Havana / New Delhi: Fidel Castro, the iconic Cuban revolutionary leader took to his eternal journey today. He was 90. He shall always be remembered in India as a great friend of the nation. Especially for his sisterly ties with the iconic Prime Minister of India Smt. Indira Gandhi.
At the inauguration of the Seventh Non-Aligned Summit in March 1983 at Vigyan Bhawan ( New Delhi), a record number of over 100 heads of state and governments had participated. Fidel Castro was the host of the NAM summit in Havana (1979), he in his address at Vigyan Bhawan had said that he was proud to pass the conference gavel to his sister Indira Gandhi. Just after that historic speech, both Castro & Gandhi rose from behind the podium, watched by several hundred delegates, which also included observers from leading countries who were not members of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), and a huge assembly of media persons. As both came to face each other, Indira Gandhi expectantly extended her arm to receive Castro. But Castro did not reciprocate. Indira, was taken aback, she again extended her arm for the second time, but Castro again failed to respond but kept smiling mysteriously. As a slightly embarrassed Indira extended her hand hesitatingly a third time over, the giant Castro pulled a surprised Indira towards him and gave her a giant bear hug in full view of all. The whole hall broke into huge applause, Indira was momentarily left flushed in the face, but the bear hug moment was recorded by all as the strong tie between Cuba & India. However, in 1984 Indira was brutally assassinated by her own body guards and Castro never ever visited India after the 1983 NAM summit .
Several leaders took to twitter to express their condolences.