Pakistan’s Foreign Policy Review: CPEC with China and Military agreement with Russia termed hallmarks

Pakistan’s Foreign Policy Review: CPEC with China and Military agreement with Russia termed hallmarks
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ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Khurram Dastgir on Thursday claimed that the perception about the country facing diplomatic isolation “is false”.

He insisted that under the PML-N government, the country achieved ‘measurable success’ and tackled challenges through recalibration of its foreign policy .

Speaking at his last news briefing as foreign minister, Dastgir spoke at a length on a range of foreign policy challenges and the achievements of the PML-N government during its five years in office.

Dastgir, who was appointed as foreign minister just for few weeks after Khawaja Asif was disqualified over hiding his foreign employment, highlighted strategic partnership with China and expansion of ties with Russia as one of the main highlights of the PML-N performance.

He said Pakistan signed the landmark China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project that attracted investment of $46.6 billion and put Pakistan squarely at the centre of a blueprint for a more hopeful, prosperous and connected future for the region and the world.

“For the first time in history, we also reinforced our relations with Russia and signed a defense agreement with it in 2014. Similarly a concerted effort was made to strengthen relations with the central Asian nations,” he added.

He insisted that against the backdrop of those developments, talk of Pakistan being isolated on the diplomatic front was false.

He made it clear that Pakistan was not jumping from one bloc to another, insisting that the country was working on diversifying its foreign policy options.

On the US, the foreign minister insisted that relations between the two countries might not be ideal at present but they were not at the lowest ebb.

The lowest point in Pak-US relationship was in 2011 when incidents including the Abbottabad raid, Raymond Davis controversy and killing of 24 Pakistani soldiers at Salala check post happened, he added.

He said the US did not change its old mindset and continued to accuse Pakistan of double game. “Since 2011, things have changed,” he said, adding, “Pakistan carries out successful military operations against militants without any discrimination.”

“There is no organised terrorist infrastructure left in the country,” he continued.

*“With Indi*a, it is unfortunate that the Indian leadership, after the election of Prime Minister Modi, has been emanating aggressive statements and postures against Pakistan,” he said.

In response, Pakistan had reacted in a very measured and just manner to all such provocations “because we believe that regional connectivity and enhanced regional cooperation is the panacea for all ills facing our region”.

“Pakistan faces Indian aggressive posture along the LoC and the Working Boundary with equal and proportionate equanimity.”

“With a new government in Pakistan in less than three months, and one to form in India next year, we hope that a fresh vigour and mandate will be brought to the relations between both countries,” the foreign minister said.

Dastgir said, “It is also success of our economic diplomacy that Pakistan achieved the status of GSP plus in 2014.”

“As a result of this facilitation, Pakistan’s exports to the EU witnessed a surge of 38 per cent.”

On the Kashmir dispute, the foreign minister said Pakistan firmly stands with their Kashmiri brethren in their just struggle for right to self determination.

He said Pakistan has strongly highlighted the Kashmir dispute at the UN General Assembly and other forums.

On Afghanistan, the outgoing foreign minister said, “The roadmap to peace there lies in the peace process and Pakistan will continue to extend its support for an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process.”

Foreign Policy