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Digital Archive International History Declassified

January 19, 1982


This document was made possible with support from the Carnegie Corporation of New York (CCNY)

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    Report based on information from a Soviet ambassador on India's strategy for dealing with Pakistan. India is concerned about the military support Pakistan is receiving from the United States and China, as well as Pakistan's nuclear weapons program. India is receiving military support from the Soviet Union, modernizing its forces, and seems to be preparing for war with Pakistan.
    "Report, Embassy of Hungary in India to the Hungarian Foreign Ministry on Indian-Pakistani relations," January 19, 1982, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Hungarian National Archives (Magyar Országos Levéltár, MOL). XIX-J-1-j India, 1982, 60. doboz, 60-10, 00599/1982. Obtained and translated for NPIHP by Balazs Szalontai.
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Dear Comrade [Foreign Minister Frigyes] Puja!

Hereby I submit, as an attachment, the extremely confidential information about the Indian designs on Pakistan that I received from the Soviet ambassador. I wrote the memorandum in a way that the source of the information was not revealed in it. My request is that only the narrowest circles [of the leadership] should have access to this material and that it by no means should find its way back to the Soviets.

It is obvious that the Soviet Union must be aware of certain Indian conceptions. The ambassador firmly declared that they assisted India in its military preparations by all means.

In essence, India has concluded that only prevention can be expedient against the Pakistani atomic bomb.

New Delhi, January 1982

With comradely greetings,
Ferenc Turi

Subject: Development of India's relationship with Pakistan

At present the relationship with Pakistan constitutes one of the main foreign policy problems for India.

In recent times, relations between Pakistan and the United States, and between Pakistan and China, have become closer, to the detriment of India. The Indian leadership is worried that the USA is providing Pakistan with massive military assistance. By arming Pakistan, the United States aims at reinforcing its presence in the region, applying direct pressure on India, and ensuring that support is provided to the Afghan counter-revolutionaries via Pakistan. In the last analysis, the objective of the USA is to establish its control over this region by means of Pakistan, and to gain strategic advantages in the area near the Soviet border. The Indian leadership is even more worried about the Pakistani atomic bomb. The Indian leadership is currently pondering which solution to choose. In Indian military circles, there is a quite widely held opinion that the Pakistani nuclear power plant, which is only 3-400 kilometers from Delhi, should be bombed in the Israeli manner. This idea is opposed by quite a few people in the Foreign Ministry. The latter assert that this would produce a very detrimental effect on India's international relations, and its position in the Non-Aligned Movement would become untenable.

An even more critical question – which has to be considered by the Soviet Union as well – is the reaction that a possible Indian-Pakistani war would elicit from the American side. According to the information available to the Indian intelligence service, the agreement signed by the United States and Pakistan has a secret military clause that would enable the USA to dispatch troops. The Soviet-Indian treaty of friendship renders it possible to dispatch Soviet troops to India if India faces a threat that is serious enough to warrant it. If the United States dispatched troops to Pakistan, evidently the Soviet Union could not stay idle. All this, however, would carry the risk of a direct confrontation between the two Great Powers.

It is estimated that India has a year to make a decision. By that time, the Pakistani atomic bomb will reach a stage of readiness for action. India has made certain that Pakistan is working on the development of the atomic bomb at a rapid pace. Conditions for this are provided by the United States, but China also gives assistance.

The other main question is China's reaction. The Indians have evidence that in recent times, China has dispatched numerous military units near the border with India, primarily to the section in Kashmir.

Under such circumstances, the Soviet Union provides assistance to India to strengthen its military potential. This assistance will be effective, it will enable the Indian military to take on Pakistan.

India has started to modernize its military at a rapid pace. It seeks to obtain the most up-to-date arms (French Mirage aircraft). France, however, is not going to provide these aircraft before 1984-85. It claims that first it must satisfy its own needs and the demands which others submitted earlier.

By the way, the French presidential change was a certain disappointment to the Indian leadership. In contrast with the previous good relations – though relations are not bad at present, either, their cooperation with President Mitterrand and the new French leadership keeps stalling.

According to our own experiences and the hitherto obtained information, India is preparing for the war with Pakistan at a rapid pace. One can hear the following opinion from Indians: India is going to bomb the Pakistani [nuclear] power plant, because it cannot tolerate the development of Pakistan's nuclear potential. Day by day, the newspapers publish communiqués about the inauguration of new Indian military units and the establishment of new military services. It seems that the official news organs seek to habituate [Indian] public opinion to the idea of war.

Thus at present India sees no other way out but to prepare for a showdown with Pakistan, and, for the sake of this aim, to create an even more modern and up-to-date military equipped with advanced technology.

It depends on various internal, and primarily international, factors when this showdown will occur and whether it could occur at all. It is absolutely sure that if India considers the situation suitable, it will settle accounts with Pakistan. The government of Indira Gandhi is capable of doing so; no other Indian leadership would take on that.

Last but not least, the Soviet Union is also interested in weakening and crushing Pakistan. The Soviet Union repeatedly tried to bring Pakistan to reason, but to no avail. Pakistan is so close to the Soviet border that it cannot [be allowed to] become an American strategic base against the Soviet Union.

In parallel with the rapid development of its military, India continues the diplomatic dialogue with Pakistan, whose main subject is currently the non-aggression pact proposed by Pakistan. It has become clear to the Indians that this was suggested to Pakistan by the Americans for tactical reasons. India is absolutely doubtful about the sincerity of the Pakistani proposal. For tactical reasons, it is unable to reject the Pakistani proposal for the time being, but it will eventually reject it on the grounds that the Pakistani intention is not sincere. They will probably refer to Pakistan's offensive intentions with regard to the development of an atomic bomb. The undersecretary of state – when I visited him – declared that they expect Pakistani Foreign Minister Agha Shahi to come to Delhi in the near future. They will try to ascertain how sincere the Pakistani intentions are.

New Delhi, 19 January 1982

Ferenc Turi