'India to continue its endeavour to normalise ties with Pak'

'India to continue its endeavour to normalise ties with Pak'

India will continue with its endeavour to normalise relationship with Pakistan, Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai has said here, stressing that the future of Afghanistan and Pakistan is "inseparable" from the destiny of the country.

"The future of Afghanistan and Pakistan will continue to engage our two countries. Their future is inseparable from the destiny of India and our region, and, therefore, India has a vital stake in their stability and progress," Mathai told a Washington-based think-tank.

"With Pakistan, we will continue our endeavour to seek a peaceful, cooperative and normal relationship," he said in his remarks on "Building on Convergence: Deepening the India-US Strategic Partnership" at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

In his speech, Mathai said over the past year, India and the US have had close consultation and coordination on their shared vision of a stable, democratic and prosperous Afghanistan.

"It is a vision that can only be realised by the people of Afghanistan, but they need the support, assistance, facilitation and sustained commitment of the international community," he said.

Mathai said the quest for a settlement in Afghanistan must ensure that the enormous sacrifices and efforts of the past decade are not in vain.

"It must build on the progress and change that Afghanistan has experienced in the last 10 years; and, it must embrace all sections of Afghan society, including women and minorities," he said.

Observing that an landlocked country's fortunes are linked with its neighbours; in the case of Afghanistan, it is even more so, Mathai said India and the US believes that Afghanistan's regional economic integration is important for Kabul's and the wider region's stability and prosperity.

India's commitment to Afghanistan is reflected in its Strategic Partnership Agreement of October 2011; and its USD two billion assistance; besides other things including; Afghanistan's preferential access to the Indian market and our efforts to improve its connectivity to the world.

"We should also explore avenues for collaboration between India and the US, with others such as Japan, for Afghanistan's development, including through development of its natural resources," he said.