During WW2, India faced a lot of violence from the side of the Japanese. During the Burma campaign, the British would have (sometimes I suppose) asked the British government what was actually going or what the condition of the empire was. All I want to know is what was the means of communication between British India and the UK.

Even if the primary means of communications was the cable telegraph, as was usually the case, was this ever disrupted or threatened with disruption? Were any alternative systems actually used, or at least contemplated?

  • The principal mean of communication was cable telegraph, as it is now.
    – Alex
    May 2, 2017 at 17:30
  • @Alex Do nations still use telegraphs for official communication? As far as I know, telegraph service (as in postal) has been discontinued in India.
    – taninamdar
    May 3, 2017 at 15:41
  • 2
    @taninamdar: In any case communication goes mostly by wires. What interface you connect to your end of the wire is another matter, it can be ordinary telegraph, telephone, teletype, computer, or TV set, does not matter. Nowadays some communication goes through satellites, but most of it is still by wires as in WW2. Undergroung and ocean floor wires.
    – Alex
    May 3, 2017 at 16:13
  • Is there any evidence that there was a change? Is this question purely hypothetical?
    – MCW
    Jun 2, 2017 at 0:59

1 Answer 1


The flow of information between British India and the UK during World War II depended mainly on telegrams and written correspondence carried by ship. Naval warfare around the UK itself probably had an indirect impact. With respect to the telegraphic infrastructure within India itself, the main threat was not Japan, but the Quit India movement. In 1942, rebels destroyed 332 railway stations and 945 post and telegraph offices. For more info see India's War by Srinath Raghavan.

  • For example, an important official of the British army is assassinated, would the news be sent via a letter which is to be carried from India to the UK through a ship which would take time as long as 3-4 days or even weeks? May 4, 2017 at 9:23

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