Sharad Pawar, Maharashtra chief minister, said he would go to some of the states to explain to Congressmen “our stand”. He met Y B Chavan, the officiating Congress president, and claimed a “large section” of Congress MPs supported his stand. Explaining why he had joined with the Janata, he said: “To fight authoritarianism, we must unite. Our immediate enemy is Mrs Gandhi’s party, her style of functioning and her son, Sanjay Gandhi’s functioning.”
At least half a dozen teams will attempt various peaks in Kishtwar region of Jammu, following the lifting of the ban on foreign expeditions imposed by the Centre the previous year. When the ban came to light, Chief Minister Sheikh Abdullah immediately took the matter up with the Union home minister assuming the ban applied only to the Nun and Kun peaks. The home ministry agreed to his request to keep the peaks open to foreigners.
A two-day international conference called for the establishment of a zone of peace in the Indian Ocean and for a nuclear-free zone in the South Pacific. The conference, organised by the Australian committee of the World Peace Council, heard reports from delegates to the recent UN special session on disarmament. It also passed a resolution calling upon the Australian government to grant land rights to the aboriginal people.
Pakistan and NAM
Pakistan was given guest status by the preparatory committee of the non-aligned foreign ministers’ conference, which adopted India’s proposal to this effect. The ambassador-level committee conferred this status on Pakistan, allowing it to attend the NAM meeting in a “corresponding capacity”. Pakistan’s participation in a western military alliance, the Central Treaty Organisation, stood in the way of it getting full membership.