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Tuesday, 8 March 1966


Mr CALWELL (Melbourne) (Leader of the Opposition) . - The late Mr. Lal Bahadur Shastri was indeed a remarkable man. Any leader of India today has to be a remarkable' man - or woman, since Mr. Shastri's successor is Mrs. Gandhi, the daughter of the late Mr. Nehru. The Indian subcontinent, which includes Pakistan, is half the size of Australia. It is not a large area, of the world's surface, but in the Indian republic there are 400 million people who are riven by a caste system, divided by dialectical differences, plagued with great poverty and disgraced by great excesses of wealth on the part of a small section of the community.

Mr. Shastrihad to deal with all the domestic problems of that subcontinent. He had to deal not only with the problems of his own area but also with the problem of Pakistan where, unfortunately, the religious differences between Muslim and Hindu asserted themselves frequently and led to dreadful riots. Indeed, Mr. Shastri must have been a remarkable man. He was a good man. He strove for peace: He strove for conciliation. It was ironically tragic that as a result of the successful conference between Ayub Khan and Mr. Shastri at Tashkent under the auspices of Mr. Kosygin, the Russian Prime Minister, peace between Pakistan and India if not permanently settled was at least considerably advanced. t

We in this country, in looking at the world's problems' in our own way and for our own benefit, have always seemed to regret that India remained unaligned. We blamed Nehru and Shastri because they did not line up with the West. They certainly did not line up with the East. Their great contribution to world peace was their progress along the road of neutrality. No other road is possible for nien like Shastri, for

Ayub Khan or any of the rest who are charged with such great responsibilities in governing so many millions of the human race. Shastri fought for peace; he died for peace: May peace be to his ashes and may his memory endure.







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