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When Fidel Castro gave a bear hug to a surprised Indira Gandhi

At that moment the whole hall broke into huge applause, Gandhi was momentarily left flushed in the face

By: IANS | New Delhi | Updated: November 26, 2016 7:35 pm
fidel castro, indira gandhi, castro meeting indira gandhi, fidel castro hugs indira gandhi, fidel castro indira gandhi video, fidel castro dead, cuba, fidel castro death Cuban leader Fidel Castro meets Indian PM Indira Gandhi. File photo

Fidel Castro, the iconic Cuban revolutionary leader who died on Saturday, will be remembered in India for his close association with the Nehru-Gandhi family and especially his ‘sisterly’ ties with former Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi – which he sealed with a bear hug during the Non-Aligned Summit in New Delhi in 1983. At the inauguration of the Seventh Non-Aligned Summit in March 1983 at Vigyan Bhavan, that was attended by a record number of over 100 heads of state and government, Castro, who headed the Cuban delegation, announced that, as host of the previous summit in Havana in 1979, he was happy and proud to pass the conference gavel to his ‘sister’ Indira Gandhi.

Both then rose from behind the podium, watched by several hundred delegates, that included observers of leading countries who were not members of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), and a huge assembly of mediapersons.

As both came to face each other, Gandhi expectantly extended her arm to receive the big wooden gavel. But Castro did not reciprocate. Gandhi, a trifle taken aback, extended her arm a second time, but Castro again failed to respond but kept smiling mysteriously.

As a slightly embarrassed Gandhi proferred her hand a trifle hesitatingly a third time, the giant Castro pulled a surprised Gandhi to him and gave her a giant bear hug in full view of the hall, before parting with the gavel.

The whole hall broke into huge applause, Gandhi was momentarily left flushed in the face, but the bear hug moment was recorded by all for posterity.

That was Castro’s last visit to India.

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  1. O
    Outraged Indian
    Nov 26, 2016 at 3:24 pm
    Hard to believe that we were once part of this losers
    1. D
      Nov 26, 2016 at 10:29 am
      This commie destro Cuba. All communists do that. Tinpot socialists like Kejri must be nipped in the bud. The good thong is that corrupt Kejri has been completely exposed after demonetization. Jai Hind...
      1. D
        Damaru Prasad
        Nov 26, 2016 at 1:28 pm
        Bear hug is nothing new to a witch.
        1. Surendran Kr
          Nov 26, 2016 at 7:08 pm
          This article helps us to reminisce our fearless foreign policy stance in the past. We had a past when we could call a spade a spade. Suez war, Vietnam and Cuba were the example of India's principled approach.
          1. A
            Nov 27, 2016 at 5:03 pm
            think before you go blindly in favour of someone to blame other, it may quite simply be a brotherly affection, but the fact that he bedded 3500 women in life, may give you reasons to think otherwise
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