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Digital Archive International History Declassified

December 18, 1986

REGARDING THE RESULTS OF THE VISIT OF MIKHAIL GORBACHEV TO INDIA

This document was made possible with support from the Carnegie Corporation

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    This document reports on the visit by Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev to India in 1986. The report recounts an ever-deepening relationship between India and the Soviet Union. One of the main reasons for the Indian position is the strong support for Pakistan by the US, the delivery of modern weaponry to this country together with concerns that Pakistan will soon develop nuclear weapons. Gandhi also accuses Pakistan of training Sikh terrorists on its territory. The Soviet side intends to further intensify its relations with India and to upgrade them by treating India as a full-fledged world power. The aim is to establish a long-term special relationship with India based on common principles in the foreign arena and close collaboration in all other fields.
    "Regarding the Results of the Visit of Mikhail Gorbachev to India," December 18, 1986, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, SAPMO-BArch, DY 30/13941. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/122489
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12.18.1986

Confidential

Regarding the results of the visit of Mikhail Gorbachev to India

[handwritten signature on top left margin of page]

The principal assessment of this important event is presented in the communication on the meeting of the Politburo of Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. The most important results of the negotiations with Rajiv Gandhi have also been reflected in the joint Soviet-Indian documents and at the press conference in Delhi. In addition, we would like to announce the following:

We have prepared ourselves carefully for this visit, assuming that it should become a new significant action of great global political resonance, an important step in the implementation of the foreign policy strategy of the CPSU elaborated by the XXVII Party Congress.

One of the main objectives of the visit was to advance and develop the peace initiatives of the Soviet Union and the countries of the socialist community, especially in the Asian region, and to strengthen the Soviet-Indian cooperation in the struggle for the elimination of the nuclear threat. Taking into account the current situation in the world, the nature of Soviet-Indian relations, India's important role in the Non-Aligned Movement and in the Group of Six, the Delhi negotiations aimed to activate the Indian leadership and encourage more exact steps in support of the peace initiatives of the socialist community to make proper use of India's potential in the struggle for peace and disarmament. The goal was to bring the views of this country on specific questions of strengthening international security closer to our views. And in order achieve this goal we need to take an active position on the fundamental problems of the present from the anti-imperialist point of view.

We were aware that the new leadership of India under Rajiv Gandhi, although in power for more than two years, is still seeking its place and its politics both in the country and in the international arena and that this is a very difficult process. On this basis, the Soviet leadership has recently worked intensively with the Indian leadership and with Rajiv Gandhi himself to further shape India's independent and peace-loving policies.

The face-to-face talks with Rajiv Gandhi in Delhi (they lasted altogether more than 10 hours and were of extremely open and trusting character) showed that the new political thinking in international politics makes sense to him and impresses him. He is convinced of the sincerity of our theses that peaceful coexistence must become the universal principle of interstate relations, that the maintenance and consolidation of peace is the highest goal of the foreign policy of the Soviet Union. Judging by the conversations, the Indian leader is deeply impressed by the fundamental transformations taking place in all areas of Soviet society. He believes that the Soviet Union can achieve a qualitatively new level of economic development and a technological breakthrough in the years to come, and is prepared to use this insight as the basis of India's relations with the Soviet Union.

All of this is decisive for the fact that Rajiv Gandhi has visibly turned to the Soviet Union and in a certain way freed himself from illusions about the merits of India's course of rapprochement with the USA and other Western countries, which he fallowed during some time after coming to power.

The emerging evolution in the views of Rajiv Gandhi also explains the atmosphere of extraordinary goodwill and cordiality throughout the visit, which can be seen as a turning point in the development of bilateral relations

The re-evaluation of India's foreign policy priorities that initiated by Rajiv Gandhi is becoming increasingly effective in practice. His statements testify to his understanding of the growing importance of Soviet-Indian cooperation for strengthening political independence, security, economic autonomy and progress in India.

The interest in cooperation with the Soviet Union is to some extent caused by the fact that the Indian leadership is counting on our support in overcoming the serious domestic, regional and international difficulties with which it is confronted.

The negotiations with Rajiv Gandhi and the other leading Indian representatives have also shown that they are concerned about the continuing threat to India's security from the outside. Above all, this applies to the policies of the Pakistani leadership and the USA standing behind it, which are strengthening the supply of state-of-the-art weapons to Pakistan. The Indians are particularly concerned that Islamabad could possibly acquire nuclear weapons, which, according to Rajiv Gandhi, cannot be ruled out in the near future. The Indian leadership is concerned about China's approach to the problem of border management with India and the strengthening of US and Western positions in Sri Lanka, as the ethnic conflict in that country remains unresolved. The tensions are continuing the Punjab, in which the secret services of Pakistan and the USA are involved. The Indian side has reliable information that extremist Sikhs are being trained on Pakistani territory and are smuggled into India, committing acts of terrorism against politicians and the population.

