On 3 June 1947, the British government announced its plan to divide India into two sovereign dominions, India and Pakistan. The plan included termination of British suzerainty over about five hundred ‘princely states’ in the Indian subcontinent, with effect from 15 August 1947, and recognized the right of states to accede to either dominion. It was implicit in the provisions of transfer of power that with the lapse of paramountcy, princely states would become independent and under no compulsion to sign a new treaty with the successor states of India or Pakistan. Of all the princely states, only Hyderabad Deccan made use of this provision (or a preferred legal reading of it) to become independent before it was annexed by India in September 1948.
The Princely States were a product of a process of British expansion in the region during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century. As the British annexed lands from various regional dynasties, which had emerged to replace the Mughal regime, they directly administered most of these territories but allowed their loyal collaborators among the local aristocracy to rule over territories either granted to them or left in their hands. In this way, a distinction was made between British India under direct British rule and princely states that paid homage to the Crown. So even though princely states fell outside the direct preview of the colonial state's administration and a set of rules, the British were able to exercise considerable influence through their resident officer and their power to depose rulers considered inefficient and tyrannical. These princely states maintained many of the royal rituals of the Mughal period. These were expressed from time to time on such occasions as the imperial assemblage of 1877 and the durbars of 1903 and 1911, which brought together the princely cadre in paying homage to their new overlord, much in the way of the old Mughal emperors.
Following the partition of India, the rulers of Bahawalpur, Khairpur, Chitral, Dir, Swat and Amb decided to accede to Pakistan. Kalat, the largest princely state to become part of Pakistan, only acceded in March 1948, seven months after partition.