Experts reiterate CPEC’s role in furthering regional peace & prosperity
KARACHI: Experts participating in a one-day summit on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) have reiterated the role the megaproject can play in furthering regional connectivity, peace and progress, says a press release.
These ideas were expressed in a day-long summit hosted by the China Study Centre (CSC) at the Institute of Business Administration (IBA) Karachi titled ‘CPEC: Emerging Geopolitical and Geo-Economic Landscape Opportunities and Challenges’. The event was held at the IBA City Campus.
Dr Nasir A. Afghan, director, CSC, shed light on the importance of CPEC which is the economic lifeline for Pakistan. “We want to demystify CPEC and the evolving challenges and opportunities it brings. Taliban is the new reality in Afghanistan and we need to learn to live with the new reality.”
He further talked about creating a bridge between all parties and emphasized that a future that brings peace, respect and dignity for all is the need of the hour for the region and beyond. “Pakistan has historically been part of the Silk Road and has always been connected with the Central Asian civilizations. It is time we reconnect with the roots economically and socially”.
The first keynote speaker of the event, Mr Khalid Mansoor, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on CPEC Affairs, joined the session virtually from Lahore. “It is about time people know the reality of CPEC as there is so much negativity around it and it is now time to share its progress.”
He highlighted the three phases of the CPEC roadmap which was initiated in 2015 and will go up to 2030. “The first phase focuses on alleviating the power crisis and infrastructure development. The second phase focuses on the mid-term projects which will be completed till 2025.”
As for the West and how it views CPEC, Mr Mansoor mentioned, “The U.S. and Europe views it as China’s political ambition, rather than focusing on the regional connectivity it is bringing.”
Professor Dr Qian Feng, director of Research Department and senior research fellow, National Strategy Institute, Tsinghua University, China, the second keynote speaker stated, “Through the Summit we are making developments to further enhance CPEC which is in the common interest of Pakistan, China and Afghanistan.”
He shared his thoughts about the Pakistan-India relationship which is key. “India-Pakistan relationship has always been the parameter of regional situation. Among them Kashmir issue is the key point. We can see as in 2019 when the nationalist Modi government outrageously abolished Article 370 of its constitution that really has broken the balance of Kashmir… (and) China always stands on the side of justice,” he remarked.
The third keynote speaker, Mr Guo Chunshui, Commercial Counsellor, Chinese Consulate, Karachi stated, “China and Pakistan have a unique iron-clad friendship, and established an all-weather strategic cooperative partnership. CPEC is a landmark and pilot project of the “the Belt and Road Initiative”. Over the past eight years, CPEC has achieved fruitful and remarkable results. With the implementation of CPEC, China has been Pakistan’s largest trading partner for six consecutive years and largest source of investment for seven consecutive years.”
On China-Pakistan-Afghan trilateral relations he mentioned, “We should focus firstly on enhancing unity and cooperation. Our developments are closely linked with each other’s. It is essential for us to strengthen policy dialogue and communication from the perspective of regional development under the premise of fully respecting legitimate security concerns of each other. Secondly (we should focus on) strengthening safety and security.”
Several panel discussions followed.
Dr Wajid Hussain Rizvi, Dean, School of Business Studies at the IBA Karachi, delivered the welcome address virtually.
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