Moscow — Soviet defense minister postpones trip to India
Soviet Defense Minister Dmitri Ustinov abruptly postponed a visit to India, scheduled to begin today, arousing speculation in Moscow that sudden domestic political developments may have prevented him making the trip.
In New Delhi, a senior Indian official said Moscow had cited what were called Ustinov's domestic preoccupations as the reason for the decision.
Mr. Ustinov is one of the leading members of the ruling Politburo and many senior Western analysts believe he has been in charge of day-to-day affairs during the 5 1/2 month absence of President Yuri Andropov.
What added fuel to speculation was the enormous importance Moscow had attached to the trip, which was aimed at cementing closer ties with India, particularly in the military field.
Western and Asian diplomats in Moscow said they thought the postponement of the visit could be linked with sudden changes in Andropov's condition. But some diplomats said it was just as possible that Ustinov himself had fallen ill and had to put off the trip.