The modern North West Frontier Province of Pakistan covers 39,283 square miles (101,740 square km) and is bounded by Afghanistan to the west and north, Jammu and Kashmir to the north-east, the Punjab to the south-east and Baluchistan to the south-west. The strategic importance of this region in the north-western extremity of the subcontinent is immensely enhanced because it embraces the Khyber Pass, the historic gateway through which invading armies from the north have passed into India. The province was once the ancient state of Ghandara; it includes Peshawar and has been repeatedly annexed across the centuries. Invaders have included the Persians, Greeks, Indians, Indo-Bactrians, Sakan, Parthians, Kashan, Muslims, Afghans, Mughals and Sikhs. The North West Frontier Province, as the British called it, was always seen as strategically vital for Britain’s control of India.