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Thursday, 25 November 1971
Page: 3753

Mr Hayden (OXLEY, QUEENSLAND) asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice:

(1)   Has his attention been drawn to an official statement by the Indian Foreign Ministry on 20th October 1971 which, as reported in the 'Canberra Times' of 22nd October 1971, stated that India was determined that Pakistan should create conditions for the safe return of refugees, and if it did not, the international community was expected to put pressure on Pakistan to reach such conditions but if the international community failed then India would have to think of ways and means and reserved the right to take any action which might be in the national interest.

(2)   Do the problems created by the crisis in East Pakistan and the influx of refugees into India threaten the maintenance of international peace and security in the terms of Article II (2) of the United Nations Charter.

(3)   Will Australia raise this issue in the United Nations General Assembly or support initiatives by other countries to enable concerted international action to reduce the danger of war by encouraging tolerable political conditions for the return of refugees to their homes.

(4)   Has the Government received any communication from the Government of Bangla Desh; if so, what response was made to the communication,

(5)   What proportion of East Pakistani territory is under the de facto control of the Pakistan Government

Mr N H Bowen (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1)   Yes.

(2)   Not at this time.

(3)   The Australian Government ha.i exercised and will continue to exercise, its influence in what- ever way it can to reduce tension in the Indian sub-continent.

(4)   Australia does not recognise the so-called Government of Bangla Desh'.

(5)   It is not for the Australian Government to comment on the extent of control exercised by the Government of another State in any part of its territory.

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