ISLAMABAD, Dec 19 (APP):Minister for Interior and Planning, Ahsan Iqbal Tuesday suggested that Pakistan, China and Iran should create a community of shared prosperity in the region.
He was addressing an international conference on, “Pakistan-China-Iran: A Trident of Regional Connectivity”, organized by the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI).
“The age of geopolitics is over and the time has come for Pakistan to focus on geo-economics while looking for the regional options. China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) envisages regional connectivity, therefore, we are looking forward to Iran for developing new infrastructure in the region and beyond.”
He said Pakistan and Iran need to learn from China’s approach of reaping benefits by creating peace in the region.
He suggested that the three countries should create a community of shared prosperity in the region.
Earlier, in his opening remarks, Chairman ISSI, Ambassador Khalid Mahmood spoke about the goodwill that prevails among the three countries and said that the stage was set for them to achieve new milestones in economy.
Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Yao Jing chaired the first session, Pakistan-China-Iran: Analyzing the Prospects of Triangular Cooperation.
In their presentation over the session, Research Fellow of Fudan University, Shanghai Lin Minwang discussed the possibilities of the trilateral cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
Senior Expert at the Institute for Political and International Studies (IPIS), Tehran Ambassador Alireza Bikdeli, emphasized that Iran and Pakistan must try to benefit to the maximum from their neighbourhood position while keeping common development plans away from securitization.
Principal and Dean S3H of National University of Science and Technology (NUST), Pakistan Dr Ashfaque Hasan Khan, suggested a two-pronged approach to cement the trilateral cooperation: facilitating the trident through constructing regional institutions; and providing specific support to the least developed countries in the region.
Iranian Ambassador to Pakistan Mehdi Honardoost, chairing the second session on Pakistan-China-Iran: Initiatives for Regional Connectivity, opened the floor on a very positive note that regionalism was the key principle of Iranian foreign policy and it had much more to offer in energy market and transit trade to further this initiative.
Assistant Professor at the University of Tehran Dr Muhammad Jafar Javadi Arjmand put forth the idea of synergizing the three formidable forces – regionalism, economic diplomacy and multilateralism – to carry through the idea of the trident.
Vice President of China Institute of International Studies (CIIS), Beijing Dr Rong Ying touched upon the competing visions on the regional initiatives and proposed that the three countries should find the effective means to avert any possibility of confrontation through consensus.
Head of Department of Department of Government and Public Policy, NUST, Pakistan Dr Syed Riffat Hussain stressed upon the need for peace in Afghanistan, which was the key to success of CPEC or any other regional initiative.
Chairman ISSI Ambassador Khalid Mahmood chaired the third session, “Challenges to Trilateral Cooperation and The Way Forward.”
Head of the Centre for International Research & Education (CIRE), Tehran Dr Hadi Soleimanpour said China needed to help Iran and Pakistan with an integrated and comprehensive plan.
Director of Institute of International Affairs, Renmin University, Beijing Dr Wang Yiwei said shared trinity encompasses shared interest, responsibility and destiny.
Former Ambassador to Iran Javid Husain said China had a convergence of strategic interest with both Iran and Pakistan, thus providing an opportunity for close commercial and economic cooperation for the two countries which were in dire need of foreign investment.
Ambassador Khalid Mahmood concluded the conference by thanking all the speakers and said the BRI and CPEC offered a lot of opportunities for the three countries, but those were contingent upon peace in Afghanistan.
He highlighted the role of Chinese commitment to the entire project and emphasized that CPEC was not just an economic venture, but geopolitical considerations must also be taken into account.