NEW DELHI, India Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi retuned from a trip to the United States and the Soviet Union Sunday, saying he found Moscow “very understanding” and reporting “differences” with Washington.
Returning home after a two-week tour that included talks with President Reagan in New York and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in Moscow, Gandhi also said he was not convinced by Pakistan’s denial that it was developing a nuclear bomb.
“We found the Soviet Union very understanding,” Gandhi said at the airport on atop. He said he and Gorbachev “had similar views on many issues.”
“On the U.S., we’ve had good talks on economic cooperation, but there are differences,” Gandhi said. “There are differences on Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program, there are differences on basic human issues like (racial segregation in) South Africa.”
Reagan has said there is no evidence that Pakistan is working on a nuclear weapon and the United States has been reluctant to impose more than limited economic sanctions on white ruled South Africa to protest the government’s apart held policies of racial discrimination and segregation.
Gandhi noted his discussions with Pakistani President Zia ul Haq at the United Nations in New York during the organization’s 40th anniversary celebrations.
“Although he (Zia) did assure me that Pakistan did not have a nuclear weapons program, I am totally convinced about that assurance,” Gandhi said.
He said the Soviets “were also concerned about the development of nuclear weapons in Pakistan as they were about Israel and South Africa’s nuclear weapons programs.”
Gandhi said his unexpected stopover in Moscow “was preplanned,” at the start of his tour that also included Britain, the Bahamas, Cuba and the Netherlands.
Gandhi said his talks with Gorbachev included the Nov. 1920 US. Soviet summit in Geneva. “We feel that the Geneva summit is going to be one of the major efforts by the two powers to get together,” he said.
“Disarmament is the primary issue that is threatening the world today,” said the head of the 101nation Non Aligned Movement, “Star Wars (the U.S. Strategic Defense Initiative program) is very much part of disarmament,” Gane, he said.
Soviet media reports said Gorbachev explained his recent arms cuts proposals, saying Gandhi “spoke highly” of the Soviet position.
“The two leaders expressed the desire of both countries to promote their traditional friendly relations,” Moscow radio reported. Gorbachev has made a strong effort to keep strong ties with India and the weekend visit by Gandhi was his second trip to Moscow this year.
Article extracted from this publication >> November 1, 1985