PM, Brezhnev agree
Prime Minister Indira Gandhi described the peace proposals made by Soviet President Leonid Brezhnev regarding the Gulf War as “constructive and worthy of careful consideration”. In identical statements on the outcome of Brezhnev’s visit to both Houses of Parliament, Mrs Gandhi said that India had shared its concern “frankly with our Soviet friends” on the growing tension in South-West Asia. Stressing that outside forces were “exploiting the tension in our region to their advantage”, the PM said that the recent years had seen a revival of efforts by certain non-littoral great powers to increase or consolidate their presence in the Indian Ocean Region. Mrs Gandhi said that both the sides had discussed several questions, “ especially those of direct concern to our countries” . The discussion on international relations had covered the world situation in general and “the affairs in our region in some detail.”
Scientific circles are puzzled over apparently contradictory statements by the Defence Minister on an allegedly sabotaged top-priority defence project, in the Rajya Sabha on the same day—November 17, 1980. Several MPs, including one belonging to the Congress (I), submitted questions after a report on the sabotage of a defence project to develop infra-red detectors appeared in this newspaper on November 2. Two Indian scientists working in the US were invited in 1972 to work on the project, which, if allowed to be completed, would have made India independent in IR detector technology.
King Birendra announced the introduction of adult franchise in all future elections in Nepal. In a proclamation before a rally in Kathmandu, the king announced far-reaching changes in the 18-year-old constitution of the partyless panchayat system, which included the election of the Prime Minister by the national legislature. Provision has also been made for the setting up of a co-ordination council to maintain better co-ordination between the executive, legislative and judicial functions and abolishing “back to the village” national campaign. The next legislature will have a five-year term.