Better Indo-Pak ties crucial for Afghan peace: British PM

London, July 18 (IANS) British Prime Minister David Cameron praised India and Pakistan for taking initiative to resume bilateral talks to improve relations and urged them to play a crucial role in bringing back peace to war-torn Afghanistan.

The British leader said that better Indo-Pak relation is a cornerstone for regional peace and prosperity.

"India and Pakistan can play a crucial role in bringing peace back in Afghanistan," Cameron told the Asian Lite newspaper during his visit to Siemens factory at Lincoln in East England. "Both countries should recognise the fact that a stable, prosperous and democratic Afghanistan is in their interests too".

NATO forces are scheduled to withdraw from Afghanistan by 2014. The western leaders are hoping the regional powers like India and Pakistan will play a crucial role in bringing back stability to the war ravaged nation.

"The newly elected Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is an experienced politician and he believes India and Pakistan can have better bilateral relationship. The Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh takes a similar view," Cameron added. "I hope these two statesmen can act in the interest of both their countries and also the world, fostering better Indo- Pak relations."

Pakistan and India has agreed to draw up a calendar of official-level meetings to resume their bilateral peace talks, which has lost momentum due to Pakistan polls that led to a change of government in Pakistan. The new initiative was announced after a meeting between Indian External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid and Pakistan Prime Minister's Special Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz on the side lines of ASEAN Foreign Ministers' meet at Bandar Seri Begawan in Brunei, a first high-level meeting after the new government in Pakistan took over.

Cameron urged India and Pakistan said "India and Pakistan both should recognise the fact that a stable, prosperous and democratic Afghanistan is in their interests too".

(Arun Jacob Thomas can be contacted at arun@asianlite.com)

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