fifty years ago June 26, 1970 Archives

U.S. to Resume Sale of Arms to Pak.

There are strong reasons to believe that the United States has decided to lift the embargo on the direct sale of arms to Pakistan and that President Nixon has approved the supply of certain items of lethal military equipment to that country. The U.S. Administration has so far refused to disclose to India the nature and quantity of these weapons, but it is understood that at least 50 Patton tanks, and possibly even some fighter planes are immediately involved. The U.S. decision marks a major watershed in the U.S. policy towards the Indian sub-continent. It means that the U.S. after a long period of indecision, during which it had kept its five-year old policy of not supplying any weapons to either India or Pakistan, “under review”, has finally decided to disregard the Indian objections and acceded to Pakistan’s demand. The period since 1965, when the U.S. clamped the embargo, has in fact seen a gradual diminution of the U S. will to resist Pakistan demands for a resumption of arms supplies. The embargo was first relaxed when the U.S. permitted the sale of spare parts on a case by case basis for U.S. weapons Pakistan already had. Later this was extended to the transfer of U.S. weapons from third countries to Pakistan— an arrangement which, however, was never consummated. And then came the protracted review which hung over India’s head like a Damocles sword for two years. The fact that during this period Pakistan succeeded in obtaining large quantities of arms first from China and then the Soviet Union, and Delhi’s persistent warnings that it would have serious repercussions in India, do not appear to have discouraged Washington from taking its latest decision. This decision reported to have been taken by Mr. Nixon's National Security Council in the last one week or so marks a return to the Dulles era when the U.S. concluded that Pakistan, rather than India, was more vital to U.S. interests.

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