London (UPI) — Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi arrived amid heavy security Monday for talks with Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher on trade, South Africa and racial discrimination against Indian immigrants in Britain.

Gandhi was given a red-carpet welcome by Thatcher at Heathrow airport, where troops patrolled in light tanks, police marksmen squatted on roof tops and dogs sniffed for explosives.

In the past three days, police have arrested a dozen Sikhs and Kashmiris under antiterrorist legislation, citing reports that Sikh militants planned to assassinate the Indian leader during his first official visit to Britain.

About 40 Sikhs demonstrated outside the Indian High Commission, calling for an independent homeland to be established in the northwestern Indian state of Punjab. Gandhi, who succeeded

Is mother, Indira Gandhi, after she was assassinated by her bodyguards last Oct. 31, visited Britain on the first leg of a five nation tour. The Indian leader was accompanied by his Italian born wife, Sonia, and senior government officials.

Gandhi had a private lunch at Buckingham Palace with Prince Charles, heir to Queen Elizabeth, before going to 10 Downing Street for talks with Thatcher.

Britain wants to revive Indian interest in an $81 million helicopter deal which soured after television pictures of jubilant Sikhs in London celebrating Mrs. Gandhi’s killing caused outrage in New Delhi.

The Indian government has urged Britain to crack down on Sikh exiles in Britain, whom it claims are funding Sikh extremists in Punjab.

Thatcher, in an interview with the Press Trust of India, denied Britain had failed to take action, saying her government was “only too anxious and willing” to act but could only move on people against whom evidence ‘had been obtained.

Article extracted from this publication >>  October 18, 1985