and Sikkim to comment in detail on them, but I can't imagine it being hard to find a scenario.

The other obvious areas for expansion are regions bordering India which would, presumably, have been incorporated into that structure like Afghanistan, Tibet, further expansion in Persia and the Gulf, and other border regions like parts of Siam. Maybe Malaya on the outside, as I believe the Company was responsible for the early involvement in the Malayan states, and as noted Singapore was part of India for a time.

Other areas, like British territories in East Africa seem much harder to create a plausible scenario for, as to my understanding their colonization was driven by British interests and forces from southern and central africa, not India. That being the case it is hard to imagine how and why those regions would be placed under India. But perhaps an earlier conflict with Oman could lead to Britain taking control of their east african territories earlier and driven by India.
 
However, it also seems to me that in part people mean something closer to "feels like part of Britain's Indian empire" than "formally an administrative subdivision of British India". That of course is a much taller order.
One way to make an area feel more Indian would be to, well, send in more Indians, and this seems very achievable. There were significant Indian communities in British East Africa until various bouts of unpleasantness led to their decline in the post-colonial era, and many Indians live in India even today. Furthermore, the Persian Gulf hosts a great many South Asian laborers, who even outnumber the native Arabs in some areas. It is not hard to imagine a longer-lasting and/or more tightly integrated British Empire spurring even more of such migration. Would this cause London to assign more territory to the British Raj or else solidify the Indian status of places such as Aden, perhaps allowing New Delhi to hold onto it into independence? I do not know, but it probably could not hurt.
 
One way to make an area feel more Indian would be to, well, send in more Indians, and this seems very achievable. There were significant Indian communities in British East Africa until various bouts of unpleasantness led to their decline in the post-colonial era, and many Indians live in India even today. Furthermore, the Persian Gulf hosts a great many South Asian laborers, who even outnumber the native Arabs in some areas. It is not hard to imagine a longer-lasting and/or more tightly integrated British Empire spurring even more of such migration. Would this cause London to assign more territory to the British Raj or else solidify the Indian status of places such as Aden, perhaps allowing New Delhi to hold onto it into independence? I do not know, but it probably could not hurt.
Probably not, since I don't think independent India would have the power projection capabilities to hold onto such distant territories, especially if they're just essentially exclaves.
 
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This is perhaps the greatest extent of British Raj, It Includes -
The entire countries of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Myanmar
and Parts of Iran, Tajikistan, Thailand
As well as Tibet, Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore
 
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This is perhaps the greatest extent of British Raj, It Includes -
The entire countries of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Myanmar
and Parts of Iran, Tajikistan
As well as Tibet, Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore
That seems about right- And I would say that places like Tibet and Afghanistan would probably have the same status as Upper Burma or NWFP- Largely autonomous frontier provinces, with garrisons in central locations,
 
That seems about right- And I would say that places like Tibet and Afghanistan would probably have the same status as Upper Burma or NWFP- Largely autonomous frontier provinces, with garrisons in central locations,
Pretty much, They would have autonomy but would still answer to Delhi
 
Sri Lanka is easy, as the British did rule it for a while. Nepal and Bhutan are also doable, though Nepal might be a tough nut to crack. The French and Portuguese Indian colonies can be gained through negotiation with those countries. Afghanistan could be done, but I doubt anyone in power would want to gain a border with Russia.
An interesting addition would be some of the island states of the Indian Ocean, like the Maldives and Seychelles.

Sri Lanka was ruled by the British, in an intermittent conquest between 1796 and 1838 and remained under British control until 1948, Bhutan and Nepal were essentially protectorates, that's where Ghurkas come from, the Maldives and Seychelles were also British territories.

Further expansion is unlikely. The British tried for Afghanistan, but that failed spectacularly. Tibet was simply too mountainous and remote. Expanding east into Persia got you into the Baloch territories which were utterly worthless, and the Persian state was all too able to defend itself. Same with Thailand.

Basically it's tough. The British essentially ran the table and directly or indirectly controlled everything they could possibly want.
 
Maybe something like this. With Iran partitioned between Russia, UK, and OE, Afghanistan divided between Russia and UK, Thailand between France and UK, and China entirely broken.

larger india.png
 
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