WASHINGTON – India has vital role to play in Pakistan, Afghanistan and the region, a BBC report said Friday, citing US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta.

Talking to the media here, Panetta said that India was very important country in the region and that was why it would play a role for the establishment of peace in Pakistan and Afghanistan and it would turn out to be helpful for abiding peace and stability in the region.

Panetta went on to say that the US main target was to save Afghanistan from becoming safe haven and sanctuaries of terrorists and Al-Qaeeda militants. “We are eager to work with the other countries of the region on this count.”  He held his country wanted to fortify network of its defence allies in the world and “our new defence policy hinges upon this strategy”.  “Nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles of North Korea were posing a grave threat to US and we are striving to take all measures including forging of strong defence alliance with South Korea to counter this threat”, he announced.