Bangladesh’s cautious reaction to Nixon’s China visit
July 17, 1971
BANGABANDHU IN WEST PAK JAIL
A three-member Canadian parliamentary delegation that visited Pakistan was told by Pakistani officials in Islamabad that Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was at present in a jail in West Pakistan. This was the first official disclosure that Bangabandhu was in West Pakistan, although unofficial reports had earlier said he was taken from Dhaka to West Pakistan.
HOSSAIN ALI'S COMMENT ON NIXON'S CHINA VISIT
Hossain Ali of the Bangladesh mission in Kolkata said at a Press Club meeting today that US President Richard Nixon's proposed visit to China might create a difficult situation for small powers if the power equilibrium was disturbed by this visit.
Hossain Ali further said since China was a potential superpower it was necessary that all the powers should come to terms with China and from this point of view the proposed visit of the US president to China was a good sign. But it was difficult to say how it would affect the strategies of the big powers towards small countries, he added.
The Bangladesh mission chief made it clear that Bangladesh was a reality whatever the situation might be. He, however, believed that the combination of international forces, if properly balanced, might help the Bangladesh government in reaching its goal.
THE BANGLADESH PRESSURE BUILDS UP ON INDIRA
The Economist, in a commentary published today, wrote that the Indian government seemed genuinely undecided. "The policy of stepping up help for the [Bangladeshi] guerrillas carries the risk of creating more refugees as the Pakistani army takes reprisals for sabotage. It could also jeopardise the goodwill India has earned by shouldering the refugee problem," it added.
The weekly further said, "The Bangla Desh 'government in exile' complains it is not getting enough arms from India. Originally the Indians seized all arms coming over the border for fear that they might get into the hands of West Bengal extremists. Almost all of these have been returned to the Mukti Fouj, some small arms, grenades and mines have also been supplied. The small arms have been necessary because India can supply no ammunition to fit the guerrillas' Chinese weapons. The most lethal weapons guerillas have managed to extract from the Indians are a few three-inch mortars. The Indians are inhibited by the fear that arms with Indian markings would provoke Pakistan, to use the surplus stock of foreign-made weapons they still have. Those Indians who demand recognition of Bangla Desh are far from satisfied with the present scale of aid, and there are now serious pressure on Mrs. Gandhi to get off the fence."
TUNKU OFFERS TO MEDIATE ON BANGLADESH AFFAIR
Tunku Abdul Rahman, secretary-general of the Islamic Secretariat, said he was prepared to negotiate between India and Pakistan on the question of Bangladesh refugees. Tunku, who arrived in Rawalpindi on a fact finding mission, met General Yahya Khan and was later joined by the representatives of Iran and Iraq.
BHUTTO ADMITS DIFFERENCES WITH YAHYA
Pakistan People's Party Chairman ZA Bhutto indicated today that his party differed with President Yahya Khan on some of the proposals outlined by him in his June 28 broadcast concerning a constitution. Bhutto told newsmen in Rawalpindi after his second meeting with Yahya that in view of the fast-changing situation it was quite possible that there could be more frequent consultation with Yahya Khan. He declared that the next few months were crucial for Pakistan.
Shamsuddoza Sajen is a journalist and researcher. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org