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tion of the emergency on June 26, 1975, and by saying a few words. about the state of Indochina-United States relations.
India is the world's second most populous country, a nation with over 600 million people which, in its 29 years of independence, has been trying to cope with massive developmental problems. The high rate of illiteracy, currently estimated at 70 percent, the approximate $120 per capita annual income, and the country's 14 official languages and regional diversity point up the magnitude of the problems and the complexity of dealing with these in a country whose population exceeds that of Latin America and Africa combined.
In the South Asian region, our primary concerns have been the promotion of regional stability and the normalization of relations between the nations of the subcontinent and the avoidance of interference by outside powers.
We hope that the governments of the region can focus their main attention on their massive human and social development problems.
In keeping with American concerns for the developing world, we hold a longstanding interest in the economic progress of the countries of South Asia and over the years have provided substantial economic assistance to India. We have no security assistance with India except for a small MAP training program under which 6 officers attended U.S. service schools in fiscal year 1975 and 17 in fiscal year 1976.
India has been dominated since independence by the Congress Party. In June 1975, the President of India, acting on the advice of the Prime Minister, invoked article 352 of the Indian Constitution to declare a national emergency on the grounds that the security of India was threatened by internal disturbance. The proclamation gave the central government broad powers to take executive action and other emergency measures that restrict the fundamental rights provided under article 19 of the Indian Constitution.
In justifying the emergency, the Indian Government stated that elements of the political opposition were creating a situation that threatened the security of the state. In particular, the Government cited the call by opposition leader J. P. Narayan for the police and the military to disobey orders as well as the efforts to call for a nationwide strike and other measures designed to paralyze the functioning of the administration.
The Government, using emergency powers, arrested a substantial number of political opponents. The Indian Home Minister has suggested publicly that about 12,000 to 14,000 such persons may currently be detained. It is our understanding that among those currently detained are 30 members of the Indian Parliament.
In accordance with the Maintenance of Internal Security Act, which has just been extended by Parliament to June 1977, individuals detained under the emergency do not have recourse to the judiciary and the Government need not file specific charges.
India has also imposed press censorship and postponed national elections which would normally have been held by March 1976. Both of these measures were later approved by Parliament. In the case of the press, Parilament has enacted legislation which provides for certain curbs to continue after the emergency is lifted. However, press curbs on foreign newsmen were recently removed.
The Government has stated on a number of occasions that the emergency is a temporary measure, but has not so far indicated when it
will be lifted. Some political prisoners, including opposition leader J. P. Narayan, have been released from jail, but many remain under detention. The major opposition parties have continued to function although a number of smaller groups, which the Government branded as communal, terrorist, or antinational, were banned last year.
Economically, the situation in India has improved in the past year and a half after an extended period of stagnation. The Government announced a 20-point program which included a variety of measures such as abolition of bonded labor and implementation of land reform. The Government in 1976 also announced a national population program signaling a far more serious intent to come to grips with what observers have long felt is India's major economic problem and that is the need to control its burgeoning population.
Following an excellent summer and winter harvest, food production in 1975-76 has reached an all-time record of an estimated 115 to 117 million tons. Industrial production, after a period of performance, has also increased. Especially noteworthy has been a drastic reduction in the rate of inflation which was running at close to 30 percent and during the past year was down to zero.
An excellent monsoon explains much of the improvement. Since agriculture represents 45 percent of India's GNP, the rains continue to have a major impact on overall Indian economic performance.
In India's external relations, there have been signs of a strengthened trend toward regional stability and indications of interest in more balanced relations than previously was the case with major external powers.
In South Asia, India and Pakistan have made significant progress toward normalization of relations. Diplomatic relations were resumed in July 1976, for the first time since 1971, and rail and air links were restored at the same time after a rupture of 11 years.
Relations with India and Bangladesh have recently been less satisfactory and the Bangladeshis have taken the dispute over the Farakka Barrage to the United Nations. However, here, too, the situation is not without hope. Both countries have affirmed their desire for a peaceful and mutually satisfactory resolution of outstanding problems.
