In India, President Hafez al-Assad of Syria has discussed the recent Israeli incursion into Lebanon and other Middle East topics with Indian Prime Minister Morarji Desai.
SV NEW DELHI: Syrian President Hafez al-Assad laying wreath at Gandhi Memorial. (3 SHOTS)
SV: President Assad plants sapling.
SV & GV INTERIOR: At president House, Indian Prime Minister Morarji Desai, President Assad and officials at table. (3 SHOTS)
SV ZOOM OUT: Premier Desai and President Assad seated on divan and talking.
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Background: In India, President Hafez al-Assad of Syria has discussed the recent Israeli incursion into Lebanon and other Middle East topics with Indian Prime Minister Morarji Desai.
SYNOPSIS: This was the second day of the visit the Syrian President is making to India with his wife. They went to Raj Ghat in New Delhi, where the President placed a wreath at the memorial of the former Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi. His visit came only weeks after busy pilgrimage to this spot to commemorate the thirtieth anniversary of the Mahatma's assassination. Wreath-laying here is a standard feature of visits of foreign dignitaries.
From the memorial, President Assad and his entourage went to a nearby spot in the Raj Ghat. Here the President planted a sapling as a gesture for peace, a gesture strongly symbolic for a national leader from one of the world's persistent areas of turbulence -- the Middle East. President Assad is one of the hard-line Arab heads of state who have opposed the peace initiatives that Egyptian President Anwar Sadat launched with Israel late last year.
From Raj Ghat, the President had driven in a motorcade to President's House for his talks with Prime Minister Desai and other members of the Indian Cabinet.
For Mr. Desai, the talks were a respite in his task of grappling with a multitude of problems, including a national disaster-a tornado reported to have killed more than 150 people in the eastern state of Orissa only a few days before.