New Delhi, Aug 1: Sujatha Singh, who assumed charge as Foreign Secretary, on Thursday said her immediate priority would be to improve ties with neighbouring countries and asserted that India would like to have a cooperative relationship with Pakistan in a terror-free environment.
"It has always been India's policy to develop peaceful and cooperative relations with Pakistan. Naturally, this pre-supposes an environment free of violence and of terror," 59-year-old Singh, who was earlier ambassador to Germany, said.
"Dialogue with Pakistan was resumed in 2011. Two rounds have been held since then and we will be picking up the threads. There is a new government in Pakistan now. We will be picking up the threads from where we left off with the old government," she told reporters here.
Singh, a 1976 batch Indian Foreign Service officer, moved into her office in the Ministry of External Affairs in South Block. She succeeds Ranjan Mathai and will have a fixed tenure of two years. Asked about her priorities, Singh said the "immediate neighbourhood" will be high on her agenda besides strengthening relations with strategic partners around the world.
"My immediate priorities would be in our immediate neighbourhood. That is where our immediate interest lies and that is where our most intent interactions are. Beyond that, it is important to strengthen relations with our strategic partners all over the world," she said. Singh said she would also optimise resources in the MEA and build on the work done by her predecessor.