A fresh influx of thousands of refugees from East Pakistan have been coming into India at Sikarpur, in the Nadia district of West Bengal.
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Background: A fresh influx of thousands of refugees from East Pakistan have been coming into India at Sikarpur, in the Nadia district of West Bengal. The border point is about 125 miles south west of Calcutta. According to the refugees and reports coming across the border, the refugees are being forced to flee by Pakistan government troops, who have taken possession of villages near the border with India.
On Tuesday (19 October), India's Prime Minister India Gandhi said that a grave situation existed along the borders with pakistan, but India was doing everything possible to avoid war.
SYNOPSIS: India, already reeling under the financial burden of accommodating some nine-million refugees from East Pakistan, is now facing a fresh influx. Thousands are crossing into India at Sikarpur in the Nadia District of West Bengal. The refugees claim they have been forced from their homes by troops of the Pakistan government. The troops, it is claimed, have been mobilising along the border with India, with heavy artillery. Reports received from the Pakistan side of the border say that the government troops have taken possession of several villages close to the border. It is thought that the action has been taken, in part, as a retaliation for the killing of government troops by guerrilla forces.
The continued influx of refugees such as these could plunge India into a serious recession, unless the economy receives a huge injection of foreign aid in the coming months. A preliminary survey by the Finance Ministry reveals that the cost of keeping the refugees alive will have amounted to three-hundred and fifty million pounds sterling by the end of the financial year in March. At the same time, defence expenditure is expected to rise dramatically because of increased tensions along India's borders.