Wikileaks: Don't think you're supporting Pak, Indira Gandhi told Richard Nixon in 1971

Indira GandhiIndira Gandhi

"I don't think you are supporting Pakistan. If you had taken a stronger line with (Pakistan military ruler) Yahya (Khan), you would have done more for Pakistan."

This is what Indira Gandhi told US President Richard Nixon just days before India-Pakistan war when she met him in Washington in November 1971, according to a US diplomatic cable made public by Wikileaks.

The cable on October 19, 1973 is based on a conversation between then US Ambassador Daniel Patrick Moynihan and Gandhi.

During his meeting, Moynihan informed Gandhi that Nixon was concerned that developments on the Afghan border in 1973 should not lead to difficulties for Pakistan and that he hoped India would share this view.

It was at this time that Gandhi recalled her conversation with Nixon prior to the Bangladesh crisis.

A cable made public eight years ago by Wikileaks had said that Nixon called Gandhi an "old witch" when Henry Kissinger met him at White House hours after the talks with Gandhi.

The US had sided with Pakistan in the 1971 war and even threatened to move its Seventh Fleet to Indian Ocean. Gandhi had then declared India will not be intimidated by such moves.

In the 1973 cable, Moynihan said Gandhi assured that India indeed saw the independence and integrity of Pakistan as a cornerstone of Indian foreign policy but the policy that country following in Pushtunistan and Baluchistan "would not strengthen" that country but "rather would weaken it".

"What Pakistan subsequently did was not best for Pakistan. As for the Baluchistan and Pushtunistan are internal affairs of Pakistan. India would not interfere. But it never has worked to try to destroy people... Finally Afghanistan has a large Pathan population. It must be concerned that this population not be aroused by events in Pakistan," he wrote.

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