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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The Indians also seem to be stepping up the pace on the political front. As you know, they apparently played a guiding role in the recent formation of a multi-party Bangla Desh “National Liberation Front” which is to function as an overall steering committee. The Front includes—among others—pro-Moscow Communists, who knowledgeable sources believe were brought in at Indian and Soviet insistence. At a minimum, it broadens the base of the Bangla Desh movement and strengthens the hand of the leftist hardliners against the remaining pro-West moderates. In a related move, T.N. Kaul is being publicly quoted as saying India will recognize Bangla Desh “very soon,” and in private Kaul and other major foreign policy advisors to Mrs. Gandhi are reported to be talking about the inevitability of war.

There may also be a degree of Indian coordination with the Soviets on bringing pressure to bear on Pakistan. Gromyko, for instance, recently issued a stern warning to Sultan Khan to refrain from any kind of hostilities or use of arms but offered no solution to Pakistan’s problems. As you know, Mrs. Gandhi plans to travel to Moscow for a visit toward the end of the month, possibly to assess Soviet reactions and support.

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