Tension along the border between India and Pakistan remains at a high pitch in spite of indications that the diplomatic confrontation between the two countries is near solution.
Tension along the border between India and Pakistan remains at a high pitch in spite of indications that the diplomatic confrontation between the two countries is near solution. As the troops of the Pakistan army continue their mopping-up operation of East Pakistani resistance, the Indian border patrol is reported to be giving aid to Bengalis slipping across the border. But they're avoiding any direct confrontation with the West Pakistanis, conscious that a spark may lead to a much larger conflagration.
SYNOPSIS: Patrolling the border between India and Pakistan...troops of the Pakistan army. These are some of only 100 men of a unit stationed in this area, around Hili, that is dampening the separatist fervour of this part of East Pakistan. They're reported to have done it by a mixture of killing, looting and fire. The only view for the press is from inside the Indian border. Foreign Cameramen have long since been banned inside East Pakistan. Here's the railway line, it runs straight along the border.
The West Pakistan army should have doubts about the safety of a supply train going so openly through Bengali territory, but they're confident that there'll be no trouble. They've been in the area for more than six weeks now, and have it under control. They expect no trouble from across the Indian border, although thousands of East Bengalis are reported to have slipped across, where they're looked after by the Indians.
But it's been reported recently that Pakistani troops have fired into Indian territory. Two mortar shells and some have machine gun fire are reported to have, landed in rice fields just north of Boyra village, but nobody was hit. This occurred when a group of Bengali Freedom fighters engaged a Pakistan patrol on the border just inside East Pakistan. The Indian troops are careful not to retaliate - they know that a spark here could result in a conflagration. The advantage the Pakistan army has here is fire power. They blasted this village of Hili for two days then moved in with bayonets and began looting, it's been reported by foreign newsmen. It's very hear the border.
The Indian border police can only shelter Bengalis who cross the border - but an increasing number of incidents involving them has been reported. Five Indians were killed inside Pakistan last week. and India warned Pakistan the next day that dangerous consequences could follow if Pakistan troops intruded into Indian or fired across the border. So far, India has accused Pakistan of five border incidents. And an Indian press agency has said that mobile columns of the Pakistan army has been moving out of major border points they had already sealed in a bid to weed out "liberation" fighters along the border with India. They've destroyed buildings and set fire to them, to discourage freedom fighters. From across the border, little can be done.