Prime Minister Indira Gandhi said on Tuesday (19 October) that a grave situation existed along the borders with Pakistan, but that India was doing everything possible to avoid war.
GV Press conference in progress
SCU Mrs Gandhi speaks (SOF)
TRANSCRIPT: SEQ 2: GANDHI: "We can only say that we have been doing and we will continue to do everything possible to avoid an armed conflict, but as the first questioner said, that the situation is a grave one, and all along the border troops have been brought closer to the border on the other side, with the result that naturally in the interest of our own defence, we have to also look to our interests.
REPORTER: (Mostly indistinct, but the question concerns possible talks between Mrs Gandhi and President Yahya Khan of Pakistan.)
GANDHI: Well, I haven't seen that particular interview, but the question is, what is there to discuss between India and Pakistan? As you know. the problem is not an Indo-Pakistan problem. The problem is between the military regime of Pakistan and the people, the accepted, elected representatives of the people of Bangla Desh. Any solution that is found must satisfy the people of Bangla Desh, and, as I said, the people whom they elected not too long ago to represent them".
Initials SGM/2230 SGM/2205
THE SOUND ON FILM IS PORTION OF MRS GANDHI'S PRESS CONFERENCE, A TRANSCRIPT FOLLOWS.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Prime Minister Indira Gandhi said on Tuesday (19 October) that a grave situation existed along the borders with Pakistan, but that India was doing everything possible to avoid war. At the press conference in New Delhi, Mrs Gandhi ruled out talks with President Yahya Khan of Pakistan to ease the mounting tension between the two countries.
The Prime Minister said that she still planned to go ahead with her tour of western Europe and the Untied States, due to begin on Sunday (24 October).
Along the India-Pakistan borders, troops of both countries maintained their positions, separated by only a few hundred yards in places. Both sides appeared to have broken ground rules, which stipulate that regular troops stay five miles (8 kms) form the border. But the actual border posts were still manned by para-military forces, with the regulars hidden nearby.