Shri Samar Guha : Did you ascertain about the presence of Russian fleet or Naval base?
Shri Y. B. Chavan : We did not have any discussion with him about this question. We will have to go on the basis of what UN Secretary General said about presence because the respective countries have made statements. Their statement says the Soviet Union has no base in the Indian ocean. This information was given by the Secretary General on the basis of the information supplied by the governments.
The last question he mentioned was about our taking official initiative for having a conference of littoral countries in this matter. I would say we have to be very cautious in this matter.
It is not just a question of taking initiative for having a conference. Such an initiative can be counter-productive also. So, we will have to activate the international forum.
There is, if I may again use the word, an error being made in judging the situation. Let us not isolate the question of this general situation in the Indian Ocean and its treatment by looking at it only from one navy’s point of view. It is a fact of life which has been known to the world that the navies of the USA, France, UK and USSR do cruise in the Indian Ocean. Now we have to find out how we can tackle this problem by eliminating the presence of this military and naval strength in the Indian Ocean so that it may not create tension.....
Shri Piloo Mody : Turn it into land.
Shri Y. B. Chavan : This, really speaking is the problem of ours. Now we have to formulate our approach to this problem and we have to think in what manner we can effectively deal with it. It is not a question of merely getting subjectively angry and making very fierce statements; it is not going to help us at all. Therefore, the approach has been to create opinion in the world which we think is gradually building up. The conference which was held here yesterday is ample proof of that.