REPLY BY SARDAR SWARAN SINGH, MINISTER OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS,
TO THIS DEBATE ON BUDGET DEMANDS, ON
Replying to the Debate on Demands for Grants for the year
1971-72 of the Ministry of External Affairs in the Lok
Mr. Chairman, I have heard with great attention the contribution that has been made by Members in the present debate. Although, at the present moment, there are some very vital and immediate problems, about which our attention has to be concentrated, it is a healthy sign that, besides these immediate problems, some general problems about the world situation, the problems of peace and war, of disarmament, nuclear bomb, question of space and several other matters of general importance to the international community have been highlighted, and comments have been offered on these important aspects of international life.
I am also conscious of the fact that a very large number of Members of this House have participated in this debate- as many as 34 members have already spoken. Much as I would have liked to reply to all the points that have been raised, it may be appreciated that it is not possible to do so. I will, however, endeavour to say something about some of these important points, and will not try to answer each and every point that has been raised. I would, at this stage, assure the Members that what they have said will be very carefully examined in the Ministry and by me. We will go into the suggestions that have been made, and we will examine with the greatest care the observations and opinions that have been expressed by the Members on the floor of the House.
Relations With Neigbhours
Before I come to the current matters of interest, first of
all, I would like to say something about some matters which have been raised in
the course of the debate, particulary in relation to
our neighbours, and our general policy about them and
about our success in establishing friendly relations with them. Although some
comments have been made and some of them not well-informed, I
would like to say that our relations with our neighbours,
excepting two, are friendly and close, and there is a great deal of
understanding and goodwill between
With our neighbour
I would like to say that although our relations with these four
countries which are our neighbours-have been good,
unfortunately our relations with our two other neighbours--
I would like however to clarify that this is not of our seeking, and if we find that our relations with these two neighbours on the west, cast and north have been of this nature, we have to see the background.
The hostility that
In relation to
It is in this background that we have to see as to whether the policy that we have been pursuing in relations to our neighbours-both those who are friendly, as well as those who, for no fault of ours, are not friendly to us, but are actually hostile to us-is the correct policy to be pursued.
A great deal of effort has been put in by several Members to show that our policy of non-alignment, the policy that we have pursued so far, has not yielded result. I had, however, been very careful and attentive to find out if any alternative was suggested by any Member to the policy of non-alignment that we had been pursuing. So, what could be the alternative of the policy of non-alignment ? Can it be a policy of aligning ourselves with any of the power blocs ? Obviously, no one has suggested this, and no one can, in any seriousness, suggest this.
A Member : Independent, nationalist policy ?
Sardar Swaran Singh : Independent, nationalist policy is precisely the policy of non-alignment and it is that policy that we have been pursuing so far.
I agree with those Members who have said that this policy of non-alignment means that we decide ourselves what our attitude should be in any particular situation; not that others should take steps or action as a result of which we would find that we have to adopt a particular policy or oppose a particular policy. If we have not subscribed to any of the defence pacts, if we have not aligned ourselves with any of the power blocs, it has been with a view to ensure independence of our action and independence of our approach in any situation.
I was amazed when some Members propounded a strange theory that if we get any arms from any country then we become aligned with that country. That is a proposition which is very dangerous; that is a proposition which we can never accept and should never accept. I have said on more than one occasion that where our own national interests are involved, where our own security is involved, when we stand in need of any military equipment of a sophisticated nature or of a type which we do not manufacture in our country, 1 shall have no hesitation in getting that equipment or that material from any source whatsoever, and I do not see why there should be any objection to that.
A Member: How is
We have pursued this policy; we will continue to pursue that policy because that is the best policy that is in our interest, and I have no hesitation in saying that we will pursue it and we will get help and equipment from whatever source it may be available. I have no inhipitions whatsoever in that respect, and I do not see why we should not have confidence in our own country to see that merely getting help from any other country does not in any way compromise us.
I would like to say that there are other matters of important
to the world community such as the questions of war and peace, questions of
disarmament, questions not only of the remnants of colonialism in whatever form
they exist, but of ending the apartheid and racist regimes in South Africa,
Rhodesia etc. These are matters on which we have always lent our full support
in all forums; whether it be the conference of non-aligned countries, whether
it be the United Nations in its various organs or committees, or bilaterally in
the forum of the Commonwealth, we have steadfastly adhered to the pursuit of
the policy where our opposition to colonialism in any form has been clear, forthright
and unequivocal. We have steadfastly stood for helping freedom fighters engaged
in the task of freeing themselves from colonial clutches of the Portuguese in
adopt an attitude of isolation from the contribution we must make in the affairs of the world. We have always pursued a policy where we have made our position absolutely clear, and have used all our influence in order to further those causes and the causes of those who are suffering.
At this stage, I would also like to say that it was farthest from me to say anything which might have the effect of denigrating the U.N. organisations or the international community or the various organs in which we function. That was not my object, but we must be realistic in this respect. It is a hard reality that these U.N. organisations are political bodies where governments of countries arc repvrsented. I am also conscious of the fact that the U.N. did a great deal of admirable work in focussing world attention on problems of colonialism and several other matters; and it was mainly on account of the pressure built up in U.N. organs that the colonial powers found it difficult to hold on to their colonial empires, and progressively country after country became free and independent. But we must also keep this in mind that the U.N. being a body in which Governments are represented, for getting support for any particular proposition which we want a particular U.N. organisation or group to adopt, we must first have sufficient support in the capitals of the countries represented in the appropriate U.N. body: It is with this object in view that we have been mobilising support in various capitals and also through their representatives in U.N. headquarters at New York, at the U.N. organisations headquarters in Geneva, also here in Delhi, by having contacts with the representatives of the countries concerned; also, sometimes, even by special missions, not always of Ministers, but of experts, sometimes of professors, lawyers and other knowledgeable people to convince those Governments of the correctness and justice of our case.
