U.S. envisions bigger role for India: PM

( From The Hindu's archives: 23.10.1987) The U.S. in Mr. Gandhi's view, sees a bigger role for India in the region than what was conceded in the past.

September 26, 2014 03:29 pm | Updated 03:42 pm IST

The Prime Minister, Mr. Rajiv Gandhi, finds the outcome of his visit to Washington his talks with the U.S. President, Mr. Ronald Reagan and other leaders positive in many respects. The U.S. in Mr. Gandhi's view, sees a bigger role for India in the region than what was conceded in the past. In addition, he discerns a greater willingness on the part ofWashington to take into account India's sensitivities on the consequence of a nuclear Pakistan and re-fashion policies accordingly.

Mr. Gandhi is hopeful of a 'new phase' of help in the sphere of defence. It was so far con- fined to the transfer of high technology, but now 'we have approached them for certain other items which are not available from other sources'.

Mr Gandhi made these points in his talk with the correspondents, who accompanied him on his visit to Canada (for the Commonwealth Summit) and the U.S. on board the Air India plane during the return journey. The same was the general thrust of his remarks during a brief press conference at the airport on his arrival here.

The visit was the culmination of the process that began some three months ago. Learning of Mr Gandhi's plans to visit Vancouver for the Commonwealth Summit, Mr. Reagan wrote to him suggesting a visit to Washington for talks over lunch at the White House, fsiew Delhi res- ponded positively and soon after, details were worked out through diplomatic channels. The preparatory work continued till the last moment.

The contrast in, and similarities of, their per-sonalities were evident as they stood, side by side, on the fringe of the rear lawn of the White House, for formal statements after their talks on October 20. Mr. Reagan was only sHghtly tatter, but the age gap—Mr. Reagan's 74 years and Mr. Gandni's 43—showed up clearly. In their carefully-drafted statements, both were clear and categorical, which did not necessarily mean a total identity of perceptions on different

issues but which did indicate a personal rap- port. The talks over the lunch, after the two pre- ceding rounds—one without and the other with aides—were marked by jovial exchanges. The jokes they narrated may not have been particularly significant but were in- dicative of the relaxed atmosphere in which the two sides exchanged their views on a good number of subjects, some very ticklish.

Defence cooperation: The defence coopera- tion programme began some months ago and the U. 5. Ambassador to India, Mr. Gunther Dean made a pointed reference to it in his address to a FICCI luncheon meeting here a few days before Mr. Gandhi left for Vancouver. It will not be correct, therefore, to link these plans with the outcome of the Washington talks. The Rajiv-Reagan meeting, however, did confirm the processes and the trends that were set in motion earlier. The U. S. side would certainly have liked to turn the discussion on to its pet theory of re- solving the problem created by Pakistan's nuclear ambitions—like a non-nuclear pro- liferation arrangement between India and Pakistan — but appeared to have given up the idea. It perhaps, sensed the strong Indian views on the subject. The visit will, certainly, be followed by con- crete follow-up steps in various spheres includ- ingdefence. This, however, will not affect, even slightly, the cooperation between India and the Soviet Union.

Shultz in Moscow

The U.S. Secretary of State, Mr. George Shultz arrived in the fog-bund Soviet capital by train today and headed for talks with the Foreign Minister, Mr. Shevardnadze on arms control and superpower relations. Mr. Shultz was met by the Deputy Foreign Ministers, Mr. Yuli Vorontsov and Mr. Alexand- er Bessmertnykh, the official Soviet news agency Tass reported. He is to meet the Soviet er, Mr. Mikhail Gorbachev, tomorrow.

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