India had traditionally been regarded as the most valuable component of the British Empire, and its possession as proof of British world power. Yet the war had strained Britain\'s capacity to direct a global empire and this helps explain Britain\'s agreement to Indian self-government after the war.However the transition to independence was not smooth and Britain failed to achieve a constitutional settlement which both the Indian National Congress and the Muslim League could accept. As a result, Imperial India was divided into the modern states of India and Pakistan. Communal tensions between Hindus and Muslims erupted into violence which the British could not quell and in which many thousands died. Indian independence initiated a wave of decolonisation, first in Asia and later in Africa.
Many of the newly independent countries chose to remain in the Commonwealth, which came after the war to be seen as a flexible, multiracial community and as a vital means through which Britain could maintain its influence in the world.