Islamabad, May 14, 2018: Pakistan truly stands at a historic juncture. The country’s strategic location, once being a liability is now a bridge between Europe and Asia. Center of economic power is shifting from the West to East. Over the years Asia has become a leading player in the emerging economies of the world, stated Sartaj Aziz, Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission of Pakistan. Regional connectivity in Asia now lies at the center of the Chinese-led Belt and Road initiative which aims to connect Asia with Europe and CPEC – a central part of this network – is an all-inclusive economic corridor for the region.
Pakistan’s National Security Advisor (NSA) Nasser Khan Janjua stated that Pakistan by connecting 86% (as 60% of the world’s population lives in Asia; about 10% in Europe and 16% in Africa) of the people of the world is a massive potential trade and industrial hub. He was speaking at the seminar on “Dynamics of Geo-Politics, Regional Security and Economic Connectivity” organized by National Security Division (NSD), Government of Pakistan in collaboration with the Center for Research and Security Studies (CRSS) in Islamabad today, which was attended by the Ambassadors of Central Asian Republics (CARs) in addition to other dignitaries. The NSA urged CARs to utilize the huge potential of Balochistan and access sea through Gwadar, which is the world’s largest deep sea port. Balochistan is our face, he added. Pakistan will multiply the economy of the entire region.
Ali Alizada, Ambassador of Azerbaijan to Pakistan enunciated that the landscape of the world is changing dramatically and countries are changing their state policies swiftly in the wake of unfolding global crescendos. Peace is the only option to move towards sustainable future. Pakistan has always backed peace and stability in the region and Azerbaijan is grateful to Pakistan for their positive role in this regard, the Ambassador added.
Giving Turkey’s perspective, on the topic of the seminar, Professor Erhan Dogan from Marmara University, Istanbul, stated that Turkey has some regional calculations and some international. What China, USA and Russia envisage their role in other parts of the world definitely has significant impact over Turkey’s equation with the global world. Concluding his speech, the Turkish Professor said that Pakistan and Turkey have common cultural heritage and people of Turkey have a great respect for Pakistan.
Kazakh Ambassador Barlybay Sadykov stated that confidence buidling measures should remain on the top agenda in order to maintain global security and ensure peace. International terrorism is a common threat and requires collective response. He further stated that Afghan peace process must be Afghan led and Afghan owned, with that all share responsibility to assist Afghan peace process. Geopolitical and geo-economics of the region both offers opportunities and face threats. Geo-economics can press for the need of cooperation among nations, he added.
Gwadar is very important for Uzbekistan, said Uzbek Ambassador to Pakistan Furqat A. Sidiqov, as the country needs access to warm waters. Furthermore, stability in Afghanistan is pivotal for both CARs and Pakistan in this regard for strengthening economic connectivity of the region.
Kyrgyz Ambassador to Pakistan hoped that the planned railway link from Kashghar in China to Karachi and Gwadar in Pakistan under CPEC, after completion, will connect Pakistan to Kyrgyz Republic through rail network, leading to more economic opportunities.
In the search for optimal solutions to the accumulated problems of the region, Tajik Ambassador Sherali Jononov was of the view that the response to the global and regional challenges requires broad dialogue and concerted efforts of the entire international community.
Speaking on the common challenges faced by the region, Lt. Gen. (Retd) Asif Yasin stated that good governance and governance alone would lead to internal stability, fight against terrorism and poverty in the region. He also added that Pakistan and Afghanistan have common stakes. Trans-Afghanistan and trans-Pakistan are the contemporary phenomena that will spell out future relationship between the two.
Pakistan’s biggest challenge is to ensure security and security challenges are not solved by military means but development, said Lt. Gen, (Retd) Talat Masood in his concluding remarks as the Chair and moderator of the seminar.