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Digital Archive International History Declassified

July 21, 1988

CIPHERED TELEGRAM NO. 181, EMBASSY OF HUNGARY IN INDIA TO THE HUNGARIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY

This document was made possible with support from the Carnegie Corporation

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    Short report on a visit to Moscow by Indian President Venkataraman. He asked for more military support from the Soviet Union to counterbalance Pakistan's nuclear weapons program. There were disagreements about the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
    "Ciphered Telegram No. 181, Embassy of Hungary in India to the Hungarian Foreign Ministry," July 21, 1988, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Hungarian National Archives (Magyar Országos Levéltár, MOL). XIX-J-1-j India, 1988, 46. doboz, 60-40, 00750/3/1988. Obtained and translated for NPIHP by Balazs Szalontai. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/111964
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According to the information provided by a Soviet political counselor, President Venkataraman's visit in Moscow exceeded the protocol framework for which the Soviet side had been prepared. During the discussions, the Indian president laid stress upon the political issues, particularly Pakistan and Afghanistan. He castigated the Pakistani leadership's nuclear weapon program in an extremely sharp tone, and with regard to this issue, he emphasized the threat posed to India. He asked the Soviet Union to provide India with the most advanced military technology, with special respect to airborne warning facilities. He announced [India's] interest in purchasing three additional nuclear-powered submarines [emphasis in the original]. The Soviet side promised to study the requests. Venkataraman confirmed their commitment to the current Afghan leadership. He expounded that India was ready to support the Afghan government “by all means.” The Soviet side attributed political importance to the fact that the Indian president called Afghanistan an ally.

Concerning the questions of disarmament, there were disagreements [between Venkataraman and his hosts] over the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The Soviet side disapproved of the proposal that the Indian premier had presented in the U.N., according to which the current treaty should be replaced by a new one after 1995. They emphasized that the Soviet Union considered it necessary to prolong the current Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Concerning Comrade Gorbachev's visit, which is scheduled for November [emphasis in the original], the Indian president agreed in principle with the idea that the agreement on the establishment of an international space research center in Delhi should be signed during the visit.

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