We have already raised the question of Bangla Desh in ECOSOC, and depending on the response we get, and also depending on whether it will serve our purpose and interest, we will certainly raise it in the other appropriate organisations of the U.N.-provided we are assured of sufficient support for any formulation or proposition we expect that particular organ of the U.N. to adopt.
Recognition of G. D. R., D. R. V. N., etc.
The question of recognition of certain countries has again
been raised by several members--recognition of
Normalisation of Relations With
Several members have made suggestion that we should take some
step to normalise our relations with
Some members have suggested that we should defuse our relations !with
Something has been said, and quite rightly, about the new
development that has taken place according to which it has been announced that
President Nixon will visit
a secret, clandestine manner. I have made some comments already on this development when I was replying to the debate on the non-official resolution about recognition.
I should like to make some comments on the Sino-American process of detente.
In this connection, I should like to recall that I have
already made a statement on 16th July. While we welcome the rapproachment between
interference from outside.
This applies as much to Bangla Desh as to
We shall not allow any other country or combination of countries to dominate us or to interfere in our internal affairs. We shall, to our maximum ability, help other countries to maintain their freedom from outside domination, and their sovereignty. We have no desire to interfere in the internal affairs of other countries, but this does not mean that we shall look on as silent spectators if third countries come and interfere in the internal affairs of other countries, particularly our neighbours, as our own national interest could be adversely affected.
I sincerely hope that any Sino-American detente will not be at the expense of other countries, particularly in this region. However, we cannot at present totally rule out such a possibility. It can have repercussions on the situation in this subcontinent, as well as in this region. We have, therefore, for sometime been considering ways and means of preventing such a situation from arising, and meeting it if it should arise.
In this, we are not alone, and there are other countries, both big and small,
, who may be more perturbed than we are. We are in touch with the countries concerned and shall see to it that any Sino-American detente does not affect us or the other countries in this region adversely.
Several observations have been made about the motives that may have been the mainspring for the development of the Sino-American detente, Several points have been suggested that one party may be motivated by this aspect and the other country by another motive. Whatever may be the motives, this is a very important and very significant development. We shall have to watch very carefully the effects of this, and we shall have to take every possible step to safeguard our own interests.
I know that several countries have already given their reactions. Some of them have been critical. Some have expressed their fears. But there is no doubt that in the months to come this will be the most important event of the year, and a great deal of thought will have to be given to the after-effects of this, and how it unfolds itself. We need not rush to any conclusion straight away, We have to be careful and watchful, and take adequate steps both political and otherwise in the international field and inside our own country to safeguard our interests.
President Yahya Khan's interview
Several Members have made reference to the press report of an
interview given by President Yahya Khan. I should
like to remaind the Members that the report in this
case is from Mr. Maxwell who put forward the theory of
President Yahya Khan is reported to
have said that if
President Yahya Khan talks about his
willingness to meet our Prime Minister in response to efforts of mediation.
That is also mentioned in that statement. I would like to make it clear that
this is not a problem between
I would like to say very categorically that these efforts to divert the attention of the international community and to project this liberation fight that is being carried on in a relentless manner by the freedom-fighters-this we have to scotch; and we have made it absolutely clear to all important countries that this is a matter between the Awami League, between Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the military rulers, and any attempt to divert the attention of any international community by projecting this as an Indo-Pakistan dispute is something which is totally unacceptable to us.
Sheikh Mujibur Rahman
I would like to say about the report that has come out about
Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. The
report says that there is a proposal to try Sheikh Mujibur
Rahman. Even if he should be tried as it is-as
mentioned in some reports-by a military court in which they say he may have a
lawyer, but not a foreigner as a lawyer-all this shows, if any proof was
required, that there (in
Our attitude has been made clear from time to time. This Parliament has unanimously adopted a resolution pledging sympathy and support, and we are pursuing that resolution in the best possible manner, and we are doing everything possible to lend support to the freedom-fighters.
So far as the foreign office and our missions abroad are
concerned, I would like to assure you that they know fully well the
implications of this issue. Let us not forget that this is a matter which is
very vital for us, which is vital for our existence and for our survival.
Therefore, we have to take major steps, we have to exercise all the wisdom, but
still, in a relentless manner, pursue our objective, the objective being the
will of the people of Bangla Desh
expressed in such over-whelming manner by returning Sheikh Mujibur
Rahman and the Awami
League, and giving him such massive support. Unless an administration and
Government which is controlled by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the Awami League is
installed there, I do not see any hope of these refugees going back, because it
is not by statements alone that any confidence can be installed into the minds
of these refugees to enable them to return to their homes and hearths. There is
no substitute for experience, and the experience that they have had before they
fled for their lives is an experience which cannot be wished away merely
because somebody is making a statement that these refugees are welcome and they
can return. What was the effect of the statement that President Yahya Khan made ? After that, 3J
million more refugees crossed into
Thank you very much.