HC Deb 01 December 1964 vol 703 cc220-1
24. Sir F. Bennett

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations what safeguards Her Majesty's Government have sought to obtain to ensure that the defence aid to India stipulated in the Indo-British communiqué of 20th November is not deployed for purposes of internal repression or conflict with her sub-continental neighbours.

Mr. Bottomley

If the hon. Member will refer to the communiqué of 20th November, he will see that no new commitments for the supply of arms and military equipment have been undertaken.

Sir F. Bennett

In regard to the general supply of arms to India at present, under that communiqué and otherwise, and recalling his and his friends' many statements in the past that it is impossible to distinguish to what use weapons are to be put in any particular country, can the right hon. Gentleman say whether in his undertakings for the supply of arms to India he bears in mind all the feelings of Pakistanis in this matter?

Mr. Bottomley

In supplying arms to Commonwealth countries we do not subject them to any limitation as to their use.

Mr. Biggs-Davison

Is not the defence aid very properly extended by the United Kingdom to India partially vitiated by the absence of that common defence system for the sub-continent which was offered by Field-Marshal Ayub Khan to the late Sri Nehru and, to achieve that, is not the problem of self-determination in Kashmir very relevant? Will Her Majesty's Government, in common with other Commonwealth Governments, do their best in this difficult problem to see whether India and Pakistan can be brought closer together in the interests of the Commonwealth?

Mr. Bottomley

This is a matter where all Commonwealth Governments are willing to help if their services are required. Of course we would all like to see the differences between India and Pakistan over Kashmir ended as soon as possible.

Mr. George Jeger

In considering these matters, will my right hon. Friend give weight to the view that building up arms in that area will not reduce tension between India and Pakistan?

Mr. Bottomley

This is a matter we have very much in mind.

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