OPINION

Yahya’s visit to Moscow

Pakistan has already obtained substantial quantities of arms from the Soviet Union and though its appetite for arms is still keen, President Yahya Khan’s latest visit to Moscow seems to have been more concerned with economic aid. Pakistan has been receiving generous aid from the international consortium, but its debt service liabilities are very heavy and it has now embarked on an ambitious programme to develop heavy industries. Its Western friends are not happy about the current exchange parity of the Pakistan rupee and are urging a measure of devaluation. Nor have they found the prospects of setting up a steel industry in West Pakistan (there is a small Japanese plant in East Pakistan) very bright and President Yahya Khan has now succeeded in persuading Russia to promise help for setting up a million-tonne plant. As was only to be expected, the Pakistan President also raised during his talks in Moscow the issue of Kashmir, the Farakka Barrage, etc., and insisted that India is adopting an intransigent attitude on disputed matters.

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