fifty years ago October 8, 1971 Archives

From the Archives (October 8, 1971): Chou’s remark a step forward: PM

New Delhi, Oct. 7: The Prime Minister, Mrs. Indira Gandhi, has welcomed for what it is worth the reported remark of Mr. Chou En-lai to a group of visiting Americans in Peking that he was prepared to accept the Soviet and Indian assurances that the Treaty of Friendship signed by them was not directed against China. Asked to comment on the Chinese statement by the waiting pressmen on her arrival in Simla to-day for the AICC (R) session, Mrs. Gandhi simply said: “What can I say? Don’t you think it is a good thing? This is what we have been saying all along (that the Treaty was not aimed at any third country).” According to news agency reporting from Simla, Mrs. Gandhi was asked whether Mr. Chou’s statement would facilitate normalisation of Sino-Indian relations. She replied: “This is one small step forward. Only the future can say whether it would facilitate normalisation.” But the External Afffairs Minister, Mr. Swaran Singh, who returned this morning from United Nations was more guarded in his comment on the Chinese statement. With his characteristic caution, he tried to explain away his reticence with the remark that if Mr. Chou could take two months to react to the Indo-Soviet Treaty, there was no good reason why India should rush in with its reaction to what the Chinese had said about it.

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