Premeditated Invasion by India
Speech in Security Council, New York,
December 13, 1971

There is street fighting going on, from house to house, in Pakistan. On account of the urgency of the matter, I shall confine myself to the main points raised yesterday by the Foreign Minister of India, and also briefly touch upon some of the main points he raised today. Most of what he has said needed detailed rebuttal. When I consulted the text this morning I found that it was mostly a restatement of the charac­teristically self-righteous position which India has adopted during this crisis and also in the past. However, one thing was quite obvious. After com­mitting a brazen aggression against Pakistan, after assaulting our territorial integrity and political independence, after defying the United Nations openly and blatantly, after ignoring the fervent appeal of 104 Member States, India is attempting to assume a posture of reasonableness. The gist of the Indian Foreign Minister's statement was that: A situation arose in Pakistan which was not of our creation. We were inundated with refugees. We sought nothing more than that these refugees be repatriated. Pakistan refused to allow this repatriation. We had therefore no choice but to invade Pakistan.

Shorn of all verbiage, stripped of its sanctimoniousness, the whole Indian argument amounts to saying that India had the right to invade Pakistan in order to bring about a settlement of the refugee problem. I leave it to any fair-minded person to judge how hollow the pretence is. Even if the principle be disregarded that nothing can justify invasion, the reality remains that the armed attack has multiplied rather than eased the poignant humanitarian problem of East Pakistan; that it has resulted in vastly greater destruction and devastation than had been brought about during the civil strife; that it has done a damage to the infrastructure of East Pakistan that will take decades to. repair; and that a calamity has been turned into a catastrophe. Forget the legal rights and wrongs of the conflict for a moment: consider only the human problems in their concreteness, and you cannot but be appalled. Nobody can be more grieved at the desolation caused in East Pakistan by Indian aggression than the people of West Pakistan. I must stress that the problem cannot be rightly appraised if the picture is not correctly visualised or if it is put in a wrong focus. The picture that India presents is that of an invading army coming to the rescue of those, who are fighting for their freedom. This picture has no resemblance to reality. Let me mention some basic facts. Among the Pakistani soldiers today, who are fighting with their backs to the wall in East Pakistan, there are a considerable number of East Pakistanis. A good part of the personnel of the East Bengal Regiment and the East Pakistan Rifles are fighting side by side with their comrades from West Pakistan for the unity of their country. A hundred thousand volunteers representing the flower of East Pakistan youth are laying down their lives at this very moment for the honour and freedom and integrity of Pakistan, from which the honour and freedom and integrity of Bangladesh are totally inseparable.

Much has been said about the Mukti Bahini as if it were an army of freedom fighters. India itself admits that it is an army raised in India, trained in India, armed by India, directed by India, and that through all these nine months it operated from bases in India. What else is it therefore except an irregular Indian army? People will say that there is no use in dubbing them as Indian agents and dismissing them at that. But I do not call them-Indian agents. I consider them nothing more than Indian auxiliaries, and no one who bears in mind their origin and organisation and command can consider them as anything else. It is true that some among them have been recruited from those persons who were uprooted from East Pakistan. What­ever their proportion might be, whether it is high or low, it cannot change the character of this army; because a fighting group, armed and equipped and trained, financed and directed by India, is nothing but an Indian force. There is ample evidence that many among the refugees joined that force because they had no choice; you either starve or you join the Mukti Bahini. What wonder that many joined.

So the first important requirement for an objective assessment of the situation is to dismiss the myth that has been artfully propagated by India, the myth that India has been moved by sympathy and solicitude for the welfare of Muslim Bengal or East Pakistan. If India had so much feeling for the Bengalis, what explains its indicriminate raids on purely Civilian targets? Even an orphanage situated in a residential area of Dacca, with 300 innocent children inside, was not spared. What explains a blockade which prevents even the supplies of food and medicines from reaching the people of East Pakistan? What explains India's approval of the slaughter of thou­sands of innocent people, men, women and children, and even newborn babies, which was rampant in East Pakistan from 2 March to 25 March 1971? And finally, what explains India's direct encouragement of terror and sabotage and destruction in an area where the margin of survival is lower perhaps than anywhere else in the world?

In my statement yesterday and on previous occasions, the Pakistan, delegation has dwelt extensively on the legal issues involved in the conflict with which the Security Council is confronted. Those real issues are of paramount importance because they directly involve the fundamental prin­ciples of the territorial integrity of states, non-intervention in domestic affairs of other states, and the non-use of force in international relations, which constitute the very basis of a peaceful world order. If you compromise them, if you qualify them, if you impose conditions on their validity, you usher in total anarchy in the world. But today I would rather stress the human pecu­liarity of the Indo-Pakistan situation.

