Speeches, Interviews & Other Statements

Complete list of 8,000+ Thatcher statements & texts of many of them

1984 Nov 2 Fr
Margaret Thatcher

Press Conference leaving for India (Mrs Gandhi’s funeral)

Document type: Speeches, interviews, etc.
Document kind: Press Conference
Venue: Heathrow Airport, West London
Source: Thatcher Archive: COI transcript
Journalist: -
Editorial comments: The COI classified this item as a "brief interview" but it seems that MT was answering questions from several reporters. MT’s plane left Heathrow at 1310.
Importance ranking: Major
Word count: 460
Themes: Foreign policy (Asia), Terrorism

I

Prime Minister are you concerned about the possibility of violence between Hindus and Sikhs in this country?

PM

What I'm really concerned about as well as that is that this morning we received a message from Delhi that the Government and the people of India are really both indignant and distressed about the really outrageous behaviour of a tiny minority of people in this country who gloated over the murder of Mrs Gandhi.

I

This is the celebrating Sikhs you're talking about?

PM

Yes, I think that people in India are right to feel indignant and distressed about that. But I want them to know that I think the overwhelming majority of the people in Britain utterly condemn such despicable behaviour and they mourn with us and my fellow Parliamentarians the loss of a very great Prime Minister of India who dominated politics for a generation and the loss of a great personal friend.

I

Are you concerned about your own security in Delhi?

PM

One is no longer concerned about one's own security.

I

Prime Minister, it must have crossed your mind though surely?

PM

Oh yes, it's just something one lives with.

I

Do you find something ironic that you're going to India when the Foreign Office has warned Britons not to go to India?

PM

I find something deeply distressing about the assassination of Indira Gandhi. I don't know whether everyone realises just how great that loss is. For nearly sixteen years she was Prime Minister of India and she and her family probably did more for India than any family can claim they've ever done for any country. And I am very very sad that we've lost her. [end p1]

I

It is going to be a massive security problem in Delhi having all the world leaders.

PM

Yes it will be but we go to mourn the loss of Indira Gandhi and we believe that the Indian Government will do everything it can for security both for the sake of its own people and for those leaders who are going. But we must still go and also I hope to see Rajiv Gandhi. I am fortunate in knowing him fairly well and have great respect and liking for him. But of course he will be very busy and his first concern must be to take over his country at this distressing time. There are a lot of leaders there at the moment, so we'll not have much time to see him but we really do wish him well and I want to say so to him personally.

I

Thank you very much indeed Prime Minister

PM

Thank you very much.