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Publication: The New York Times
Date: December 8, 1961
URL:  https://www.nytimes.com/1961/12/08/archives/goas-liberation-pledged-by-nehru-indian-accuses-portuguese-of.html?s=03
Indian Accuses Portuguese of 'Intolerable' Actions

Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru declared today that Portugal had created a situation in her possessions on the Indian west coast that was becoming increasing "intolerable" to India.

He said India was taking action that would lead ultimately to the "liberation" of Goa, the principal Portuguese territory on the Indian subcontinent. It is about 230 miles south of Bombay. Two other possessions, Damao and Diu, are north of Bombay.

But Mr. Nehru appeared to hold back from committing India to military action to drive the Portuguese out of the enclave they have held for 450 years. He told the lower house of Parliament: It is not the first step that counts. It is the last step that counts."

Goa Priority Denied Mr. Nehru firmly dismissed charges that he had assigned priority to the Goa situation over defense of India's border with Communist China.

The border dispute with Petping over Himalayan territories, he assert. is "more important than one Goa or a hundred Goas.” The dispute, he added, "is going to govern the future of Asia and of India for I do not know how long."

With the lower house already having debated what Mr. Nehru called the problem of the "huge elephant of a country sitting on our border," Goa dominated the' foreign policy discussion. At the conclusion, the House adopted by a voice vote a motion approving the Government's policy.

The Prime Minister Nehru said India was taking action that would ultimately lead to "liberation" of Goa (cross).


It rejected an amendment by the Akhil Bharatiya Jan Sangh, 3 Right-wing Opposition party, regretting what it deemed the failure of Indian policy toward Communist China, Pakistan and Portugal. Thus ended a debate in which criticism of Mr. Nehru by Opposition parties and even by some members of his own Congress party was probably stronger than ever before.

The Prime Minister cited a number of steps alleged to have been taken by Portugal that had almost driven India "over the verge" of military intervention in Goa. He thus confirmed reports that India was considering use of force to take over the 1,309-square-mile territory.

Among the Portuguese provocations, Mr. Nehru said, were gunfire on Indian fishermen, violations of the Indian border, "repression" in Goa that included "bad torture cases" and a build-up of Portuguese troops and ships in the area.

Navy May Lead Action

These Incidents, the Prime Minister declared. were "aggressive and insulting" and posed a "direct challenge to India."

"We must clear the waters" and be ready to meet any further developments, he added.

The Prime Minister seemed to be implying that the Indian Navy might take the first step against the Portuguese and that the army was standing by to deal with any reaction this might bring.

Defense Minister V. K. Krishna Menon, who is reported to be leading a faction of the Indian Cabinet in favor of military intervention, said "no responsible government can tolerate the Portuguese atrocities we are determined to take action."

Apparently commenting on a request by Portugal for Britain to use her influence with India in the Goan situation. Mr. Nehru said any such intermediary had to realize there was "no solution except the Portuguese Government's walking out of Goa."

The Prime Minister said that while India had been "exceedingly reluctant" to use major force in Goa "the present position is not to be tolerated." India is taking action. he said. but "what action is another matter."
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