“Pakistanis are straightforward and sometimes extremely stupid. The Indians are more devious, sometimes so smart that we fall for their line.”

–President Richard Nixon before the 1971 Indo-Pak War.

Mr Nixon had a soft corner for Pakistan because it was serving as a secret channel on behalf of Nixon and Mr Kissinger in their attempts to open contacts with China, it said. He had developed a special relationship with Pakistan’s then military dictator, General Yahya Khan. With the Indian army and armed Bengali separatists winning, the US on Dec. 10, 1971 urged Beijing to mobilise troops towards India, saying the US would back it if the Soviet Union became involved.

China declined and on Dec 16, the war ended with the Indian army and Bengali separatists taking Dhaka. The Nixon administration’s policy of one-time only exceptions of arms sales to Pakistan, a policy that reversed the previous government’s moratorium on lethal military sales to both countries after the 1965 war. After the war, the Nixon administration offered substantial economic aid and limited military aid to Pakistan under its new civilian President Zulfikar Ali Bhutto as part of the US adjustment to a new balance of power in the region.