fifty years ago October 26, 1971 Archives

From the Archives (October 26, 1971): ‘India will strike back if attacked’

The Defence Minister, Mr. Jagjivan Ram, to-day [New Delhi, Oct. 25] spelt out in greater detail India’s new philosophy of defence and stipulated the conditions for the withdrawal of the Indian forces from the borders in the present Indo-Pakistan situation. In a policy speech he made at the National Defence College, Mr. Jagjivan Ram said that India would not be satisfied with merely defending its territorial integrity in the event of a Pakistani attack, but would carry the fight into the enemy territory so that the war was not fought on Indian soil as far as possible. This offensive-defensive posture of the Indian armed forces was not aimed at provoking Pakistan, but ensuring that any attack by the enemy would be resisted with full force for inflicting the maximum punishment. While it had no intention of taking any step which could be regarded as aggression, India was fully prepared to strike back with devastating effect if Pakistan dared to attack it. The Defence Minister repeated the earlier warning that Indian troops would remain in their forward positions as long as the Pakistani threat was there. If the international community wanted the two sides to withdraw their forces, India would insist that the Big Powers should assume responsibility for the return of the ten million refugees.

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