India will continue working with new govts in Nepal, Pak

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New Delhi, Apr 19 (UNI) India will continue working with the new governments in Nepal, Pakistan and Bhutan to ensure a stable and prosperous neighbourhood and will remain a factor for peace and stability in the region, Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon said today.

In his keynote address at the first 'IISS-Citi India Global Forum,' he said the destinies of the countries in the sub-continent were inter-linked and would stay so and India's major objective was to establish connectivity--mental and physical.

Asserting that a peaceful, stable and prosperous Pakistan at peace with itself, was in India's interest, he said New Delhi would continue to develop close political and economic relations with all its neighbours.

''The recent elections in Pakistan, Nepal and Bhutan have served to underscore the potential contribution of multi-party democratic frameworks to peace and stability. India will continue working with the leaderships in these countries to enable each of us to pursue our shared objectives,'' he said.

''We will continue our efforts to develop close political and economic relations with all our neighbours. Our goal is a peaceful, stable and prosperous neighbourhood. India will continue to remain a factor for peace and stability in the region''.

The Foreign Secretary who was speaking on 'India as a Rising Great Power : Challenges and Opportnities', expressed concern at the unfortunate increase of violence in Sri Lanka and reaffirmed India's consistent position that there could be no military solution to the ethnic issue.

He stressed the necessity for a negotiated political settlement within the framework of a united Sri Lanka that is acceptable to all sections of society.

He reaffirmed India's continued assistance for Afghanistan's reconstruction programmes and for building a pluralistic society and hoped that democracy would soon return to Myanmar and Bangladesh.

One major objective was to establish better connectivity, he said and added that the resumption of rail links between Kolkata and Bangladesh after 43 years was testimony.

He said India recognised the need for expediting the process of national reconciliation and political reform in Myanmar to make it more inclusive.

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