Brussels: NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen Tuesday called for a stronger relationship between the 28-member alliance and India, because the country`s role was "crucial" for stability in the Asian region.
Rasmussen, in an interview with EuAsiaNews in Brussels Tuesday, explained as to why he thought NATO should strengthen ties with India.
He said India was an emerging power, a fast growing economy and will increasingly depend on free access to trade routes, sea lanes and communication network.
"We also share basic values. India is democracy. India is basically founded on the same principles as NATO allies. So I would like political consultations on regular basis with a country like India with whom we share basic political values."
India`s crucial role in Asia was another reason why NATO should expand its relations.
"India can contribute in a valuable way to development in Afghanistan and obviously it would also contribute to more stability in the region, if we could ease the tensions between India and Pakistan," he said.
Rasmussen said a dialogue with India is necessary to prevent any misunderstanding and misperception about NATO`s motives.
"Our relations with Pakistan will not be developed at the expense of India. And it is essential that India understands that," he said, and added that NATO was not going to interfere in the Kashmir conflict between the two neighbours.