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  • The British/ French Colonial War in India began as a struggle between the English East India Company and the French Compagnie des Indes Orientales.

    The French had established a base at  Pondicherry, south of Madras. In 1742 Joseph Dupleix took charge of the French company. He began to forge alliances with Indian states and installed his own candidate as Nizam of Hyderabad.

    The East India Company, led by Robert Clive, also formed alliances with Indian states in order to fight their French rivals for dominion over India. In 1757 Clive concluded an alliance with Siraj, the Indian ruler of Bengal who feared an attack by the Afghans who had seized Delhi.

    Siraj, however, was intriguing with the French and Clive decided to support Siraj's internal rivals. Clive defeated the much larger army of Siraj at the battle of Plassey (1757) which marked the beginning of the British Indian Empire. Pondicherry fell to the British in 1761 and French colonial dreams for India collapsed.