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This paper develops a new technique for the design of optimal modulation controllers for multi-area ac/dc systems. The technique is based on optimal pole assignment using eigenvalue sensitivities. The basic feature of the proposed method is that both the diagonal and the off-diagonal elements of the weighting matrices are used for the eigenvalue assignment which results in increased design flexibility. The method is applied to the design of a modulation controller for a strongly interconnected three area ac/dc system. Dynamic simulation results presented in the paper show that the proposed modulation controller results in significant improvement of dynamic performance of the interconnected system.