For decades Arakan had been a buffer zone between Burma and the great expanse of territory occupied by the East India Trading Company. However, during the 1820’s tensions grew amid border disputes between the two empires. The Burman Kunbaung Dynasty had enjoyed great military success fighting inferior armies (mainly to the east) and somewhat naively believed it had one of the most powerful military forces on Earth. When the British requested permission to start trading in Burma, the latter’s leaders scoffed at the proposal.
The Arakanese in exile, however, were fully aware of the might of the modern British Empire and aided its occupation of Arakan in 1824. Hoping to restore the sovereignty of their once prosperous kingdom, Arakanese elders signed an agreement with the British Governor of Chittagong, outlining the terms of their joint operation to drive the Burmese forces out of Arakan. Under the treaty, Arakanese commanders would lead an invasion funded by the British. Upon successful completion of the invasion, the British were to be reimbursed double the cost of the operations, and sovereignty was to be handed back to the Arakanese.