Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
India - Pakistan conflict



Download PDFDownload PDF

EMBARGO, Not to be i;sed b e fo re 5pm 5 December

DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS

NEW S R EL EA SE N O . Q / U J 5 December 1971

INDIA ~ PAKISTAN CONFLICT .

• The M in is te r f o r F o re ig n A ffa irs,M r* N ig e l Bowen,Q.O,?M .P„5s a id

t h i s evening t h a t th e A u s tr a lia n Government was g ra v e ly concerned a t th e

o u tb re a k o f f u l l - s c a l e w a rfa re betw een I n d ia and P a k ista n ,,

A lthough i t ap p eared t h a t n e i t h e r Government had made a fo rm al

d e c l a r a t i o n o f war upon th e o th e r ,b o th p a r t i e s had now made c l e a r t h a t a s t a t e

o f war e x is t e d betw een theme

Mr.Bowen s a id t h a t in r e c e n t w eeks, as a t e a r l i e r s ta g e s o f th e

c r i s i s over E a s t P a k is ta n , A u s t r a lia had been in c lo s e to u ch w ith b o th p a r t i e s

and w ith o th e r i n t e r e s t e d governm ents, in e f f o r t s to red u ce te n s io n and

prom ote a p o l i t i c a l s e ttle m e n t* The Government d e e p ly r e g r e t t e d th e tu r n t h a t

e v e n ts had now ta k e n b u t would c o n tin u e to do w h atev er i t co u ld to h e lp . .

end. th e f ig h t i n g .

The M in is te r n o te d t h a t th e S e c u r ity C ou n cil was a t p r e s e n t

m eeting in emergency s e s s io n to c o n s id e r th e s i t u a t i o n . A u s t r a lia was n o t,

a t p r e s e n t, a member o f th e C o u n cil b u t would s u p p o rt any move to b rin g a b o u t

an a g re e d c e a s e -f ire ,d is e n g a g e m e n t and w ith d raw al o f th e opposing fo r c e s

b eh in d t h e i r r e s p e c tiv e n a tio n a l f r o n t i e r s . T h is was th e f i t 's t e s s e n t i a l :

th e need f o r a p o l i t i c a l s e ttle m e n t to re s o lv e th e u n d e rly in g cau ses o f th e

f i g h t i n g would rem ain.

In th e m eantim e, Mr.Bowen c o n tin u e d ,A u s tr a lia ’ s p o s itio n m ust be

t h a t o f a n e u t r a l . A u s t r a lia had good r e l a t i o n s w ith b o th I n d ia and P a k i s t a n , '

w hich were fe llo w members o f th e Commonwealth and we were engaged i n .

programmes o f economic and te c h n ic a l a s s is ta n c e to b o th c o u n tr ie s . '

I n acco rd an ce w ith i t s e s ta b k is h e d p o lic y , A u s t r a lia would n o t su p p ly

arms o r w a rlik e s t o r e s t o e i t h e r p a r ty b u t would m a in ta in i t s h u m a n ita ria n

and economic a id w ith in th e p h y s ic a l l i m i t s s e t by th e f i g h t i n g and

s u b je c t to n e c e s s a ry s e c u r i t y p re c a u tio n s ,, -

Mr6 Bowen s a i d th e Government was in c lo s e a n d ·c o n s ta n t commun­

i c a t i o n w ith th e A u s tr a lia n High Commissions i n Islam abad and New D e lh i

ab o u t th e ' developm ent o f the s i t u a t i o n and th e s a f e t y o f A u s tr a lia n

c i t i z e n s .

I n P a k is ta n , th e High Commission had p u t in to e f f e c t c e r t a i n o f th e

a rran g em en ts which d ip lo m a tic m issio n s make to p r o t e c t t h e i r n a tio n a ls in an

emergencyt, Most A u s t r a lia n c i t i z e n s had been n o t i f i e d t o le a v e E a s t P a k is ta n in

A p ril and few were now th e r e e x c e p t th e sm a ll s t a f f o f th e Deputy High

Commission i n D acca, I n W est P a k is ta n ,A u s tr a lia n c i t i z e n s i n th e b o rd e r

a re a s had been a d v is e d to move to s a f e r p la c e s fo llo w in g p ro c la m a tio n o f

a S t a t e o f Emergency on 23 November, As a r e s u l t o f war c o n d itio n s s in c e

3 December, th e re m a in in g A u s tr a lia n s i n th o se a re a s were b e in g g iv e n o f f i c i a l h e lp

t o . l e a v e . I n N orth P a k is ta n A u s tr a lia n s were a ls o b e in g a d v ise d t o move to

s a f e r p la c e s and a number had a lre a d y l e f t P a k is ta n , in c lu d in g some High

Commission d e p e n d a n ts. I n th e K a rac h i a r e a A u s tr a lia n s were on th e a l e r t

b u t had n o t y e t l e f t in any num bers. The A u s tr a lia n High Commissioner a t ■

Isla m ab a d , M r ,F ,S tu a r t, was in c lo s e to u c h w ith A u s tr a lia n s i n K a rac h i th ro u g h

th e A u s tr a lia n o f f i c e th e r e a n d . w ith o th e r m issio n s w ith n a tio n a ls i n th e

a r e a , M r,S tu a rt had flow n to K arach i on 3 December to d is c u s s th e s i t u a t i o n

and th e p r e c a u tio n a r y m easures b e in g plan n ed w ith th e S e c r e ta r y o f th e

D epartm ent o f F o re ig n A f f a i r s , S i r K e ith W a lle r, who was p a s s in g th ro u g h a t

t h a t tim e ,

Mr, Bowen s a id t h a t i n In d ia th e A u s tr a lia n High Commission had is s u e d

" f i r s t w arning" n o tic e s to A u s tr a lia n c i t i z e n s known to be in a re a s l i k e l y

to be a f f e c t e d by m i l i t a r y o p e r a tio n s 0 A u s tr a lia n s in New D e lh i and elsew h ere

vie r e b e in g a d v ise d to a v o id t r a v e l to th o se a r e a s . Those, who had been

s tra n d e d by th e c lo s u r e o f D e lh i'a n d C a lc u tta a i r p o r t s and th e su sp e n sio n o f

i n t e r n a t i o n a l f l i g h t s had been a d v ise d to m a in ta in c o n ta c t w ith a i r l i n e

r e p r e s e n ta tiv e s and to ta k e th e f i r s t o p p o rtu n ity to le a v e .

The M in is te r s a i d t h a t A u s tr a lia n s who had been p la n n in g to

v i s i t P a k is ta n and I n d ia i n th e n e a r f u tu r e o r who were p la n n in g to f l y

a c r o s s th e s u b -c o n tin e n t sh o u ld r e c o n s id e r t h e i r p la n s pending f u r t h e r

developm entse .

. K reBowen s a id t h a t b o th I n d ia and P a k is ta n had. warned n e u tr a ls

o f th e . e x is te n c e o f a n a v a l 'blockade® S h ip s were l i a b l e to be d iv e r te d to .

b e l l i g e r e n t p o r ts and c o n tra b an d carg o se n se d * L i s ts would be made p u b lic

a s soon a s th e y were o f f i c i a l l y a v a i l a b l e 0