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Kim Jong-Il

December 19, 2011 by staff 

Kim Jong-IlKim Jong-Il, India is closely watching developments in North Korea following the death of its longtime leader Kim Jong-il, which could improve New Delhi’s ties with the reclusive country whose nuclear programme and its export of missile technology to Pakistan have been a cause of much concern here.

New Delhi is watching the events in North Korea closely, said official sources.

Kim Jong-il, the supreme leader of nuclear-armed North Korea, died Saturday during a train journey. He was 69.

Reports from Pyongyang strongly indicate that Kim’s youngest son Kim Jong-un has succeeded as the ruler of the country.

Not many are expecting any dramatic change in the power structure, but Kim’s successor could bring in his own people and change some policies to consolidate his power base.

The death of Kim Jong-il comes at a time when India’s relations with North Korea, which have always been shadowed by Pyongyang’s covert export of missile technology to Islamabad through Pakistan’s A.Q. Khan network, have shown some signs of improvement.

In March this year, India was quick to respond to a food crunch in North Korea by providing $1 million through the World Food Programme. Pyongyang lauded India’s timely assistance.

For the first time in the last decade, North Korean foreign minister visited the Indian embassy at the Republic Day function in Pyongyang Jan 26. A few days later, the North Korean vice foreign minister invited the Indian ambassador for dinner, said sources, citing these instances as a warming of ties between the two countries.

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