HL Deb 30 June 1965 vol 267 cc875-6

3.54 p.m.


My Lords, with permission I should like to repeat a Statement which my right honourable friend the Prime Minister has just made in another place. His exact words were as follows:

"I am happy to inform the House that the Indian and Pakistan Governments have announced the signature of an Agreement for a cease-fire and the restoration of the status quo in the Rann of Kutch as at January 1, 1965, and on the arrangements for the determination and demarcation of the border in that area.

"In implementation of the agreement arrangements have been made, pending the final determination and demarcation of the border, for police patrolling by both sides in the Rann of Kutch area. These arrangements will help to avoid any risk of further clashes occurring in the area after troops on both sides have withdrawn.

"I am glad to say that both President Ayub and Mr. Shastri made it clear to me that, when the Agreement was completed, they would at once instruct their troops to withdraw from their present advanced positions along the Indo-Pakistan border in the confidence that this would also contribute to the reduction of the present tension between the two countries.

"The whole House will, I am sure, wish to welcome this settlement and I would like to take the opportunity to pay tribute to the wisdom and statesmanship of President Ayub and Mr. Shastri. I hope that this may prove to be the first step towards a general improvement in relations between India and Pakistan, in whose welfare and peaceful progress all of us in Britain have so close and abiding an interest."


My Lords, I am obliged to the noble Earl the Lord Privy Seal for reading to us the Statement of the Prime Minister and giving us this very welcome news of the settlement. We on these Benches must sincerely endorse the tribute paid by the Prime Minister to President Ayub and Mr. Shastri for their wisdom and statesmanship.


My Lords, I should like to join in welcoming the Statement made by the noble Earl, Lord Longford. In particular, may I express the hope that the agreement will prove to be a step towards a general improvement in the relations between India and Pakistan, and to a settlement of the outstanding issues. I am sure that if that were to come to pass, it would be greatly welcomed, both in this country and throughout the Commonwealth.


My Lords, I should like to offer my congratulations on the settlement between Pakistan and India. Is this not an object lesson on what may be achieved regarding the settlement of a dispute between countries in the Commonwealth, and is it not better than denigrating the Commonwealth in favour of the Common Market?


My Lords, I am grateful to all the noble Lords who spoke from their hearts from their particular points of view.