Soviet leader Yuri Andropov resumed his public duties today after a brief illness. He met with Nicaraguan leader Daniel Ortega, and both criticized U.S. policy in Central America, according to the official news agency Tass.

Andropov reportedly had been hospitalized last week for an unspecified kidney ailment. A senior Soviet official told journalists last night that the 68-year-old Soviet leader had been ill, but the official suggested the illness was influenza.

The Nicaraguan Sandinista leader, who was here on an official visit 10 months ago, arrived in Moscow yesterday from Mongolia. He had earlier attended the nonaligned summit conference in New Delhi.

The Tass statement quoted Ortega as asserting that his government "has all the necessary resources" to defend itself against "counterrevolutionary invaders" who enjoy the support of "foreign imperialists."

Andropov was quoted as having expressed Soviet "solidarity" with the Nicaraguan people and the conviction that Nicaragua would be able to defend its independence.

The talks were held in an atmosphere of "friendship and complete mutual understanding," Tass said.

Andropov had not appeared in public since a March 15 meeting with top Communist officials from Soviet Bloc countries. Soviet and diplomatic sources had said earlier this week that he was hospitalized, suffering from a chronic kidney ailment. They had said, however, that he was recovering normally and had predicted that he would resume his public functions later this week.