Lauds Soviet ‘Love’ for Peace

New Delhi, India — Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, returning from a trip to the Soviet Union, Sunday said Soviet leaders have “ an abhorrence” for war.

Police lined the road to the airport as hundreds of people waving flags and banners turned out to greet Gandhi on his return from his first official visit abroad since taking office in October 1984.

The trip was seen as a reaffirmation of India’s traditionally close ties to the Soviet Union.

“It was a very successful trip” Gandhi told reporters at the airport.

“Everyone I talked to wanted peace and had an abhorrence for war,” he added.

Gandhi also reiterated India’s opposition to the U.S. Strategic Defense Initiative antimissile system, popularly known as “Star Wars.”

“We are against it and I will say that to President Reagan,” he said. Gandhi is expected to meet with Reagan during a visit to the United States June 11 to 16.

During his six day Soviet trip, Gandhi met with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and signed two economic agreements, one of which will provide a $1.16 billion Soviet loan to India.

“The agreements are indicative of the abiding friendship between the two countries,’ Gandhi said.

A joint Indo Soviet statement said Gorbachev had accepted an invitation from Gandhi to visit India. No date was announced.

Gandhi also told reporters he might meet President Junius Jayewardene of Sri Lanka this week in southern India, but stressed no plans have been finalized.

Article extracted from this publication >> May 31, 1985