New York Times

May 23 1971


Three Million Links In A Chain of Misery

By Sydney H. Schanberg

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The Indians are worried, and not without cause. Prime Minister Indira Gandhi's Government feels that the Pakistanis are deliberately terrorizing Bengali Hindus and other potential dissidents into fleeing across the border to place grave strains on India's economic and social fabric. The Indians also fear that large numbers of Pakistani agents are crossing over, undetected, with the refugees. Further, New Delhi is concerned that the refugee camps might eventually become military staging areas for the independence struggle, thereby becoming a target for the Pakistan Army and turning the border into a battle arena.

As a result, India last week mounted a massive diplomatic and publicity campaign to try to mobilize world pressure against Pakistan. The Indian message being spread in world capitals is that unless other governments persuade Pakistan to halt Its "deliberate campaign of terror" and "deliberate expulsion" of Bengalis, India will be "forced to act to protect our national interests." What "forced to act" means Is not clear, and most diplomats here do not think India has actually mapped out in any detail what she will do if the world response is disappointing.


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