Indian Prime Minister Morarji Desai has arrived in the Soviet Union for a six-day visit.?
Indian Prime Minister Morarji Desai has arrived in the Soviet Union for a six-day visit. Before his election victory earlier this year, Soviet commentators had called Mr. Desai a "reactionary", but his welcome at Moscow on Friday (21 October) indicated that Soviet leaders had softened their appraisal of India's new leader.
SYNOPSIS: Soviet leaders were waiting to greet Mr. Desai when he flew in to Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport. Among them were President Leonid Brezhnev and Premier Alexei Kosygin.
There were none of the bear hugs which Kremlin leaders often give to foreign leaders, although Moscow reports said Mr. Desai was "warmly greeted". Before the Indian elections in March, the Soviet Union had publicly supported Mrs. Gandhi. Under her rule, India had become one of the Soviet Union's staunchest third world allies.
Thousands of Muscovite workers were brought to the airport to wave Soviet and Indian flags. Reuters News Agency said this top-level welcome demonstrated Moscow's desire to consolidate its relations with the new Indian Government, and maintain the close links established between the two countries over the past decade.
The two leaders were to hold talks on joint political and economic questions, but later, at a welcoming banquet for Mr. Desai, Mr. Brezhnev spoke about the Soviet-United States strategic arms limitation talks.
He was hopeful a new agreement would be reached without what he called "undue delays".