[text not declassified] Indian Government Decisions on Pakistan
[text not declassified]
WASHINGTON MEETING — May 26, 1971
May 26, 1971
MEMORANDUM FOR DR. KISSINGER
1. Refugee Situation: The Indian Ministry of Home Affairs reported
—The refugee situation along the East Pak border was becoming "desperate"
— the mid May figure was over 2.5 million.
—The financial responsibility for the refugees would place an impossible
burden on the Indian economy and infrastructure.
—They recommended the Indian Government take every step to force the
GOP to cease pressuring East
Pakistanis to flee and to force the GOP
to repatriate refugees.
2. Bangla Desh Government in Exile in Calcutta: External Affairs reported
—Recognition of Bangla Desh must be considered only in light of the
specific material help that India was prepared to make available to the
East Pakistan liberation front.
—Bangla Desh should only be recognized when India made the decision to
risk military action against Pakistan for the liberation of the
—The External Affairs report stressed the extremely negative reaction of
the third countries (especially Muslim nations) to the East Pakistan
situation and the "wait and see" attitude of the major powers, notably
the U.S. and USSR.
3. Military Situation in East Pakistan and Possible Indian Military
The report from the Defense Ministry, while stressing the preparedness of
Indian armed forces and the weakaess of Pakistani armed forces,
recommended against unilateral Indian military action for the following
a. Inability to determine at what point the Chinese would become
b. Willingness of some Muslim countries (Turkey and Iran) to help
c. Indian inability to assure continuing military supply from third
countries (notably USSR) if India
initiated what could be a long war.
d. An invasion to achieve the liberation of the East would involve India
in a two-front war which could create a requirement for the military
occupation of all of Pakistan.
4. The following decisions were made:
a. Defer recognition of Bangla Dash for the immediate future.
b. Maintain constant military readiness.
c. Take every diplomatic step to force the major powers to take action to
force the GOP to atop the refugee flow
and to repatriate those who have crossed into India, including hints
that Mia might bke unilateral military action.
d. Seek financial aid from all sources to temporarily support the
They also decided to release off-the-record press comments that India is
reaching the point where some sort of action, possibly milibry, was
possible if there i a not immediate relief for the refugee problem.
In a follow-up meeting with opposition leaders, Mrs. Gandhi reaffirmed India's priority
of putting all possible diplomatic pressure on the major powers to
pressure Pakistan to change its policies, Stressing the gravity of the
current crisis, she pleaded for broad support of current Indian policy
"regardless of where it led. When queried about possible unilateral
Indian actions, she avoided using the words "military action. " The
source reports that opposition — left to right — took a tough line
demanding some sort of military action there were no resolution to the
refugee problem in the immediate future. ]
Comment: As you can see, the Indians are engaged in a fairly
sophisticated diplomatic and public relations campaign, More
importitntly, their decision-making has not reached yet the stage of war or peace. This
report would indicate that Mrs. Gandhi is still moving with considerable restraint,
given the circumstances, and that there is scope for us to reinforce