Russia vetoes troop-pullback proposal | The Daily Star

December 5, 1971


The Soviet Union vetoed today in the UN Security Council an American resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire in the Indian-Pakistani conflict and for the withdrawal of the armed forces of both the countries to their own side of the border.

The vote came toward the end of an eight-hour session in which the council heard India and Pakistan accuse each other of armed aggression.

China joined the United States and nine other members in voting for the American text. Britain and France abstained. The Soviet Union and Poland voted against the resolution. Since the Soviet Union is a permanent member of the council, its vote was a veto.

Britain and France indicated that they had abstained because they foresaw a Soviet veto and they felt that any resolution should be adopted unanimously.

Meanwhile, the Soviet Union, asserting that its security interests were affected by the Indian-Pakistani war, warned Pakistani leaders today that they were assuming “grave responsibility” by pursuing the “dangerous course” of conflict with India.

In a statement issued through Tass, the Soviet press agency, Moscow asserted its belief that “the governments of all countries should refrain from steps signifying in one way or another their involvement in the conflict and leading to a further aggravation of the situation” in the Indian subcontinent.


In a letter, dated December 5, 1971, Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi urged US president Nixon to “persuade Pakistan to desist forthwith from the policy of wanton aggression and military adventurism which it has unfortunately embarked upon”. She requested Nixon to exercise his “undoubted influence” with the government of Pakistan to “deal immediately with the genesis of the problem of East Bengal which has caused so much trial and tribulations to the people not only of Pakistan but of the entire subcontinent”.


The important town of Akhaura was captured today by Mitro Bahini. An Indian defence ministry spokesman said that the Pakistani defences were stormed at 6:30am and all resistance was knocked out with one blow. Heavy fighting continued in Cumilla and Laksham. The enemy forces sneaked out of Feni and freedom fighters immediately entered the town. The capture of Feni severed all overland connections between Chattogram and the rest of Bangladesh.

The advancing columns of Mitro Bahini made a further thrust down towards Jashore after capturing the railway station at Kotchandpur. They cut through the Pakistani defence position at Khanpur in Dinajpur district and made a forward thrust towards the headquarters town Dinajpur.

In Sylhet area, Munshinagar fell to the hands of Mitro Bahini.

The sky belonged to the Indian Air Force (IAF) today. They had severely damaged all the airfields and runways in East Pakistan. Pak forces could not get an opportunity to repair any runway as the IAF kept up relentless pressure.

US secretary of state William P Rogers complained today to Lakshmi Kant Jha, the Indian ambassador to the United States, that an Indian air attack had been made on one United States merchant vessel and that an Indian naval vessel had intercepted another within the last 36 hours.

Shamsuddoza Sajen is a journalist and researcher. He can be contacted at

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