A colossal human wrong is being perpetrated in East Pakistan today by Indian invasion, and it cries to be righted. It can be righted by the collective will of the world community. If that fails, then other forces or a combination of forces will inevitably set in.

The first process would be corrective and of immediate effect. The second would take long and would inevitably involve larger conflicts entail­ing much hardship for all the peoples of the subcontinent. What course the events will take will depend in great part on the wisdom and the courage of the Security Council today.

It has been said during this debate that the problem is to be viewed in context and that its root cause should not be forgotten. Let me make it clear that such an approach, if sincere and genuine, is entirely consistent with Pakistan's point of view. In fact, it is the approach which Pakistan urges;in fact, it is the approach that my party, which is the single largest party of West Pakistan, has been approaching since 27 March. We have made many statements on these matters and on the mistakes that have been com­mitted ; and from 27 March right up to the present we have been talking about them. On 29 September I issued a policy statement of my party spelling out these problems and also suggesting how they could be resolved. So, 1 have no hesitation whatsoever in saying that these matters are urgent and that they require to be tackled realistically.

If India and Pakistan had been two friendly states, two neighbours with a co-operative relationship, is it imaginable that an internal conflict in Pakistan would have assumed such dimensions? After all, the discontent of the people of East Pakistan was not a new problem which arose suddenly. It has been there and though I acknowledge that it was not approached with the courage and resolution which were required and which only a democratic government in Pakistan could have surmounted, it had received considerable attention, and many adjustments and readjustments were made or contemplated for its solution.

The immediate issue before and after the elections was of a constitutional nature. No heads need be broken over constitutional issues. The crisis may have been severe for Pakistan, but there is not the slightest ground to suppose that the people of Pakistan were incapable of the dynamic adjustments that were necessary.

It was Indian intervention and Indian manipulation that so aggravated the crisis as to cause a most tragic strife. Therefore, when you talk of the root cause of the problem, you have to consider India's persistent hostility against Pakistan. When you talk of the context, you have to bear in mind the multitude of aggressions that have been committed by India.

In October 1947, just two months after the establishment of India and Pakistan as independent states, India invaded Kashmir which, as a Muslim majority state, should have acceded to Pakistan. In early November 1947, India marched into Junagadh, an area whose future should have been settled amicably. In September 1948, India sent its armies into Hyderabad, again an area whose problem should have been solved peacefully and not by invasion. In October 1962, India launched a forward policy of incursions across the Chinese frontier. It was Chinese magnanimity that halted the conflict, but India persisted in rejecting negotiations towards concluding a boundary agreement with China. In September 1965, India invaded Pakistan, an act which it repeated six years later- Even in the very early years of India's independence a most distinguished and far-sighted British statesman, the late Mr. Ernest Bevin, said about India that "this young state has pronounced warlike proclivities." His apprehension has been proved entirely justified. What other state in the contemporary world has committed as many as six major invasions during the last 24 years?

I have not mentioned India's invasion of Goa because India often pre­tends that it has placed all African states under some kind of obligation by expelling Portugal by force from that tiny enclave. Be that as it may, the fact remains that after ousting Portugal, India has not treated the inhabitants of Goa with justice, but has sought to obliterate their identity.

Much more infamous is India's campaign in Nagaland, which was begun in the middle of the 1950s and whose aim is the subjugation of a people who are culturally and racially distinct from India and whose homeland was never juridically a part of India.

So this is the context of the problem: India's record of one aggression after another, its fatal tendency to have recourse to arms and its aims of establishing a hegemony over South Asia. Had it not been for this, no internal problem of Pakistan, however acute, could possibly have led to a violent explosion.

India alleges that Pakistan has been planning a war in order to draw attention from its democratic crisis. If this were true, why would Pakistan have initiated or accepted every proposal by which hostilities would have been averted? Let me mention briefly the moves that were made or supported by Pakistan during the last five months.