India has signaled an interest in reduced tensions with the People's Republic of China by sending an Ambassador to Peking for the first time since the 1962 border war. China has reciprocated and the new Chinese envoy arrived in Delhi just a few days ago.
Our own relations with India have been relatively stable in recent months, with fewer ups and downs than a year or so ago. There have been recent signs of Indian interest in further improvements. The September 20, New York Times interview by the Indian Ambassadordesignate Kewal Singh reflects this upbeat mood. Our own attitude toward India remains basically unchanged. As we have stated on many occasions:
We regard India as an important country whose stability and viability will have a major impact on the peace and stability of Asia.
We believe that stable and productive relations between our two countries, on the basis of mutual respect and reciprocity, serve our national interest.
We recognize that given our differing geographic positions and historical experiences, working out a "mature relationship" will take time, but this remains a goal worth pursuing.
With regard to the human rights situation in India, the President and the Secretary of State have made clear our preference for democratic norms in India as elsewhere. This administration is also on the record in making clear that the promotion, respect, and observance of basic human rights in all countries is an important foreign policy objective of the United States. We do not condone repressive measures taken by other governments against their citizens or others. We have remained circumspect in official comment on specific facets of the situation in India.
In realistic terms, we have limited influence with India. Since a principal complaint on our part about the Indian conduct toward the United States has been the tendency, although not recently, of the Indian Government to address problems through public polemic, it would seem inappropriate for us to pursue the very course which we have asked the Indians not to follow.
I know you will have specific questions on the situation in India and I will be happy to answer these as fully and frankly as I can. Perhaps you may first want to hear from Mr. Gardiner.
Mr. FRASER. Thank you very much.
I think we will ask Mr. Gardiner to present his statement.
STATEMENT OF HON. ARTHUR Z. GARDINER, JR., ASSISTANT ADMINISTRATOR FOR ASIA, AGENCY FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
Mr. GARDINER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
May I say it is a great personal pleasure to be here in front of the subcommittee.
Mr. Chairman, economic development is germane to the interest of this subcommittee in human rights. For poverty, malnutrition, and disease constitute a formidable assault on human dignity and human rights.
As an agency of the U.S. Government, AID represents the will of the Congress and the American people in alleviating poverty through economic development. The so-called congressional mandate to reach more directly the poor majority has reaffirmed us in that will.
It is a striking fact that most of the world's poor live in India. World Bank figures for mid-1973 show 43 countries in the world with a per capita GNP of less than $200. These countries together contained. slightly more than 1 billion people.
India, at a per capita GNP level of only $120, then had a population of just under 600 million. Larger in population than every continent other than Asia, India continues to increase at the rate of more than 1 million people per month. Unless development processes reverse, the cycle of poverty, human misery, and desperation will likewise increase. As Mr. Dubs has noted, bumper harvests in 1975 and 1976 and a favorable monsoon this summer have brightened current economic prospects. Total food grain estimates for the 1975-76 crop season range from 114 to 117 million tons; a record harvest.
Nevertheless, the Government of India still felt the need to import 5 to 6 million tons of food grains in fiscal year 1976; mostly on commercial terms, to build buffer stocks depleted during the 1973-74 drought years.
India has also made good progress over the past 18 months in controlling inflation. A rate of over 30 percent experienced during portions of Indian fiscal year 1974-75 has been reduced to zero. In overall terms, stimulated primarily by agricultural progress, the Indian economy grew at a rate of about 6 to 8 percent last year.
Although the U.S. Government suspended its development assistance program to India in December 1971 with the Indo-Pak war, the title II Public Law 480 humanitarian program has continued without interruption. Today the U.S. Government is providing on a grant basis approximately $100 million worth of highly nutritious food commodities to some 12 million people in India.
The commodities are being distributed to needy persons through the U.S. voluntary agencies, such as CARE, Catholic Relief Services, Church World Services, Lutheran World Relief for school feeding, maternal/child health and food-for-work programs.
Public Law 480, title I concessional food sales to India resumed in fiscal year 1975. In that year, the United States provided credit for sale to India of 800,000 metric tons of wheat valued at approximately $128 million. For fiscal year 1976, the Public Law 480 title I agreement provided 400,000 metric tons of wheat and 100,000 metric tons of rice for a total value of approximately $85 million.
