fifty years ago August 3, 1971 Archives

From the Archives (August 3, 1971): India reacts to Yahya’s statement

Mr. Swaran Singh, Minister of External Affairs, told the Lok Sabha amidst cheers to-day [New Delhi, August 2] that if President Yahya Khan made the success attained by the Mukti Bahini in establishing effective control over parts of Bangla Desh as an excuse to start a war with India, “undoubtedly our defence forces will give a fitting reply.” He was replying to Mr. Samar Guha and others. Mr. Guha drew the Minister’s attention to the reported statement of President Yahya Khan broadcast by Radio Australia that Pakistan was “on the verge of a total war with India” and sought his comment. Mr. Indrajit Gupta wanted to know what information Government had about the military build-up by Pakistan not only on the eastern side but also on its western borders with India. He asked if reports that Pakistan was intensifying the build-up were true and whether they indicated that Pakistan was preparing for committing aggression on India. The Defence Minister, Mr. Jagjivan Ram, intervened to reply that whenever it came to India’s notice that Pakistan was deploying its forces on any part of the border, “we also make our preparations.” Mr. Gupta asked whether the reports of concentration of troops by Pakistan on India’s border were really true. Mr. Jagjivan Ram: “I do not think it will be possible to give more information.”

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