MOSCOW, Feb. 11, Reuter: Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and visiting Indian Defense Minister, Krishna Chandra Pant on Thursday discussed prospects for peace in Afghanistan in the light of new Soviet proposals TASS news agency reported.

“Mutual interest for Afghanistan to be an independent, nonaligned and neutral state friendly to the Soviet Union and India was confirmed,” Tass said:

Earlier this week Moscow offered to start withdrawing its troops from Afghanistan on May 15 if peace talks in Geneva produced an accord by March 15.

Gorbachev and Pant expressed concern about U.S. military aid to Pakistan, which has had tense relations with India, and Pakistan’s nuclear program, Tass said.

They also agreed to explore new ideas for military cooperation between the two countries which, ‘Tass said, had arisen during Pants talks on Wednesday with Soviet Defense Minister Dmitri Yazov. Tass gave no further details and Indian officials were not available for comment.

Tass added that the Indian Ambassador to Moscow, T.N. Kaul, gave Gorbachev a letter informing him that he had been awarded the Indira Gandhi International Peace Prize for 1987. It did not say when the presentation ceremony would take place.

Article extracted from this publication >> February 19, 1988