First, Pakistan sought the good offices of the Security Council in August. What was wrong with that proposal? But India blocked the move. Second. Pakistan accepted the proposal for a pull-back of Indian and Pakistani armed forces from the borders to peacetime stations. India rejected it. Who was seeking peace, and who was plotting a war? Third, Pakistan proposed that the two sides withdraw their armed forces at least to agreed safe distances, to meet India's contention that its lines of communication were longer. This was the proposal made by Pakistan in October. Could it be the proposal of a Government that was planning a war? India's Prime Minister dismissed it summarily. Did she intend to prevent a war by doing that? Fourth, when the Secretary-General offered his good offices in October, Pakistan promptly welcomed the offer. How did India respond? The Indian Prime Minister gave a lecture to the Secretary-General. The message was: If you, Mr. Secretary-General, are prepared to exceed your competence, see the problem as we view it and execute our designs, you are welcome; otherwise, not. Fifth, Pakistan also asked for United Nations observers to be stationed on both sides of the border to prevent any encroachment from either side. Does a Government planning a war ask for observers? And does a Government which seeks to prevent a war reject such a proposal? But India spurned that suggestion also. Sixth, on 29 November, eight days after India's massive invasion of East Pakistan, Pakistan went so far as to signify its willingness to accept United Nations observers on its own side of the East Pakistan borders. Did we want the observers to witness our preparations for war?

All these moves for peace made by Pakistan are apparent from the Secretary-General's report of 4 December. Let any representative seated around this table disregard any partisan sympathies and considerations of expediency and come to an impartial judgement on this question. Does not this whole sequence bear out the premeditated nature of India's aggression?

I know that members of the Security Council are not always free to state their positions candidly, but I shall be content if they make an impartial judgement about the origin and causes of this war. Let them face the issue in the privacy of their own minds. If they do, they cannot but realise what the imperatives of the situation are.

These imperatives are, first, a cease-fire; second, withdrawal from Pakistani territory of Indian forces and other armed personnel which entered Pakistan from India; third, the stationing of United Nations observers to supervise the cease-file and withdrawal; fourth, the devising of means to ensure that the Geneva Conventions on armed conflict are scrupulously adhered to and that no reprisals take place in East Pakistan. The withdrawal of forces is, of course, a reciprocal obligation; therefore, Pakistani forces also have to withdraw from Indian territory simultaneously.

Let me make it clear that if these imperatives are fulfilled, Pakistan will heed the appeal of its friends for a cessation of all military activity in East Pakistan, provided that no sabotage, massacre or large-scale violence continues.

As regards the political settlement, it need hardly be said that Pakistan will spare no effort in achieving a solution of its internal problem consistent with the will of the people and its sovereignty and territorial integrity. The sine qua non of the success of the efforts towards a political solution is that they should be free from any outside pressure and foreign participation. It is also an inescapable essential that the negotiations must be without precondi­tions from either side. Given such an atmosphere, there is not the slightest warrant to suppose that a political solution will not emerge which will end the nightmare of the last nine months and induce the speedy repatriation of the people who have been uprooted from East Pakistan.

This is Pakistan's attitude even in this hour of destructive conflict. If the Security Council responds to it positively, the conflict will be ended. In doing so, the Council will uphold the principles of the United Nations. It will show that it is not swayed by power politics but moved by compassion and courage. It will demonstrate that it has the resources to bring about a reconciliation. If it bears in mind the principles involved, the Security Council can feel assured of Pakistan's co-operation. I have come here to seek peace, a peace with honour and justice. I do not want to go back a disappointed man. Should my mission fail, it will be the defeat of not only our hopes but those of the entire people of Pakistan, both in the East and in the West. The disruptive impact of such disappointment on the fabric of peace can hardly be exagge­rated.

So, I reiterate Pakistan's earnest desire to seek a peaceful solution, a peaceful settlement of the internal problems of Pakistan. Within the concept of one united Pakistan, we are prepared to spare no measures to find a peaceful solution of the problems that have aggravated the present tension. This is our hope and we believe that given the determination, vision and confidence, the democratic, elected elements of Pakistan who have the support of the people of Pakistan can come to a correct and just solution in the interests of the whole nation of Pakistan.

I repeat, this has been our point of view right from the day the crisis arose. From 25 March we have been pressing for this, that there must be a political solution. Again and again we have been pressing on the present military regime that there must be a political solution to the problems of Pakistan. I repeat, on 29 September we issued a policy statement on this matter. Today I represent my nation. I have come in this hour of trial. I have been summoned at the last moment to be at the call of Pakistan. I have res­ponded to this because my nation needs my services, and that is why, at the eleventh hour, I have been summoned by my country to come and represent it in its gravest crisis.

We want a political settlement. The Foreign Minister of India talks about a political solution but has applied a military solution to the problem. He wants the repatriation of refugees but riding on Indian tanks and flanked by Indian bayonets. It is India that is seeking a military solution to the prob­lem. Pakistan wants a political solution and Pakistan will have a political solution once Indian intervention is removed from the soil of Pakistan.

 

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