ISLAMABAD: Speakers at a Roundtable Conference on Tuesday underlined the need for collective efforts to ensure peace in South Asian region, especially in Afghanistan for progress and ameliorating lot of the people.
The Roundtable Conference was organized by the Centre for Pakistan and Gulf Studies (CPGS) on “Shifting Strategic Landscape of South Asia: The Role of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.” Speakers at the event included Ambassador (R) Abdul Basit, President of the Islamabad Policy Research Institute (IPRI) and as well as Dr Petr Topychkanov from the Carnegie Moscow Center.
The discussion revolved around the situation in Afghanistan, the impact of the increasing Indian role in the region, an overview of the Pakistan-Russia relations historically, the repercussions of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) waiver to India as well as the future role of the SCO with regard to establishing peace in Afghanistan.In her opening remarks, President CPGS Senator Sehar Kamran (TI) said the Asian region was going through a mega-transformation that stood at a precarious crossroads.
She said recent developments will have a significant impact on the strategic landscape of the South region as she mentioned to President Trump’s new South Asia Policy and the United States’ declaration of retrenchment after over 16 years of presence in Afghanistan.Sehar Kamran described these changes as unnecessary flexing of military muscles, which will only undo much that has been achieved over many years diplomatically.
She said China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) had presented an invaluable opportunity to regional countries especially Afghanistan.
These countries can utilize it for benefit of their economies and people.Talking about positive developments, especially in context of Pakistan and Russian Federation, she said “we are moving into a new era of cooperative relations, based on mutual respect and equality.
In addition to the alliance with China, strengthening collaboration with Russia has the potential to move the entire region into a more positive direction.”
Ambassador (R) Abdul Basit said the South Asia is in the midst of paradoxical development and Afghanistan is the biggest challenge for our foreign policy.
Pakistan’s approach has always been to establish peace in the region, but our efforts have not been reciprocated, repeatedly.
In the context of the SCO, he said Pakistan and India will attend the SCO Summit for the first time as full members, whenever the next session will be held and it would be interesting to note how that dynamic develops.
Dr Petr Topychkanov , in his presentation gave a historic overview of Pakistan-Russian relations and said, it is vital to understand the shift that is underway in South Asia; the increasing strategic relationship between India and United States and the growing economic and political cooperation between China and Pakistan under the umbrella of CPEC .
He said, despite the fact the US signed a nuclear deal with India and helped in granting a NSG waiver, but the US still failed to establish nuclear power plants in India.
On the SCO, he said the organization provides an opportunity to discuss broader regional and global strategic and security issues in a multilateral setting.