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Current ties have roots in Bangladesh crisis, says Henry Kissinger

India and Pakistan went to war over the Bangladesh crisis in 1971

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Henry Kissinger
Henry Kissinger

The current phase of has its roots in the 1971 Bangladesh crisis as despite having opposite views on the issue, the two nations could develop a parallel approach on key areas of security and economy, former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger said on Monday.

Speaking at the India US Strategic Partnership Forum, the 96-year-old former top diplomat said the Bangladesh crisis pushed the two countries to the "edge of confrontations".

India and Pakistan went to war over the Bangladesh crisis in 1971.This was also the period of the Cold War and India and the US had different perceptions, he said.

Referring to the Berlin crisis of 1961, during which the USSR gave an ultimatum to the US allied forces to move out of Berlin, Kissinger said many in the American government were disappointed after the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and the Indian government did not back the US.

"India was at the beginning of a historic evolution and not all of the problems that concerned were of equal importance to India. India was heavily involved with its own evolution and the policy of neutrality," he said.

He said the Bangladesh war was also the time when the US was opening up to China.

"We came through this (Bangladesh) crisis from the opposite point of view but with the conviction that only fundamental evolution would follow (that) India and the United States could develop parallel approach and over the years, we have now reached a situation where India and the US, on many of these issues have parallel objectives," Kissinger said.

He said the two countries have developed consensus on key issues of security and economic evolution of the world. This has happened without any former arrangement between the two sides, the former diplomat said.

"And if you look at the world, there are upheavals in almost every part of the world and that you cannot necessarily develop a general concept for each of them but you can work together on the essentials of peace and progress. Then I would say no two countries now are better situated to evolve their friendship," Kissinger added.

First Published: Mon, October 21 2019. 20:15 IST
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