Tuesday, March 2, 2010

'This woman suckered us', said Nixon of Indira: Book

"She suckered us. Suckered us.....this woman suckered us." So said an enraged US president Richard Nixon of Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi after learning that war had broken out on the subcontinent on Dec 3, 1971, and Indian forces had made a decisive push towards then East Pakistan that it recognised as Bangladesh three days later.

Nixon, who had met Gandhi just a month earlier in Washington, had sought assurances from her that India would not take any precipitate military action pending efforts by the US to find a political solution that would not "shatter the cohension of West Pakistan" and end up "overthrowing President Yahya (Khan)" who was pivotal to America's China initiative afer 22 years of diplomatic freeze.

Nixon had then made it clear to Mrs Gandhi that "nothing could be served by the disintegration of Pakistan" and even warned darkly that "it would be impossible to calculate with precision the steps which other great powers might take if India were to initiate hostilities".

Nixon's presentations were heard with "aloof indifference" by Mrs Gandhi, Secretary of State Henry Kissinger was quoted as telling author Kalyani Shankar in her just published book Nixon, Indira and India - Politics and Beyond (Macmillan/Rs. 445).

Full report here Hindustan Times

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