New York Times

August 01 1971


Editorial: Himalayan Confrontation?

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Meanwhile, there is imminent threat of widespread famine in the stricken eastern province, where planting has been neglected and shattered communications lines hamper the movement of available food stocks. Refugees continue to pour over the Indian border by the tens thousands daily, creating problems that a Red Cross official has described as catastrophic.

Resistance in East Pakistan continues, with bombings a daily occurrence in the capital of Dacca and communications throughout the province seriously disrupted. The Bengalis are said to be training tens of thousands guerrilla fighters in camps along the Indian border preparation for a major effort in the fall when the mon soon rains end. If this should occur, the guerrilla activity almost certainly would lead to a confrontation between India and Pakistan, even if Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi succeeded in the meantime in resisting rising pressures for immediate military intervention.

It is not necessary to agree wholly with India's over righteous attitude to recognize that President Yahya's ruthless policies in Bengal are putting New Delhi an increasingly difficult position. India simply cannot support—economically, socially or politically—a flow refugees from East Pakistan that already exceeds seven million. Even more serious, the systematic slaughter, rape and expulsion of Hindus from East Pakistan could touch off communal violence throughout India, with its substantial Moslem minority. It is no wonder that Indians are appalled and angry over United States Government policies that give aid and comfort to the Yahya regime while seeming to disregard the horrible implications of events in East Pakistan.


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