'Richard Nixon supported Pak in 1971 war because of animosity towards Indira Gandhi'
While his diplomats were calling for a different approach – a policy that stops massacre of innocent people and supports democracy – Nixon's direction to his administration to support Pakistan in this 1971-conflict was mainly driven by his animosity with then Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and his secret desire to open up with China, for which he was seeking help from the Pakistani leadership, argues Bruce Riedel in his latest book 'Avoiding Armageddon: America, India, and Pakistan to the Brink and Back'.
Riedel, a former CIA official, is now a scholar at the Brookings Institute - a prestigious US think-tank, based in Washington.
"Acting under the President's guidance, Henry Kissinger ordered the American government to "tilt" toward Pakistan and Yahya. Many in the bureaucracy resisted. At one National Security Council meeting, Kissinger, exasperated by the pushback from the regional specialists, exclaimed, 'The President always says to tilt toward Pakistan, but every proposal I get is in the opposite direction. Sometimes I think I am in a nut house'," he wrote in the book.
The American diplomats on the scene were appalled at their country's policy, Riedel writes adding that in 1971, virtually the entire country team