The Foreign Ministers of Bangladesh, India and Pakistan met on Friday (5 April) in New Delhi for the first time since the 1971 war in the sub-continent.
The Foreign Ministers of Bangladesh, India and Pakistan met on Friday (5 April) in New Delhi for the first time since the 1971 war in the sub-continent. The Ministers held two sessions on Friday, lasting a total of two-and-a-half hours, in what an official described as a friendly atmosphere.
The main task facing Mr. Swaran Singh of India, Mr. Aziz Ahmed of Pakistan and Dr. Kamal Hossein of Bangladesh is to decide the future of the 195 Pakistani prisoners-of-war captured in the war by Bangladesh and held in India for the past 28 months. On his arrival in New Delhi, Mr. Mziz Ahmed told newsmen that the issue was "the last obstacle" in the way of normal relations among the three nations of the sub-continent.
Bangladesh is believed to have given assurances that it will abandon plans to put the Pakistani prisoners on trial, but the ministers now have to work out a formula for making this public.
In August, 1973, an agreement was reached in New Delhi for a three-way exchange of about 300,000 people among the countries of the Indian subcontinent. But there are still difficulties over the Biharis - members of an Urdu speaking minority. They are still in Bangladesh, and want to go to Pakistan. The Pakistani government has agreed to take 80,000 but Bangladesh is believed to be trying to drive a bargain under which Pakistan would accept more Biharis in return for the abandonment of the war trials.