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February 5, 2021

‘Pakistan facing numerous regional and international challenges’

Karachi

February 5, 2021

Former ambassador of Pakistan to the United States Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry has said India is increasingly becoming an irresponsible nuclear state and the entire world is noticing that India is crossing all lines.

He was speaking at a seminar on “Emerging Geostrategic Contestation in Asia-Pacific: Challenges and Opportunities for Pakistan”, organised by the Pakistan Institute of International Affairs (PIIA) on Wednesday.

The event was inaugurated by Lt-Gen (retd) Tariq Waseem Ghazi. The chief guest of the event was Vice Chancellor Karachi University Prof Dr Khalid Iraqi. Ambassador Salman Bashir, former foreign secretary of Pakistan and high commissioner of Pakistan to India, and Rear Admiral (retd) Pervaiz Asghar, adviser and honorary fellow, National Centre for Maritime Policy Research, Bahria University, also spoke on the occasion.

The sessions were chaired by Dr Masuma Hasan, chairperson of the PIIA, and Ambassador Syed Hasan Habib. Aizaz, who is director general of the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad, and former foreign secretary of Pakistan, added that India under Modi was losing its image.

“India is thinking short term and Pakistan has to counter India’s hegemonic approach and design,” said Aizaz, adding that power competition in the region was not to end in the near future.

The topic of his lecture was “Major Power Competition: Opportunities for Pakistan”. He said Pakistan would be in a tight spot if a cold war between the United States and China erupted. “If the economic war between the US and China intensifies, Pakistan will be called upon to make a choice. But Pakistan should bilateralise the context with the US,” said Aizaz.

He added that Pakistan can bridge the gap between the US and China by changing its approach from geo-strategic to geo-economic interests as partnership with Pakistan would be extremely important for the US.

Dr Zafar Nawaz Jaspal, professor, School of Politics and International Relations, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad, said that the US had declared India its major strategic partner while ignoring other key players of the region.

“In October last year, the US stated that US is very careful about India’s sovereignty, thus supports India. The US stated that India acted in self-defence regarding the Balakot incident,” said Jaspal. He said South Asia was a nuclear flashpoint and an India- Pakistan clash could have very serious consequences for both the countries and for the world.

Jaspal in his lecture ‘The South Asian Landscape: Options for Pakistan’, he asserted that South Asia was being affected by India’s hegemonic policies. “Religious Majoritarianism (Hinduvta) has become a big threat and it is along with hyperrealist elements to decide South Asia’s future.

“On the diplomatic front, India is isolated now. And Pakistan is no more a terrorist-breeding nation. India’s survival is on anti-Pakistan stance as Modi termed the February 27th incident as act of war from Pakistan,” said Jaspal.

Talking about options for Pakistan, he said Pakistan had to settle issues concerning its borders, while on the economic front, China’s increasing investment in South Asia was to help Pakistan.