fifty years ago January 3, 1972 Archives

From the Archives (January 3, 1972): PM rejects concept of superpower

New Delhi, Jan. 2: The Prime Minister, Mrs. Indira Gandhi, to-day made it clear that India had no ambition to become a super power and said it believed in the equality of all nations. Addressing a mammoth reception held here in her honour for leading India to victory over Pakistan in the recent war, Mrs. Gandhi said the concept of super powers and the resultant balance of power were now obsolete. These had no place in the present world, she added. “We believe in equality of all nations,” she said. She described the big power concept “as bullying of smaller nations and economic domination over them.” And said, “Times have changed and we will never adopt a big brother role.” She had a dig at “certain rich nations” who, she said, sermonised India day-in and day-out on removing its poverty and backwardness. Why did they not try to remove pockets of poverty still existing in their own countries, she asked. Referring to the frequent war threats held out by Pakistani leaders, including the President, Mr. Z.A. Bhutto, Mrs. Gandhi said, “We do not know whether the war has really ended. We are ready. Our men and women in villages, cities and on the frontiers are all alert and vigilant to meet any eventuality.” Mrs. Gandhi made it known to “those concerned” that India would not be taken by surprise if there is any attack on her. “It is difficult to say whether the war is over. There is a new threat every day. On one day there is a threat, on the other day there is an indication there there could be negotiations. In our opinion the situation needs constant watch and our Army is alert and our people are united and prepared to face any eventuality,” the Prime Minister said.

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