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Indira desires better Indo-US ties, Kissinger told Ford

world Updated: Dec 22, 2007 11:15 IST

In spite of her "almost pathological need" to criticise America, former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi desired to see an improvement in Indo-US relations on a "more equal" basis, then Secretary of State Henry Kissinger had told President Gerald Ford in 1974.

"I met this morning in the royal splendour of the former British Viceroy's palace in New Delhi with Prime Minister Gandhi in private and with Foreign Minister (YB) Chavan for a brief word in private," Kissinger said in a memorandum put up for the President by his National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft, recently-released State Department documents show.

The talks were "frank but very warm" and it was evident that "they are very pleased by the visit and our recognition of India as an important country in the world and the predominant power in the sub-continent," said the former top official of Richard Nixon and Ford Administrations.

"Despite Mrs Gandhi's almost pathological need to criticise the United States, she, too, desires to see relations between us improve on this new and more equal basis," Kissinger had wanted to be conveyed to the President of his meeting with Gandhi in October 1974.

He said he had raised the concerns over India's nuclear policy, telling Gandhi "very frankly" that "their nuclear explosion was a bomb no matter how India described it" and her undertaking not to produce nuclear weapons did not mean the next government would not do so.

Kissinger told Gandhi that the US was not interested in "recriminations" but in how to prevent further proliferation. "By our second meeting, she seemed to have reflected on this and asked if we had any specific proposals. I have asked (then Ambassador Daniel P) Moynihan to follow up this possible opening with her," he said.