'India needs to improve regional relations'

Taking part in a seminar on `Whither Pakistan? Emerging realities and measures to safeguard security interests’ organised at the IAS Officers’ Association here on Saturday, Kumar said that when measured on a scale of 10, the convergence of interests that India had with these nations stood at 9 or 9.5 points.  

Stressing on improved ties with China, the former diplomat said that “a working relationship with China will be to India’s advantage.” 

Serious discussions can be held on issues related to the Asian region, he added.

The US was not planning to provide India any role in resolving the Afghanistan crisis and was goading India to close down its consulates along the Pakistan border, the former ambassador said. The army continued to be in the driving seat in Pakistan. It was harsh only on those militant groups which it viewed as a threat to Pakistan’s territorial integrity, he added.

S Gopal, retired special secretary, called for diplomacy and discussions with both the army and liberal Pakistan society to improve relations with Pakistan. Former Deputy Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Satish Nambiar, said India could at best strive for an adversarial relationship and not one of enmity with Pakistan.

Captain Alok Bansal, security analyst and A P Venkateswaran, former Foreign Secretary took part in the seminar.

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