Dr. Gustav Husak, the General-Secretary of Czechoslovakia's Communist Party, arrived in New Delhi on Monday?
Dr. Gustav Husak, the General-Secretary of Czechoslovakia's Communist Party, arrived in New Delhi on Monday (3 December) for week-long visit to India. It is his first official visit to a non-Communist country.
Before the Party leader left Prague for India, the Communist Party newspaper in Czechoslovakia, Rude Pravo, carried a front-page article from its New Delhi correspondent stating the visit would give a boost to mutual cooperation between the two nations. It added the visit would have "not only bilateral but also a wide international political importance."
Mrs. Indira Gandhi was at the airport to welcome the Czech leader, and after a ceremonial reception Dr. Husak drove to the Presidential Palace, where he is staying during his visit.
Dr. Husak's visit bears close similarities to the visit Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev made to India last week. His agenda is virtually a carboncopy -- two rounds of talks with Mrs. Gandhi before signing a joint economic and political declaration.
Western observes see the visit as an indication of the strengthening of ties between India and the East European Communist bloc. Informed sources in Prague see the visit as carrying a certain amount of prestige, and Dr. Husak, who came to power in 1969, after the Dubcek government had been deposed, is apparently pleased at the Indian Government's invitation.
On Monday, the two leaders held their fist round of talks, and after further talks on Tuesday (4 December) it was announced that Czechoslovakia had agreed to loan India 800 million rupees (43 million sterling). Czechoslovakia also agreed to increase supplied of newsprint and rolled steel, two products India desperately needs.
On the political front, it is believed that the joint declaration will make reference to India's growing ties with Eastern Europe, and will stress both countries' opposition to the interference by any nation in the affairs of another.