Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi told a press conference in New Delhi on Friday (31 December) that the rift between the Indian and United States Governments can only be healed when Washington recognise the self-styled Bangla Desh administration.
GV Mrs Gandhi at news conference
CU Mrs Gandhi (SOF)
TRANSCRIPT (SEQ 2): QUESTION: The Indo-American relations have suffered quite a setback in the past two months, how do you see the future relations and what do you think America should do to try to patch them up again?
MRS GANDHI: Well, if they have had a setback it's certainly not due to us. We've done everything possible to be friendly and because we value friendship with America, we would very much like our relationship to be friendly again. What can be done? I think it's easier for you to figure out. A certain situation exists and one must feel, and one must recognise the reality of it. And also much will depend on whether the U.S. administration wants friendship or not. That is the first question which you will have to ask them. So far as the people are concerned, I must say they have shown the greatest understanding and sympathy throughout this difficult period and I received a very large portion of my mail from American citizens.
COMMENTATOR: Mrs Gandhi was asked about the reluctance of some refugees to leave India.
MRS GANDHI: The question, er, we seem to have drifted from the question. The question is whether they want to remain in India and not go back, I don't believe that this is true. I think that a great majority of them do want to go back. They said they didn't want to go at this stage when they were sure that they would be killed when they returned. They couldn't forsee Bangla Desh presumably at that time, and therefore they were not sure of their future. Today when they see that there is a stable Government they feel that things are returning to normal -- already 260,000 have gone and we think that most of them will have returned by the and of January, and certainly by the end of February.
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Background: Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi told a press conference in New Delhi on Friday (31 December) that the rift between the Indian and United States Governments can only be healed when Washington recognise the self-styled Bangla Desh administration.
She said that any setback Indo-American relations was not her doing and insisted that India had done everything to be friendly with the United States.
Mrs. Gandhi also gave relatively firm dates for the return of refugees into East Pakistan, saying that, most would be gone by the end of January and certainly by the end of February.