Indo-China joint military exercise will continue, says Pranab Mukherjee

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New Delhi, Mar 3, : External Affairs Minister, Pranab Mukherjee, has stated that the second joint military exercise between India and China will continue this year for deepening mutual understanding and trust between the Armed Forces.

While delivering the suo motu statement on 'Foreign Policy-related Developments' in Lok Sabha, Pranab Mukherjee said: "India and China would hold the second annual defence dialogue as well as the second joint military exercise this year in an effort to continue deepening mutual understanding and trust between our Armed Forces".

Mukherjee said that bilateral trade continued to show strong growth and both governments have revised the trade target to 60 billion dollars by 2010.

Pranab Mukherjee said that the fact that Arunachal Pradesh is an integral part of India has been clearly conveyed to the Chinese side by the Government and Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh's visit to Arunachal Pradesh was to assure our citizens that the Government is mindful of their developmental needs, and is ready and willing to assist them through concrete projects.

On developments in Pakistan, he said, India wished to see Pakistan develop and prosper in a stable democratic order.

"As soon as a duly constituted government is in place in Pakistan, the Government is ready to resume the Composite Dialogue process. It remains our hope that we would be able to resolve outstanding issues and build a mutually beneficial relationship with Pakistan in an atmosphere free of violence and terrorism", he said.

He expressed concern over the security situation in Afghanistan, where two Indians lost their lives in a terrorist strike on a major road building project in Afghanistan in early January this year.

On Nepal, he said that the Government of India has committed to assist that country in every possible way for its transition to a democratic, stable, peaceful and prosperous state.

The interests of the Tamil community in Sri Lanka are a matter of particular significance to us in our dealings with Sri Lanka, he stated. The way forward lies in a peacefully negotiated political settlement within the framework of a united Sri Lanka acceptable to all communities, including the Tamils, he added.

Mukherjee said: "The Government remains deeply solicitous for the welfare of people of Indian origin living abroad. There is a large community of people of Indian origin in Malaysia who are citizens of that country. We have friendly relations with Malaysia and we are in touch with the Malaysian authorities in the matter. During our interactions with them, concerns expressed in India, including in Parliament, regarding developments pertaining to the Indian community in Malaysia have been suitably conveyed".

On Myanmar, he said the Government had emphasized that the process of national reconciliation should be broad-based to include all sections of society including Aung San Suu Kyi and the various ethnic groups.

ANI

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