INTRODUCTION: The Laotian leader, Prince souphanouvong, arrived in New Delhi on Thursday (13 January) at the start of an eight-day official visit to India.
GV EXTERIOR: flags of India and Laos flying at New Delhi airport, India.
SVs: Laotian President Souphanouvong down steps of aircraft and greeted by (in order) Indian President Fakhruddin ali Ahmed, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and Foreign Minister Chavan, ZOOM INTO MV Souphanouvong and Gandhi together. (2 shots)
SV PAN: newsmen
LV: Souphanouvong inspecting guard of honour to Band music.
SCU: Souphanouvong addressing gathering (in Laotian) with Mrs. Gandhi and others listening. (2 shots)
SV: Souphanouvong stepping off dais with Chavan and entering reception tent.
SV INTERIOR: Souphanouvong presented with bouquet by girl.
GV EXTERIOR: Presidential palace.
SVs INTERIOR: Gandhi and Souphanouvong seated talking. (2 shots)
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: INTRODUCTION: The Laotian leader, Prince souphanouvong, arrived in New Delhi on Thursday (13 January) at the start of an eight-day official visit to India.
SYNOPSIS: It was the first time Prince Souphanouvong had been on an overseas visit since he assumed the presidency of Laos in December, 1975. He was greeted at the airport by Indian President Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed, Prime Minister, Mrs. Indira Gandhi and the Foreign Minister Yeshwantrao Chavan. In welcoming Prince Souphanouvong, President Ahmed said his visit was a sign that peace and stability had returned to Laos.
Prince Souphanouvong led the military and political struggle of the pro-communist Pathet Lao forces for more than 20 years before becoming President.
After the official welcome at the airport, the Laotian leader and Mrs. Gandhi were due to have talks on international affairs. The Prince led the newly-founded Pathet Lao in armed attacks against the government from 1952, but finally joined a coalition government headed by Prince Souvanna Phouma in 1957. However, the partnership lasted only one year and Prince Souphanouvong returned to armed struggle against the Laotian government.
Even before a cease fire in 1973 ended the civil war in Laos, it was estimated that the Pathet Lao controlled two-thirds of the country. Prince Souphanouvong's appointment as president ended 700 years of monarchy in Laos.
In their talks at the President's House, Mrs. Gandhi and Prince Souphanouvong discussed bilateral relations and the international situation particularly in south-east Asia.