In the documents jointly adopted in Delhi and in Rajiv Gandhi's public speeches during the visit, the Indian side went even further regarding support for our peace initiatives, including those for the Asia-Pacific region, much further than in the past, and advocated the creation of a comprehensive system of international security and against the "strategic defense initiative".

The "Delhi Declaration on the Principles of a World without Nuclear Weapons and Violence" has already found broad international support. We believe that its influence on public opinion in the world will increase even more, since it contains principles and ideas of the international relations of the future. It opens up new great possibilities for deepening the Soviet-Indian cooperation on the international arena, for activating the efforts of the peace-loving forces in the struggle for the recovery of the political climate in the world, especially against the nuclear threat.

The similarity of positions and approaches to the development of bilateral relations and the current foreign policy of the two major world states, which belong to different social systems, that emerged during the Delhi Summits is a unique phenomenon, a prime example of tomorrow's intergovernmental relations, a vivid example of the viability of the policy of peaceful coexistence and a convincing example of such a policy.

We believe that the success of the visit is the result of the Soviet leadership's consistent policy of equality, respect for autonomy, independence and national dignity of India, its independently determined way towards socialism, our approach to cooperation with that country, taking into account mutual benefit and legitimate interests.

In view of this, it is important not to miss the opportune moment and to increase the willingness of the Indian leadership to expand cooperation with the Soviet Union and the countries of the socialist community as a whole. At the same time, we are fully aware of the complicated nature of this task. There are many opponents, both in India and outside its borders, of the further consolidation of the Soviet-Indian friendly relations.

The new situation naturally also requires new unusual solutions and methods on our part with regard to the development of relations with India in the spirit of today's demands, the creation of such a mechanism of cooperation which ensures the reliable realization of the possibilities which have come to light and which makes this cooperation a real yardstick for relations between a socialist state and a developing country, between states with different social systems.

For our part, we considered it necessary to elaborate a set of measures for this purpose for further deepening of the Soviet-Indian friendly relations in the fields of trade, economy, scientific and technical cooperation, defense, culture and other fields for the next years and further perspective.

In the political field we want to extend and strengthen the intensity of the political dialogue with India at all levels and by all means, deepen the cooperation with the country in the international arena, contribute to the consolidation and development of the positive aspects of India's foreign policy and the development of the understanding of the Indians that the Soviet Union, unlike the USA and other Western countries, is shaping its relations with India as a world power, that it is deeply interested in the unity and territorial integrity of India, in increasing its international weight and reputation.

We consider it important to popularize the principles of the Declaration of Delhi, to strive for them to be included in documents of the UN and other international bodies, in common bilateral documents, or to refer to them.

We will consolidate fraternal relations with the Communist Party of India and work towards the expansion of relations with the Communist Party of India (Marxists) on the basis of non-interference in their relations with each other, and we will maintain our principled approach to the problem of the unity of the communist movement. We will continue to develop the contacts with the Indian National Congress(I).

We intend to take certain steps towards a substantial extension of the scope of scientific and technological cooperation with India (the Indian leadership and especially Rajiv Gandhi attach primary importance to this issue), to raise its level, to introduce new forms of joint research with a focus on the results in production. We want to meet the wishes of the Indians as far as possible, that we also use their scientific-technical achievements.

We will attach particular importance to the search for new forms of economic and technical cooperation with India, particularly in the field of production cooperation, and will continue to strengthen India's defense potential.

In order to achieve the planned increase in the volume of Soviet-Indian trade on a strictly balanced basis, we intend to substantially change the structure of Soviet exports to India, maximizing the share of machinery and equipment.

It also provides for various measures to broaden relations with India in the field of culture, education, sport and tourism, to strengthen contacts at the level of social organizations, to improve our information and propaganda work towards India.

The Soviet leadership assumes that the qualitatively new level of Soviet-Indian relations and the growing interaction of the USSR and the socialist countries with India correspond to the long-term strategic interests of the entire socialist community. This interaction is global in character and has great significance in the context of both Asian and world politics, particularly in the struggle for peace and disarmament, against the "strategic defense initiative" and American neo-globalism.

For our part, we will be ready to continue to coordinate fully with our brother countries our further steps in developing relations with India, including the possible establishment of multi-lateral cooperation with India in the framework of the CMEA.