fifty years ago October 20, 1971 Archives

From the Archives (October 20, 1971): PM rules out dialogue with Pak.

The Prime Minister, Mrs. Indira Gandhi, said here to-day [New Delhi, Oct. 19] that India did not want to provoke a war or create a war-like situation, but it could not shake hands with the clenched fist of Pakistan. Though it was impossible to prophesy whether there would be a war between India and Pakistan, Mrs. Gandhi said India would continue to exercise the utmost restraint while taking all precautions to safeguard its interests. Addressing a crowded press conference, the Prime Minister said that as a first step towards any purposeful dialogue with India, the Yahya regime should stop the terrible atrocities in East Bengal and enter into substantive negotiations with its elected representatives to find a speedy solution to the Bangla Desh problem. She warned that the massing of Pakistani troops all along the borders had created a grave situation and the sooner the Bangla Desh problem was solved the better the chances of averting an Indo-Pakistan conflagration. The Pakistani war threats and the hysterical “Hate India” campaign in Pakistan were intended to cloud the Bangla Desh issue by projecting it as an Indo-Pakistan problem.

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