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Memorandum to the Prime Minister of India on India’s Responsibility as NAM Chairperson regarding Vietnamese incursions into Thailand


Convenor: Group of Eighty

The problems on the Thai-Kampuchean border are among the most urgent confronting India as Chairperson of the NAM.

Vietnam must withdraw troops from Thailand and Kampuchea

Recognition of a common interest in peace and faith in peaceful methods should be the source to inspire solidarity in the Non-aligned nations. The offensive artillery and tank attacks launched by the Vietnamese and their incursions into Thai territory shows that Hanoi has adopted an aggressive attitude which is not in keeping with the stress on peaceful coexistence adopted by NAM. If Hanoi wants amicable relations with the ASEAN countries, it should withdraw its troops from Kampuchea and restore the independent and non-aligned status of Kampuchea.

India must take up the cause of the Kampuchean Refugees

As leader of the NAM, India cannot be indifferent to the plight of thousands of Kampuchean refugees forced into the Thai interior as a result of the injustice committed by Vietnam in the name of its ideology. India knows that the problem of refugees is a serious one for Thailand, and it should express its fraternity and understanding with the Thai people and government. We cannot forget the sympathy and humanitarian contributions which were received from the people and government of Thailand when India was faced with the problem of Bangladesh refugees.

India must condemn Vietnam’s violation of International Law

The Vietnamese by their latest military thrust have overstepped the limits of international law. India’s respect for independence of nations, our close cultural and economic relations with Thailand and our faith in the common objectives of the NAM require us to condemn the irresponsible and aggressive actions of Vietnam. With several thousands of Vietnamese military personnel in occupation of another country, Kampuchea, the rulers of Hanoi continue to play an interventionist role in defiance of the wishes of the overwhelming majority of the non-aligned countries.

India must not hesitate to ascribe the sole responsibility for the aggravation of the situation to Vietnam since the situation cannot be stabilised unless Vietnamese withdraw their troops from Kampuchea and immediately desist from using chemical warfare and give up their intention to transform Kampuchea into a forward military area for further Vietnamese involvement in Thailand and other ASEAN countries.

India must work for Permanent and Comprehensive Accommodation between Vietnam and ASEAN

The peace of Southeast Asia is important for Indian national interest, and we must therefore take the initiative to urge Hanoi to show a greater willingness to negotiate issues rather than to use its reliance on Soviet military support to terrorise its neighbours. Since it is our purpose to stabilise our relationship with the ASEAN countries and with Vietnam, we must work towards a permanent and comprehensive accommodation between them. The image of India as a country which tilts in favour of the Soviet Union and Vietnam as a general indulgence towards the Moscow-Hanoi axis is not compatible with our forthright and independent stand as Chairperson of the NAM.

India must sponsor a fact-finding team

To secure compliance with the mandate given to India as Chairperson of the NAM, and to show our fraternal interest in the discouragement or expansionist and revanchist ambitions, a delegation of Indian and other NAM parliamentarians and eminent persons should undertake a fact-finding visit to the Thai-Kampuchean border, and bring about a more appropriate focus on the nature and terms of a south-east Asian security settlement under the auspices of NAM.

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