"It has always been India's policy to develop peaceful and cooperative relations with Pakistan. Naturally, this pre-supposes an environment free of violence and terror," 59-year-old Singh, who was earlier ambassador to Germany, said.

"Dialogue with Pakistan was resumed in 2011. Two rounds have been held since then. There is a new government in Pakistan now. We will be picking up the threads from where we left off with the old government," she said.

Singh, a 1976 batch Indian Foreign Service officer, moved into her office in the Ministry of External Affairs in South Block. She succeeded Ranjan Mathai and will have a fixed tenure of two years.

Asked about her priorities, Singh said that the "immediate neighbourhood" will be high on her agenda besides strengthening relations with strategic partners around the world. "My immediate priorities would be in our immediate neighbourhood. That is where our immediate interest lies and that is where our most intent interactions are. Beyond that, it is important to strengthen relations with our strategic partners all over the world," she said.

Singh said that she would also optimize resources in the MEA and build on the work done by her predecessor.


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