With India and the Soviet Union adopting fairly divergent positions, the talks between the visiting Soviet foreign minister, Andrei Gromyko, and the Indian government have failed to throw up a solution to the Afghanistan question. India wants the Soviet Union to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan so that the tension in India’s neighbourhood is defused. However, Gromyko has, during the two days of discussion, given no indication so far of a time frame for a Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan. This is the first time in 25 years that the two countries have clearly differed on a major international question, although the two delegations are still making efforts to arrive at a coordinated view of the strategic threat to the region.
Northeast Oil Crisis
Petroleum and chemicals minister, P C Sethi, said that once the situation in Assam returned to normal, the shortage of petrol and petroleum products would end in a month. Because of the “unfortunate situation” in that state, forcing the closure of Barauni, Gauhati and Bongaigaon refineries fed by crude from Assam, the northeastern region and north Bengal were virtually starved of petroleum products. The stock there would hardly suffice for three days, he said at a news conference.
No Autonomy For AIR
There will be no legislation to give autonomy to All India Radio and Doordarshan. The new government is convinced that the media already have functional freedom to a “large extent”. Information and broadcasting minister, Vasant Sathe has flagged the question, should Akashvani and Doordarshan have functional autonomy or absolute, satutory autonomy? His said there was no case for absolute autonomy. Sathe ruled out the revival of the Janata government’s Prasar Bharati Bill, which lapsed with the dissolution of the Lok Sabha.
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