Washington, May 7: US Deputy Secretary of State John D Negroponte visualises the possibility of closer economic ties among Pakistan, Afghanistan and India providing a new arc of stability in South Asia. A region, encompassing a thriving Pakistan alongside a secure Afghanistan trading freely with an increasingly wealthy India, would constitute a new arc of stability, Mr Negroponte said in a speech at the National Endowment for Democracy's Pakistan Forum here.
He said, ''Together, Pakistan and Afghanistan could form an economic bridge between Southeast Asia, the Persian Gulf, and Central Asia. We envisage such a future for both Pakistan and Afghanistan and want to work with them to make it possible.'' The Deputy Secretary said, ''Closer economic relations among Pakistan, Afghanistan and their neighbours are also essential to secure peace in South Asia.
Regional economic integration and expanding South Asia's ties with the world economy are essential foundations for human security and prosperity.'' Speaking on the US policy towards Pakistan, he highlighted Islamabad's tremendous importance to the US.
"More than ever, our national security depends on the success, security and stability of Pakistan. Pakistan is a vitally important nation. It is the world's third most populous Muslim state. It is a nuclear power and it is situated in a strategically crucial neighbourhood of India, Iran, Afghanistan and China.
And, it is a front-line state in the battle against terrorism,'' he said.