Indian MPs want military action
June 15, 1971
INDIRA GANDHI SAYS PAKISTAN SOLUTION GROWS REMOTE
Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi said in parliament today that the possibility of a political settlement in East Pakistan was "becoming more remote" every day. She also declared that India was prepared to make "all the sacrifices" and would have to "go through hell" to look after the six million Pakistani refugees in India. But she said India expected the nations of the world to share the responsibility.
"We are looking after the refugees on a temporary basis," Indira Gandhi said. "We have no intention of allowing them to settle here neither have we any intention of asking them to go back merely to be butchered."
In a four-hour debate in parliament, a significant number of parliament members suggested that India should send the military into East Pakistan to help the Bangalee freedom fighters. Indira Gandhi did not comment on these suggestions. She said a political settlement had to come sooner or later -- "better sooner than later."
She declared, however, that India would "never acquiesce" in a political settlement "at the cost of democracy and the rights of people fighting there".
"Any settlement must be arrived at with those people who are today being suppressed," she said. "We shall not for a moment stand for a political settlement that means the death of Bangladesh and the ending of democracy and of the people who are fighting for their rights."
CONVERSATION AMONG NIXON, KISSINGER AND KEATING
American President Richard Nixon today discussed the Bangladesh issue with his Assistant for National Security Affairs Henry Kissinger and the Ambassador to India Kenneth Keating on the eve of his meeting with Indian Foreign Minister Swaran Singh.
In a reply to Nixon's question on whether India want the US to pressure Pakistan President Yahya Khan, Keating said, "Yes. I think he feels that—what he said is Russia and the United States are the only ones that can influence Yahya to stop the killing. And he said in my judgment the United States has more leverage with him than Russia has. And the only way is an economic way."
Nixon commented, "What we have to do, Ken [Keating], is to find a way to be just as generous as we can to the Indians, but also we do not want to do something that is an open breach with Yahya -- an open breach, an embarrassing situation. And that's really the problem."
Referring to the existing political situation in occupied Bangladesh, Keating said, "What political settlement that he [Yahya] can bring about … that I'm not able to get in my head because this Amin [Nurul Amin] was the biggest leader next to Mujib, he got one or two members of parliament, and … Yahya tried to get him to head it up and he wouldn't touch it because he'd get his throat slit. Now they had a few, I'm told, a few members of the Awami League, about nine, who are ready to help form a government. But the bitterness is so great that I believe, and indeed Joe Farland does, that the old Pakistan is through."
INDIAN ENVOY MEETS THANT
Indian Foreign Minister Swaran Singh conferred today with the UN Secretary General U Thant and urged that international pressure be exerted on Yahya Khan's government to cease atrocities in East Pakistan. The Indian minister, who had visited Moscow, Bonn, Paris and Ottawa, would go to Washington to schedule talks with President Nixon and Secretary of State William P Rogers.
After leaving Thant's office, he told correspondents that he had asked the secretary general to use his "tremendous influence" to impress upon the Pakistani government the need for a political solution to enable millions of refugees now in India to return home.
Shamsuddoza Sajen is a journalist and researcher. He can be contacted at email@example.com