Buck: I was there close by when this happened in 1971. We had seen refugee people, 100 miles from the border, camped out everywhere. The conservative estimate of genocide by the West Pakistan troops was around 300,000 and as high as 3 million. India declared unilateral ceasefire on Dec 17, 1971. India had no intention of inflicting defeat on the West Pakistan side nor did the Indian troops stay in Bangladesh for more than 3 months when the last Indian soldier was withdrawn from Bangladesh soil. No agreement for standing military base was ever discussed :-) The Kashmir problem had always bugged India and it got sucked into it because of the British indecision. Frankly, many people in India want this problem to go away and let the things settle down at the LOC (Line of Control). If Pakistan became a real democracy (as it was for a short period of time in the 70's when the Shimla agreement was signed where both countries agreed to move back to the 1947 LOC), maybe the problem can be ironed out. Trust me, Indians have no intention of defeating, demoralizing, obiliterating, annexing or imposing any sort of government on Pakistan. Many people are not aware that India has the second largest Moslem population in the whole world (first is Indonesia). So, India walks a tight rope every time in a world crisis. India voted against the UN resolution establishing Israel in 1949 and did not have relations with Israel till 1992. Interestingly, Israel supported India in the 1971 war (enemy of my enemy is my friend thing I guess). Now, India and Israel have a thriving trade and military relationship. The governments headed by any party there supports this move. In the current Israel-Lebanon conflict, the government there said “India condemns the abduction of two Israeli soldiers on 12 July 2006 by Lebanese militants and calls for their immediate release.”. Interestingly, the current relationship between India and Bangladesh is strained with border skirmishes almost every day. And so it goes....(as Kurt Vonnegut would say).
Hi Dave,Bangladesh's 140+ million managed to separate from Pakistan reasonably peacefully, ....This is not true.'Reasonably peacefully'Pakistan went to war with India in 1971 which India won in a fortnight liberating East Pakistan (rechristened as Bangladesh).The East/West Pakistan partition was a compromise. Like all such, it had problems. Here, it was 25+ years of abuse in the Bengali East by the central government. Finally, the East decided to secede and when it did, the central army initiated a pogrom of horrible proportions. In this regard, it is true that Bangladesh wasn't born without violence. Worse, violence against Bengalis was rampant before the war, too. On the other hand, when India intervened (as it was politically desirable for her to do so,) she could have really demolished West Pakistan, but ended the war with a unilateral cease fire as well as a return of all POWs and restoration of the pre-war boundaries between India and West Pakistan. In this regard, the butcher's bill was much lower than it could have been. The final item to add to the analysis is the refugee situation. Bangladesh is almost unique in this regard. Every monsoon season sees millions of Bengalis moving into India, and every dry season, millions move back. 'Refugee' can surely be used to describe this movement, but I propose that 'migration' fits, too. So the millions of Bengali refugees in India during the war are not as dramatic a situation as it would be for other nations. Thus, despite the death toll in East Pakistan, I opine that the situation was reasonably peaceful, given the possibilities and tensions at the time. I completely agree that it wasn't a bed of roses, only that the situation has been reasonably handled by the diplomatic process since the 40s. There is certainly room for disagreement on the nature of the birth of Bangladesh, and I'm glad you posted on it! --buck ------------------------------
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