October 14, 1981, forty years ago: PM-Akali talks

Prime Minister Indira Gandhi will meet with the Akali delegation on October 16. Besides the Akalis, Ms. Gandhi will also meet with key Hindu leaders from the Punjab before she leaves for a 10-day overseas tour. The Prime Minister’s secretariat is busy organizing its meeting with Akali leaders. Ms Gandhi does not depend on the advice of Interior Minister Zail Singh or Punjab CM Darbara Singh. While Zail Singh was in favor of a dialogue with the Akalis, Darbara Singh was not very enthusiastic about it. Ms. Gandhi knows the views of these two leaders. She can therefore seek advice from Swaran Singh, former Minister of Foreign Affairs, to resolve the entanglement in the Punjab. It is possible that Hindu leaders will be invited either on October 16 or earlier. This is deemed necessary, especially after the assassination of Lala Jagat Narain, which had generated a lot of tension in the state.

Evasive zia

Pakistan does not appear to have decided yet what to do with the five hijackers who forced an Indian Airlines Boeing to land in Lahore two weeks ago. In an impromptu interview with reporters after a function in Rawalpindi, President Zia-ul Haq avoided responding directly to a question about Islamabad’s decision on India’s demand for the return of the hijackers. The decision would be made later, officially, said the general. Indian Ambassador Natwar Singh made a formal request for the return of the hijackers led by Gajendra Singh from Dal Khalsa within hours of their arrest in Lahore on September 30 by Pakistani commandos.

Credit for Ghana

India will provide Ghana with credit assistance of Rs 50 million according to one of the five agreements signed between the two countries to strengthen bilateral cooperation in the economic, commercial, scientific and cultural fields.