Historic Visit by Indira Gandhi to venezuala
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By Prof. Herna`n Lucena Molero, Head of India Study Chair, University of Los Andes, Merida

On the 10th and 11th of October 1968, Indira Gandhi made a visit to Venezuela. It was a short stay in the Caracas region bordering ávila. The visit awakened many expectations and was met with much enthusiasm by the two countries involved. Various institutions participated and a high degree of solidarity, affection and support was expressed by the Venezuelan public towards the Indian Prime Minister.

A special delegate of the Indian Foreign Service, Mr. H.R. Krishnaswami, was sent by New Delhi to coordinate details of the visit. This official coordinated all details pertaining to the illustrious Prime Minister’s tour of Latin America. Likewise, the Indian Foreign Affairs Ministry appointed His Excellency Bejoy Krishna Acharya, Ambassador of India to Brazil and concurrently to Venezuela and the Honourable Mr. A.N. Gorwara, in his capacity as Secretary of the said Embassy to help with the visit.

On Wednesday, the 9th of October, a rehearsal of the Prime Minister’s reception ceremony was held. This was organized by the Director of Protocol of the Foreign Affairs Ministry, Mr. Hugo Orozco, Officers of the Caracas Garrison Command and Mr. Manuel Angarita, of the Ceremonial and Historical Heritage of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Airport Director Salvador Bottaro.

Indira Gandhi had started her tour of Latin America on the 23rd of September 1968; Besides Venezuela, her itinerary included Brazil, Chile, Uruguay, Argentina and Colombia. It must be clarified that our country had severed ties with the government of Peru given the violation of constitutional and democratic order in the coup d’etat that took place on the eve of the official visit of the Head of State of the Indian Government. Her entourage included 29 officials and 6 journalists. On the eighteenth day of her journey through South American lands, which had begun in Colombia, she arrived on a flight from Bogota, in a DC-9 Viasa aircraft, at the Maiquetía International Airport. As planned, she landed at fifteen minutes to one in the afternoon and was received with full honours by the “Simon Bolivar” Marine Infantry Batallion commanded by Lieutenant Commander Alfredo J. Landa Saa, befitting her stature as Head of State.

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