MOSCOW, JULY 3 -- Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev charged today that the United States and its allies have "erected hindrances" to an arms control agreement and are making proposals that would lead to the destruction of Soviet socialism.
At a lunch with Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, Gorbachev said a U.S.-Soviet agreement on intermediate-range and short-range missiles is "just a possibility." He blamed the NATO allies for continued militarism and for lacking a strategy to replace nuclear deterrence.
Gorbachev's remarks came three days after President Reagan sent him a letter, and some western diplomats view it as a public response to the letter, the contents of which have not been publicized.
"We propose dismantling the entire stock of weapons of mass annihilation," Gorbachev told Gandhi, "and reducing other weapons to the level of sensible sufficiency.
"In response, we are being offered a dismantling of a social system -- our system. The absurdity of this dilemma does not deserve even a refutation."
With regard to U.S.-Soviet negotiations on missile reduction, he said, "NATO has erected hindrances this time as well. The reasons remain the same: the vested interests of influential militarist groups in an arms race and, consequently, the absence of a constructive concept in NATO ruling quarters on how to build East-West relations if confrontation is renounced."
Gandhi is visiting Moscow in connection with the opening of an Indian festival.