Virtual Bangladesh: History: Simla Agreement
TRIPARTITE AGREEMENT BETWEEN INDIA, BANGLADESH AND PAKISTAN FOR NORMALISATION
OF RELATIONS IN THE SUB-CONTINENT
New Delhi, April 9, 1974
1. On July 2, 1972, the President of Pakistan and the Prime Minister
of India signed an historic agreement at Simla under which they resolved
that the two countries put to an end the conflict and confrontation
that has hitherto marred their relations and work for the promotion
of a friendly and harmonious relationship and the establishment of a
durable peace in the sub-continent. The Agreement also provided for
the settlement of "their difference by peaceful means by bilateral
negotiations or by any other peaceful means mutually agreed upon.
2. Bangladesh welcomed the Simla Agreement. The Prime Minister of
Bangladesh strongly supported its objective of reconciliation, good
neighborliness' and establishment of durable peace in the sub-continent.
3. The humanitarian problem arising in the wake of the tragic events
of 1971 constituted a major obstacle in the way of reconciliation and
normalization among the countries of the sub-continent. In the absence
of reconciliation, it was not possible to have tripartite talks to settle
the humanitarian problems, as Bangladesh could not participate in such
meeting on the basis of sovereign equality.
4. On April 17, 1973, India and Bangladesh took a major step forward
to break the deadlock on the humanitarian issues by setting aside the
political problems of recognition. In a Declaration issued on the date
they said that they "are resolved to continue their efforts to
reduce tension, promote friendly and harmonious relationship in the
sub-continent and work together towards the establishment of a durable
peace ". Inspired by the vision and "in the larger interest
of reconciliation, peace and stability in the sub-continent" they
jointly proposed that the problem of the detained and stranded persons
should be resolved on humanitarian considerations through simultaneous
repatriation of all such persons except those Pakistani prisoners of
war who might be required by the Government of Bangladesh for trial
on certain charges.
5. Following the Declaration there were a series of talks between
India and Bangladesh and India and Pakistan. These talks resulted in
an agreement at Delhi on August 28, 1973 between India and Pakistan
with the concurrence of Bangladesh, which provided for a solution of
the outstanding humanitarian problems.
6. In pursuance of the Agreement, the process of three-way repatriation
commenced on September 19, 1973. So far nearly 300,000 persons have
been repatriated which has generated an atmosphere of reconciliation
and paved the way for normalization of relations in the sub-continent.
7. In February 1974, recognition took place thus facilitating the
participation of Bangladesh in the tripartite meeting envisaged in the
Delhi Agreement, on the basis of sovereign equality. Accordingly His
Excellency Dr.Kamal Hossain, Foreign Minster of the Government of Bangladesh,
His Excellency Sardar Swaran Singh, Minister of External Affairs, Government
of India and His Excellency Mr.Aziz Ahmed, the Minister of State for
Defense and Foreign Affairs of the Government of Pakistan met in New
Delhi from April 5 to April 9, 1974 and discussed the various issues
mentioned in the Delhi Agreement in particular the question of the 195
prisoners of war and the completion of the three-way process of repatriation
involving Bangalees in Pakistan, Pakistanis in Bangladesh and Pakistani
prisoners of war in India.
8. The Ministries reviewed the progress of the three-way repatriation
under the Delhi Agreement of August 28, 1973. They were gratified that
such a large number of persons detained or stranded in the three countries
had since reached their destinations.
9. The Ministers also considered steps that needed to be taken in
order expeditiously to bring the process of the three-way repatriation
to a satisfactory conclusion.
10. The Indian side stated that the remaining Pakistani prisoners
of war and civilians internees in India to be repatriated under the
Delhi Agreement, numbering approximately 6,500, would be repatriated
at the usual pace of rain on alternate days and the likely short-fall
[text illegible] ..to April 10, 1974 on account of Kumb Mela, would
be made up by running additional trains after April 19. It was thus
hoped that the repatriation of prisoners of war would be completed by
the end of April 1974.
11. The Pakistani side stated that the repatriation of Bangladesh
nationals from Pakistan was approaching completion. The remaining Bangladesh
nationals in Pakistan would also repatriated without let or hindrance.
12. In respect of non-Bangalees in Bangladesh, the Pakistan side stated
that the Government of Pakistan had already issued clearances for movement
to Pakistan in favor of those non-Bangalees who were either domiciled
in former West Pakistan, were employees of the Central Government and
their families or were members of the divided families, irrespective
of their original domicile. The issuance of the clearance to 25,000
persons who constitute hardship cases was also in progress. The Pakistan
side reiterated that all those who fall under the first three categorize
would be received by Pakistan without any limits to numbers. In respect
of persons whose applications had been rejected, the Government of Pakistan
would upon request, provide reasons why any particular case was rejected.
Any aggrieved applicant could, at any time, seek a review of his application
provided he was able to supply new facts or further information to the
Government of Pakistan in support of his contention that he qualified
in one or other of the three categories. The claims of such persons
would not be time-barred. In the event of the decision of the review
of a case being adverse, the Government of Pakistan and Bangladesh might
seek to resolve it by mutual consultation.
13. The question of 195 Pakistani prisoners of war was discussed by
the three Ministers, in the context of the earnest desire of the Governments
for reconciliation, peace and friendship in the sub-continent. The Foreign
Minister of Bangladesh stated that the excesses and manifold crimes
committed by these prisoners of war constituted according to the relevant
provisions of the U.N General Assembly Resolutions and International
Law, war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, and that there
was universal consensus that persons charged with such crimes as the
195 Pakistani prisoners of war should be held to account and subjected
to the dues process of Law. The Minister of State for Defense and Foreign
Affairs of the Government of Pakistan said that his Government condemned
and deeply regretted any crimes that may have been committed.
14. In this connection the three Ministers noted that the matter should
be viewed in the context of the determination of the three countries
to continue resolutely to work for reconciliation. The Minister further
noted that following recognition, the Prime Minister of Pakistan declared
that he would visit Bangladesh in response to the invitation of the
Prime Minister of Bangladesh and appeal to the people of Bangladesh,
to forgive and forget the mistakes of the past. Similarly, the Prime
Minister of Bangladesh had declared with regard to the atrocities and
destruction committed in Bangladesh in 1971 that he wanted the people
to forget the past and to make a fresh start, stating that the people
of Bangladesh knew how to forgive.
15. In the light of the foregoing and, in particular, having regard
to the appeal of the Prime Minister of Pakistan to the people of Bangladesh
to forgive and forget the mistakes of the past, the Foreign Minister
of Bangladesh stated that the Government of Bangladesh has decided not
to proceed with the trials as an act of clemency. It was agreed that
the 195 prisoners of war may be repatriated to Pakistan along with the
other prisoners of war now in process of repatriation under the Delhi
16. The Minister expressed their convictions that the above agreements
provide a firm basis for the resolution of the humanitarian problems
arising out of the conflict of 1971. They reaffirmed the vital stake
of seven hundred million people of the three countries have in peace
and progress and reiterated the resolve of their Governments to work
for the promotion of normalization of relations and the establishment
of durable peace in the sub-continent.
Signed in New Delhi on April 9, 1974 in three original, each of which
is equally authentic.
Dr.Kamal Hossain, Foreign Minster of the Government of Bangladesh,
Sardar Swaran Singh, Minister of External Affairs, Government of IndiaS
Mr.Aziz Ahmed, the Minister of State for Defense and Foreign Affairs
of the Government of Pakistan
[RECORDED VERBATIM AS PER CIRCULATION BY THE OFFICE OF THE FOREIGN
MINISTER, GOVERNMENT OF BANGLADESH]