Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee said here on Monday that relations with China were progressing and had received an impetus with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s last month visit to Beijing. In the military sphere, both sides would hold their second exercise in India this year and both governments were committed to achieving bilateral trade of $60 billion by 2010

On China’s expression of regret for Dr. Singh’s recent visit to Arunachal Pradesh, he said the government wanted to express its readiness to respond to the development needs of the region. “The fact that Arunachal Pradesh is an integral part of India has been clearly conveyed to the Chinese side,” he said.

Other neighbours

On relations with other neighbours, Mr. Mukherjee said the security situation in Afghanistan and Sri Lanka was of concern. In the former, New Delhi advocated continued backing to the Hamid Karzai government while suggesting political dialogue among all communities, including the Tamils in case of the latter. Elections in Nepal were taking place at a critical juncture for the country and India hoped all Nepalese, “including those in the terai,” would have a chance to have a say about their future. New Delhi was urging Myanmar to move towards reconciliation and political reforms.

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