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India And Pakistan (Visits By The Secretary Of State)

Volume 720: debated on Tuesday 16 November 1965

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asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations what plans he has to visit India and Pakistan.

I have no plans to visit India or Pakistan in the immediate future. I was glad to welcome Mr. Patil and Mr. Shoaib here recently for political discussions and I hope that it will be possible to exchange other visits at Ministerial level in the coming months.

Is not the right hon. Gentleman aware that the House will be very disappointed by the vagueness of that reply, particularly in view of the damage done to relations between Britain and India by the maladroitness of the Prime Minister's reaction to the outbreak of fighting in the Punjab? Will the right hon. Gentleman treat this as a matter of urgency to the Commonwealth?

The hon. Member's views are not shared by all knowledgeable people. I should welcome an opportunity to visit India and Pakistan as and when it is readily agreed by both sides.