Indian Prime Minister Mrs. Indira Gandhi has been talking with the President of Afghanistan, Mohammad?
Indian Prime Minister Mrs. Indira Gandhi has been talking with the President of Afghanistan, Mohammad Daoud, about the situation on the Indian subcontinent and international affairs in general.
SYNOPSIS: Mrs. Gandhi arrived on Sunday (July 4) for her four-day official visit to be greeted by President Daoud at the capital, Kabul. She flew in from East Berlin after a visit to East Germany. Her talks were to include a broad range of bilateral, regional and international issues. It was Mrs. Ghandi's first visit to Afghanistan -- on Indian's northern border -- for seven years.
Mrs. Gandhi's visit comes a month after a meeting in Afghanistan between President Daoud and Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto of Pakistan one of India's sub-continent opponents. That meeting was expected to be discussed between Mrs. Gandhi and the Afghan leader. According to diplomatic sources, he was to assure Mrs. Gandhi that his country's closer links with Pakistan would not be at the expense of Afghanistan's long-standing friendship with India. It was only 14 months ago that Indian and Pakistan resumed diplomatic relations after the Bangladesh war.
Afghan officials regard Mrs. Gandhi's visit as part of routine bilateral consultations between two friendly countries. India has a number of military advisors there, and defence co-operation was a possible item on the agenda, according to the same sources in the Afghan capital. Meanwhile, Afghanistan's recent tentative steps towards normal relations with Pakistan, its closest Moslem neighbour were being regarded with interest by Indian diplomatic observers.