Former secretary of state Henry A. Kissinger said yesterday that the United States should discuss with Pakistan the possibility of establishing air and naval bases there to help defend it against possible aggression by the Soviet Union or India.

Disclosing this "somewhat reluctant conclusion" to a nationwide television audience, he also said that "an increased military presence in the Indian Ocean is now imperative."

Kissinger described Pakistan as a country with a superpower -- the Soviet Union -- on one border "and a very heavily armed India on the other." Also bordering on Pakistan is Afghanistan, which recently was invaded by Soviet troops.

Warning generally against trying to establish American credibility with "any one measure that has the appearance of a gimmick" he said he found it "hard to imagine" how simply pouring arms into Pakistan could enable it to resist aggression unaided. He went on to say, on "Meet the Press" (NBC, WRC):

"Therefore, what we have to define is the relationship of the United States to Pakistan and the role of arms deliveries within that context. What is our position with respect to the integrity of Pakistan and the role of arms deliveries within that context? How are we going to achieve the protection? These are the questions that must be answered rather than to think of one military gimmick."

Foreseeing a period of several years in which Pakistan could be subject to pressure from the Soviet Union, India or both, Kissinger said that U.S. military bases there would be "clearly perceived by India as not suitable for a war of aggression . . . and available for defensive purposes."

He termed it "essential" to have some presidential declaration -- "hopefully, supported by the Congress" -- of U.S. "national interest in the territorial integrity of Pakistan, bec ause without this an arms program in the abstract simply will not make any sense."

Asked if detente was dead and if U.S.-Soviet relations would return to the cold war of the 1950s, Kissinger, who was secretary of state in the Nixon and Ford administrations, said:

"I think it is a mistake to try to encapsulate our relationship in one word -- either cold war or detente.

"We have two seemingly contradictory necessities. One is to prevent Soviet expansionism, either directly or by proxy. The second is to explore the possibilities of peaceful coexistence in the world in which they and we have the capacity of destroying mankind. Those necessities do not disappear, whatever the immediate tensions may be.

"Whenever we emphasize one of those elements to the detriment of the other we pay a heavy price. I believe that in recent years we have overlooked Soviet expansionism . . . we are now paying the price for it."

Unlike most presidential challengers except for Rep. John B. Anderson (R-Ill.), Kissinger said President Carter's embargo on shipping 17 million metric tons of grain to the Soviet Union was the "right decision." He said that opposition to it by GOP presidential candidates reflected in part the upcoming caucuses in the farm state of Iowa.

Secretary of Agriculture Bob Bergland, appearing on "Face the Nation" (Cbs, wdvm), said the partial embargo will mean meat shortages in the Soviet Union by mid-summer while having "zero" effect on inflation here.