The Indian government today said the United States is hampering efforts to get the Soviets to withdraw their troops from Afghanistan by sending U.S. ships into the Indian Ocean and adding military facilities in the region.
The Indian statement came as Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko ended a three-day visit here without giving any hint of when the Soviet Union might withdraw the troops, believed to number nearly 100,000.
When asked whether the Soviets might leave Afghanistan as a result of Gromyko's talks with Indian officials the spokesman for the Ministry of External Affairs, J. N. Dixit, said Moscow's military intervention cannot be looked at alone.
"Many things which are happening in the world impinge on the situation in Afghanistan," he said.
Dixit cited as examples reports that the United States has received permission to use military facilities around the Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf Region, the strengthening of the U.S. base in Diego Garcia, an island in the Indian Ocean, "a massive buildup" of U.S. naval forces in the Indian Ocean, and newspaper reports that "certain countries are openly saying" they are training Afghan rebel fighters. "Yesterday Egypt disclosed it was providing such training.
"They are developments which do not necessarily lead to optimum conditions" for the withdrawal of Soviet forces from Afghanistan, he said.
The government spokesman thus placed India even more firmly on the side of those who say Washington is at least as much to blame as Moscow for the tensions that have gripped the region since December, when the Soviet Union sent troops in great force into Afghanistan and installed its own man. Babrak Karmal, as president of the country.
Dixit did not mention any Soviet actions that have aggravated tension in the area while detailing the U.S. moves.
He did, however, say "India does not agree with the presence of foreign troops in any country."
That was the position Prime Minister Indira Gandhi pressed upon Gromyko Tuesday in their first face-to-face meeting since she regained control of this government in elections a month ago.,
From all indications, she was unable to persuade Gromyko of the Indian point of view.
"The Soviet Union has not disagreed with us about the desirability of its troops going back," said Dixit. But he added, there are Some differences in perception of how this objective should be achieved."
Gromyko flew off to Moscow this morning after meeting with Gandhi for half an hour.
In his briefing this afternoon, Dixit was asked to identify any concrete achievements from the talks between the Indian and Soviet leaders. He said the talks were held "in an atmosphere of mutual trust and cordiality," that both sides "expressed satisfaction," and the meetings were held "to strengthen mutual understanding."
But there was no reference in today's joint Indo-Soviet statement to Soviet troop withdrawals or to the need to defuse tension in the region.
When Dixit was pushed further on the specific question of Soviet withdrawals, he launched into his list of U.S. actions that he said have increased tensions. His major points:
Reports that the United States has gotten permission to use military facilities in Kenya on the western shore of the Indian Ocean, the Somalia on the Horn of Africa, and in Oman on the entrance to the Persian Gulf.
"Fairly hard intelligence" that there has been "a quantum jump in the military improvements" at the small U.S. air and naval base on the island of Diego Garcia.
Newspaper reports that some countries, which he did not name, are training Afghan rebels to fight the Babrak government.
A "massive buildup" of U.S. forces in the Indian Ocean since the revolution in Iran a year ago.
"The presence of a large U.S. naval fleet, including, I believe, some equipped with tactical nuclear weapons, certainly adds to the crisis in the region," Dixit said.
"So let the world change before we start speculating about when and how and what the time frame is" for the withdrawal of Soviet troops, he continued
Dixit said to blame the current tensions on the Soviet military intervention in Afghanistan is to ignore the Western reaction to the creation of a pro-marxist government in Afghanistan in April 1978.