China backs Pakistan and warns India | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, April 12, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, April 12, 2021

Road to Freedom: This Day in Bangladesh Liberation War History

China backs Pakistan and warns India

April 12, 1971

SITUATION IN OCCUPIED BANGLADESH

The Martial Law Authority in Dhaka announced today that government troops had destroyed all "subversive elements" in Chandpur and it promised that the lives and property of "minorities and other people" in the eastern wing of the country would be protected.

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The declarations were made over the official Pakistan radio station, which called on government employees in East Pakistan to return to work. In addition, citizens in Dhaka were warned by the press and radio to take precautions in case there should be an outbreak of cholera.

The radio also reported that an army column had advanced unimpeded from Dhaka 70 miles northwest to Pabna. The troops "did not encounter any subversive or antisocial elements" on the way, the radio station said.

An Indian government spokesman said today that the Pakistani army continued to hold onto major towns and garrisons in East Pakistan, but that it had been forced by frequent ambushes to move down main roads in units of battalion size or larger.

Quoting from intelligence reports, the spokesman said although Chittagong was in army hands, the road leading north to Dhaka ran through territory was held by "insurgents" who had declared their independence from the western wing. He said the road was disrupted at several points and that ferry operators who had supported the "insurgents" had moved vessels away from crossing points. As a result, he said, supplies coming by sea from West Pakistan were being sent up the river to the town of Chandpur for unloading and convoying to Dhaka.

CHINESE PREMIER'S MESSAGE TO YAHYA

The Pakistani government announced today that it had received a note from Premier Chou En‐lai of China strongly supporting its efforts to put down a movement for autonomy in East Pakistan.

The government said that Chou had denounced the United States, the Soviet Union and India for "carrying out gross interference in the internal affairs of Pakistan" and had promised China's support "should the Indian expansionists dare to launch aggression against Pakistan".

In reporting Chou's statements, the Pakistani government's news agency said that they had come in a letter to President Agha Mohammad Yahya Khan.

In his letter, the Chinese premier praised President Yahya, saying "Your Excellency and the leaders of various quarters in Pakistan have done a lot of useful work to uphold the unification of Pakistan and to prevent it from moving toward a split.

"In our opinion," the letter continued, "the unification of Pakistan and the unity of the people of East and West Pakistan are basic guarantees for Pakistan to attain prosperity and strength. The Chinese government holds that what is happening in Pakistan at present as purely an internal affair of Pakistan which can only be settled by the Pakistani people and which brooks no foreign interference whatever."

KOSYGIN MEETS AMBASSADORS

Soviet Premier Kosygin met separately today with the Pakistan and Indian ambassadors as part of an apparently growing Soviet effort to seek a solution to the crisis in East Pakistan.

Diplomatic sources said the Soviet Union was deeply concerned over continued bloodshed in East Pakistan and the resulting charges and countercharges between the Pakistan and Indian governments that have led China to speak out on the side of Pakistan.

The wide publicity given to the meetings by the Soviet media indicated a Soviet desire to underscore Moscow's effort to remain impartial, even though the Kremlin had already publicly criticised the use of force to quell the East Pakistani independence movement.

WHEAT SHIPMENTS STOPPED

The United States announced today that it is suspending aid shipments of wheat to East Pakistan because of congestion in East Pakistani ports caused by "civil strife" there.

INDIA DENIES CHARGE

The Indian foreign ministry today denied a Pakistani charge that two companies of Indian border security forces had crossed into East Pakistan and the Pakistani army had "wiped them out".

Shamsuddoza Sajen is a journalist and researcher. He can be contacted at sajen1986@gmail.com

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