Nixon Presidential Materials

September 16 1971


SUBJECT Situation in South Asia

Memorandum From Harold Saunders and Samuel Hoskinson of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)

Foreign Relations of the United States
Volume X1
South Asia Crisis, 1971

By Saunders & Hoskinson

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Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 641, Country Files, Middle East, South Asia, Vol. II, Jan–Oct 1971. Secret; Exdis. Sent for information. Kissinger initialed the memorandum indicating he read it.

Washington, September 16, 1971.

SUBJECT Situation in South Asia

We have recently received a series of related reports suggesting that relations between India and Pakistan could again be moving toward a flash point. The evidence is still highly circumstantial, but there is enough at least to warrant increased concern.

New Developments

As you know, both the Indians and the Pakistanis have in recent weeks been taking increased measures of military preparedness. In some cases, these surpass those made before the war in 1965. Forces on both sides are now at a high state of alert, and other related measures have been taken against the contingency of the outbreak of war.

The most recent, and most worrisome, report is that units of India’s armored division and an independent armored brigade have begun moving from the interior toward the border with West Pakistan, opposite Lahore. This move reportedly is intended to signal the Pakistanis that New Delhi is prepared to meet and deal with any Pakistani incursion and to discourage any thoughts Islamabad may have that a pre-emptive strike against India could succeed. It could also, however, lead the Paks to believe that the Indians are preparing to attack and stimulate some drastic reaction, perhaps along the cease-fire line in Kashmir.


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