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    In India, President Hafez al-Asaad of Syria visited an Atomic Research Centre on Saturday (22 April).

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    In India, President Hafez al-Asaad of Syria visited an Atomic Research Centre on Saturday (22 April).

    SYNOPSIS: President Assad's visit to the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre in Bombay took place on the last day of his six-day visit to India. According to Reuter reports, his visit has been aimed at securing India's support for the Arab world's struggle against what president Assad called Israeli intransigence in the Middle East.

    The British newspaper, The Financial Times, has reported speculation that the Syrian government may seek Indian assistance in the development of nuclear weapons. President Assad recently went on record as telling reporters in Damascus that if it were proven that Israel possessed atomic weapons Syria would seek to have them too. Much of his visit to India has been taken up by discussions with Indian officials on the latest situation in the Middle East. At a welcoming banquet on his arrival in India last week, President Assad received confirmation from India's President Neelam Sanjiva Reddy that his country would continue its support for the Arab cause.

    This support was reiterated in a final joint communique at the end of President Assad's visit. The communique called for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state and said that the current situation in the Middle East had been aggravated by blatant Israeli aggression against the sovereignty of Lebanon. It also expressed satisfaction at the development of closer political, economic and scientific ties between India and Syria, and said that India had agreed to provide professional and technical assistance to Syria.

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