Journalist: Mr. Ambassador, Rajiv Gandhi has invited Pakistani President Mohammad ZiaulHaq to visit India to discuss Afghan peace efforts.

Ambassador: That’s right.

Journalist: But India has scrupulously avoided condemning Soviet occupation of Afghanistan and has always dismissed the concern of the third world against Soviet presence in Afghanistan as irrelevant.

Ambassador: Very correct.

Journalist: How do you explain this change in India’s attitude? Is it because India wants to share the credit in view of the developing prospect of peace in Afghanistan? Or is it because India wants to sabotage the peace prospect? Ambassador: Not in national interest to disclose.

Journalist: Mr. Ambassador, Punjab Police Chief, Mr. Ribeiro has, in an interview, said “I firmly believe that Sikhs cannot be suppressed by force”.

Ambassador. That’s right.

Journalist, He also conceded that his policy of “bullet for bullet” was proving counterproductive.

Ambassador, Very correct.

Journalist: Would it not be right for Ribeiro to tell Rajiv and his advisors to study Sikh history instead of continuing with their policy of suppressing Sikhs?

Ambassador: Not in national interest to disclose.

Journalist: Mr. Ambassador, speaking from behind a bulletproof screen, Rajiv Gandhi advised the unarmed people “to face bullets bravely”.

Ambassador: That’s right.

Journalist: And to divert the attention of the people from the Bofors scandal, he signed an accord which envisages referendum to settle the issues.

Ambassador: Very correct.

Journalist: Don’t you think Rajiv should agree to hold referendum in Punjab and Kashmir as well to settle the issues according to the wishes of the concerned people?

Ambassador. Not in national interest to disclose.

Article extracted from this publication >> March 4, 1988