That war, of course, also involved a modern, well-trained army, supporting an unpopular government, fighting irregular guerillas.
On the other hand ... Winston Churchill again (1901)
The "Full steam ahead" would be undoubtedly the most desirable. This is the military view. Mobilise, it is urged, a nice field force, and operate at leisure in the frontier valleys, until they are as safe and civilised as Hyde Park. Nor need this course necessarily involve the extermination of the inhabitants. Military rule is the rule best suited to the character and comprehension of the tribesmen. They will soon recognise the futility of resistance, and will gradually welcome the increase of wealth and comfort that will follow a stable government. Besides this, we shall obtain a definite frontier almost immediately. Only one real objection has been raised against this plan. But it is a crushing one, and it constitutes the most serious argument against the whole "Forward Policy". It is this: we have neither the troops nor the money to carry it out.
The inevitable alternative is the present system, a system which the war has interrupted, but to which we must return at its close, a system of graduated advance, of political intrigue among the tribes, of subsidies and small expeditions.
Though this policy is slow, painful and somewhat undignified, there is no reason that it should not be sure and strong. But it must be consistently pursued. Dynamite in the hands of a child is not more dangerous than a strong policy weakly carried out. The reproach which may be justly laid upon the rulers of India, whether at home or abroad, is that while they recognise the facts, they shrink from the legitimate conclusions.
They know that they cannot turn back. They fully intend to go on. Yet they fear to admit to the situation, to frankly lay their case before the country, and trust to the good sense and courage of an ancient democracy. ...