PAKISTAN: Border Trade

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Pakistan's quarrels with India have been so virulent that outsiders have had to intervene—the U.N. to separate the armies in Kashmir, the International Bank to arbitrate rights to the Indus River waters. This summer, trouble flared along East Pakistan's ill-marked borders, and once again Pakistan's Moslem Leaguers whooped it up for holy war. Customarily, any politician who talks on India in conciliatory tones risks political suicide. But Feroz Khan Noon, the tall, Oxford-educated aristocrat who became Pakistan's seventh Prime Minister last winter, decided that such irresponsible fire-breathing had gone on too long. Bluntly warning that "U.S. military aid will stop if Pakistan talks in terms of war," Noon challenged the zealots: "If you think you can wage a war with India standing on your own feet, you can come and do it. I shall not lead this country to war, because I know war will destroy both countries and solve no problems."

Noon's words won quick response from India's Nehru, who has long considered the border incidents "an intolerable nuisance." Last week Prime Minister Noon flew to New Delhi with his handsome, Hungarian-born Begum for the first meeting of Prime Ministers of the two countries since 1955. Nehru sprang gallantly forward to retrieve Begum Noon's golden slipper when it fell as she stepped out of the plane. He escorted them to the high-domed Presidential House, and the talks began. The two leaders quickly worked out an agreement to trade several small enclaves along the disputed East Pakistan border "with a view to relieving tension."

Both Prime Ministers stressed that their present step was less important than the direction in which they were moving. Next, ministers from each side will tackle West Pakistan's border.