PM And The Soviets
The joint declaration signed by Soviet President Leonid Brezhnev and Prime Minister Morarji Desai confirmed the wide range of agreement and understanding reached as a result of Desai’s visit to the Soviet Union and outlined plans for continued economic assistance and cooperation. Some of the points were elaborated further by Desai at a news conference. The main theme that Desai struck during the visit was reflected in the statement that “the two sides note that Indo-Soviet friendship has stood the test of time: It is not subject to transient consideration…”.
He elaborated on it further by making the point that both sides now appreciated the fact that the friendship was abiding and did not depend on who actually headed the government in either country. This is particularly significant because it does away with the distinction previously made by Soviet spokesmen and their agents in India between so-called “progressive” and “reactionary” forces with Desai figuring prominently in the latter list. It will be interesting to see how CPI adjusts to this clarification.
The Shah Commission heard an astounding narration of how government-owned news media – All India Radio and TV – and the “independent” news agency Samachar were blatantly used to boost Congress election prospects early this year. At the hearings which resumed after a 22-day gap, a string of witnesses described how, on instructions from above, all norms of fairplay and objectivity were cast to the winds. In fact the editor of Samachar went so far as to state that “code of ethics came to mean giving the Congress greater publicity”.
The Transval attorney-general ordered a judicial inquiry into the death in prison of the black leader, Steve Biko. A special court would sit on October 28 but the probe would effectively start on November.