I should note that in those 2 years, India purchased about 8 million tons of food grains commercially from the United States and was our largest commercial export market for wheat.
As you may know, India indicated an interest in the resumption of the development assistance program through AID last fall, but in January we decided to defer talks on a possible program until fiscal year 1977.
In the Indian fiscal year ending March 31, 1976, she received approximately $2.2 billion in flows of foreign aid. Net of debt service on assistance previously provided, this amounted to approximately $1.4 billion. The aid to India consortium consisting of the United States, other western industrialized countries and chaired by the World Bank contributed $880 million of the net total.
While large in absolute terms, the approximately $1.4 billion in net aid flows to India for fiscal year 1975-76 is relatively modest when compared with aid received by other countries on a per capita basis. In 1974, for example, per capita assistance to India totaled $2.56, the lowest per capita aid of all AID recipient countries in the $90-$150 per capita income range.
Historically, U.S. Government assistance to India of all these types, has exceeded $9 billion for the 29-year period starting in 1946 and ending in 1975. However, with current Indian debt service payments to the United States approaching $135 million, our net bilateral aid transfers to India were below $80 million in 1975 and 1976.
India is also a major recipient of multilateral assistance. The International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank's soft loan window, provided $684 million in new commitments in fiscal year 1976. Although the United States contributed 27.6 percent in that year, the U.S. Director has, according to law, voted against IDA projects in India.
As a development agency, AID believes the U.S. long-term interest in Indian development as well as more immediate humanitarian concerns would justify consideration of a bilateral AID program in
India. In light of these concerns, a proposed program was included in our request to Congress for appropriations for fiscal year 1977 so that we would have the funds available to resume a bilateral AID program if conditions changed so as to permit the necessary cooperative dialog. A decision has not yet been made as to whether a program of bilateral development assistance should, in fact, be resumed. Thank you, sir.
Mr. FRASER. Thank you very much, Mr. Gardiner.
You said the United States, according to law, had voted against the IDA projects?
Mr. GARDINER. Yes, sir, that is correct.
Mr. FRASER. What law is that?
Mr. GARDINER. That is an amendment to the authorization legislation for the International Development Association. If I can find it here, I will have it for you.
An amendment in the International Development Association Act, section 15, introduced by Public Law 93-373 on August 14, 1974, provides that the U.S. Governor of the World Bank is authorized and directed to vote against any loan or other utilization of the funds of the Association for the benefit of any country which develops any nuclear or explosive device or unless the country gives or becomes a state party to a treaty on nonproliferation and weapons. The legislative history, sir, made it clear that one of the countries that definitely falls within the scope of the provision is India.
Mr. FRASER. Is there any other that would qualify?
Mr. GARDINER. There is no question that it was targeted clearly. Mr. FRASER. Mr. Dubs, the political situation in India, according to some earlier hearings we had, left some of the witnesses with a view that things were going to get worse-worse in the sense of the abandonment of the democratic principles. Some witnesses, on the other hand, thought this was temporary and things might get better. But since those earlier hearings, which now must have been 3 months ago or so, it seems to me there has been a steady evolution away from the maintenance of recognized democratic forms of the kind that India had followed in the past. Would you agree with that? I noted, for example, you mentioned the lifting of restrictions off foreign journalists, that is the only positive change that I have noted in looking at the press reports.
Mr. DUBS. There has been certain legislation passed connected with revisions to the Constitution, and it does seem the rights and prerogatives of the judiciary, for example, are being more restricted. There is an indication that restrictions on the press will also extend beyond the lifting of the emergency. So there have been certain indications of a trend toward increased tightening up. At the same time you have the contrary signal that the foreign press, at least, has had the guidelines lifted with respect to its reporting.
In this connection, Mr. Chairman, might I comment about some personal conversations that I have had in India with some very high-ranking officials close to the Prime Minister about the emergency.
I made a trip to the subcontinent in October of last year. The emergency had then been in effect roughly 4 months. But my objective was to try to ascertain what lay behind the imposition of the emergency.