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Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI) organized a seminar on “Pakistan, Central Asia and CPEC: A Vision for Improved Connectivity”

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Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI) Pakistan organized a seminar on “Pakistan, Central Asia and CPEC: A Vision for Improved Connectivity” on November 13, 2018. The objective of the seminar was to highlight and discuss the way forward on improving the connectivity among Central Asia States, Pakistan and China under Belt and Road Initiative to boost socio-economic environment in the region.

Ms. Tehmina Janjua, Foreign Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan was the Chief Guest at this seminar. Other speakers at the seminar included following:

  • E Mr. Yao Jing, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China;
  • E. Mr. Barlybay Sadykov, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Kazakhstan;
  • Erik Beishembiev, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Kyrgyz Republic;
  • E. Mr. Sherali Jononov, Ambassador of the Republic of Tajikistan;
  • E Mr. Movlamov Atajan Nurlyevich, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Turkmenistan;
  • and H.E. Mr. Furqat Sidiqov, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Uzbekistan.

A large number of diplomats, senior officials and professionals representing academia, civil society and media joined the event. On behalf of ECO Science Foundation (ECOSF), Engr. Khalil Raza Scientific Officer participated in the event.

Ms. Janjua stated that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has added greater vigor and vitality to the region and Pakistan is proud to be part of this project which falls under the wider Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and is seen as greatly contributing to the socio-economic environment of Pakistan. She went on to say that both geographically and historically, the only logical routes for the Central Asian States to the sea are through Afghanistan and Pakistan. The launch of CPEC has provided an opportunity to enhance this connectivity.

All the ambassadors present reiterated their interest in taking part in CPEC and underscored the ways in which their respective country would benefit from the project. The main points raised by the speakers were that countries which might become part of the CPEC project need to further develop their respective national policies, because while geographical connectivity and economic development are important, a linkage of their national policies will help peace, stability and prosperity of the region ten folds. Connectivity is both physical and conceptual. All the ambassadors agreed that there is also a need to focus on introducing digital solutions in the area, as is the need for creating more centers and forums for Central Asian studies.

Earlier, in his welcome remarks, Director General ISSI, Ambassador (Retd) Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry stated that leaders of both China and Pakistan have shown a political will to connect the region in multiple ways. Hence, CPEC is a gambit of connectivity to bring prosperity to the entire region.

Chairman ISSI, Ambassador (Retd) Khalid Mahmood, in his concluding remarks said that while previous interstate relation models are jostling and competing with each other, the Chinese model emphasizes common development.

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