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Public Papers - 1991 - May

Exchange With Reporters on the Assassination of Former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi of India

1991-05-24

The President. Well, may I pay my respects to all the Embassy staff, too, and thank you very much for coming out to pay honor to this -- we feel this very strongly, your loss.

Q. Mr. President, how confident are you that Indian democracy will pass through this crisis?

The President. India's democracy is strong, steadfast, and it has the full support of our country. It always has, and it always will. And this is a terrible tragedy. It tests the souls of India, and it trys the hearts of all of us. But I fear not for India's democracy.

Q. Mr. President, are you worried about -- --

The President. I really must go on.

Q. Are you worried about the sectarian violence and really just wanted to -- --

The President. Well, I hope that India will cope. They always try to do that. There are people that feel passionately about this, but this is no time for more violence. This is a time for calm, for peaceful resolution to differences. And if anybody ever stood for that, it was Rajiv Gandhi and his family.

Q. Do you have a small message for the Indian people?

The President. No. The United States will deal with the Indian Government with respect and quality. And so, I have no worries about that at all.

Q. What did you write on the book?

Q. Any message for the Indian people?

The President. Well, I tried to express my sentiments there. And I'm sure the Ambassador will share it with you.

Thank you.

Q. Do you ever worry about the possibility of a terrorist attack against yourself?

The President. No, I never worry about that. See you all.

Note: The President spoke at 8:40 a.m. at the Indian Embassy. In his remarks, he referred to Abid Hussain, Indian Ambassador to the United States.

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