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On the 25th Anniversary of Her Country's Independence, India's Prime Minister Has Some Harsh Words for U.S. but Wants to Restore Good Relations by Michael Gorkin agreed to be our ally. And while we have also invested some $10 billion in "non-aligned" India (almost all of it economic aid), we have consistently been more critical of India, and we have usually looked the other way when Pakistan pointed its American-supplied guns in India's direction. New nation of Bangladesh This was perhaps never more evident than last December, when India and Pakistan got embroiled in their fourth war in 25 years--a war that saw East Pakistan emerge, with India's assistance, as the independent country of Bangladesh. During the 14-day conflict, and for several months preceding it, the U.S. gave moral support to Pakistan, even though we claimed publicly to be neutral. (The "Anderson Papers," it will be recalled, made this embarrassingly clear.) As a result, Indian-American relations plummeted to a new low--in fact, to the point where the newly retired American Ambassador here, Kenneth Keating, had to be accompanied by a 24-hour armed guard. As might be expected, the main beneficiary of all this bad feeling between the U.S. and India is the Soviet Union, which, for the past few years has steadily increased its strength on the subcontinent. At this point they are now India's main arms supplier, having pumped in some $1.8 billion since 1965. ("We pay for all of our arms from the Soviet Union, and this in no way affects our status of 'non-alignment,'" counters Mrs. Gandhi.) Moreover, in August, 1971, India and the Soviet Union signed a 20-year Treaty of Peace, Friendship and Cooperation--which, though not a mutual-defense pact, nonetheless has sent ;he shivers up some American spines. As Kenneth Keating expressed it, with diplomatic calm: "Mrs. Gandhi will perhaps tell you that the Treaty in no way affects India's status of 'non-alignment' [she did] but for the American mind, at least, it is difficult to imagine the Treaty having no effect, or making no changes, isn't it?" Mrs. Gandhi gains in power Such worries notwithstanding, it is probably too soon to say whether the Soviet Union has won a permanent place for itself in India, or whether the U.S. has lost the world's second most populous country as a friend. But what is certain is that much will depend on India's popular and powerful Mrs. Gandhi. At 54, she has been India's Prime Minister for six years; yet, it wasn't until her overwhelming success in last year's elections, followed by the victory over Pakistan in December, that she became India's undisputed leader. Today, in fact, many observers feel that no leader in India's recent history--not even her father, Jawaharlal Nehru, who was Prime Minister from 1947 until he died in 1964--has had as much power as the strong-willed, brilliant, attractive Mrs. Gandhi. In a way, Indira Priyadarshini ("dearly beloved") Gandhi has been grooming for this position ever since she was a child living in her grandfather's mansion in northern India. Both her grandfather and father were leaders in India's struggle for independence, and Indjra was often present when British officers came to cart them off for interrogation and prison--or, as her father called it, his continued Gary and Janice Sender/and, Peace Corps couple, in village 100 miles from Bombay. He's an agriculturist, she a.nutri- tionist. Corps had over 500 in '68-77, how ;s down to 284. A characteristic street scene in New Delhi. The cow is of course a holy animal in India and those not used as beasts of burden or for milking are permitted to wander freely. Peace Corpsmen feel there is great apathy and resistance to change, but 12,000 Indians study in the U.S.