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May 28, 2021

Speakers discuss challenges to regional peace

 
May 28, 2021

Islamabad : The Centre for Afghanistan, Middle East & Africa (CAMEA) at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI) had a Panel Discussion on ‘Pakistan-China-Afghanistan: Prospects of Trilateral Cooperation for Regional Stability.’

The distinguished speakers included: Ambassador Masood Khalid, former ambassador to China, Ambassador Omar Samad, Nonresident Senior Fellow Atlantic Council and Prof. Lin Minwang, deputy director of the Center for South Asian Studies and Assistant to the Dean of the Institute of International Studies at Fudan University, China, says press release. Ambassador Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry, Director General, ISSI, Ambassador Khalid Mahmood, chairman ISSI and Dr Talat Shabbir, director China-Pakistan Study Center (CPSC) at ISSI took part in the discussion.

During her opening remarks, Amina Khan, director CAMEA, said that while supportive of peace and stability in Afghanistan, China for most of the part has deliberately kept away from the security aspect, and instead has focused on playing a more proactive and constructive role in terms of economic and political investment.

However, China has now began to assume a key role, particularly exploring avenues to help bring peace and stability to Afghanistan by providing necessary facilitation between the Afghan government and the Taliban in realising reconciliation, as well as help improve ties between Islamabad and Kabul, particularly through the establishment of the China-Afghanistan-Pakistan trilateral mechanism, which is dedicated to trilateral cooperation and cooperation, supporting and facilitate the Afghan peace process, enhancing regional connectivity and undertaking projects for regional development. Under the trilateral framework, there has been talk of exploring the possibility of extending the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to Afghanistan under the larger BRI initiative.

Ambassador Chaudhry said that trilateral meetings previously have failed to come to a logical conclusion. The security versus development dilemma has persisted and security has managed to be a priority. Focus on peace and stability and counterterrorism reign supreme and concurrently the development component involving trade and investment and a possible extension of CPEC. Ambassador Masood Khalid said that the three regional actors - China, Pakistan and Afghanistan have different capacities and different domestic and international environments in which they take their decisions. China is a behemoth - an emerging power, Pakistan is a developing country with a struggling economy, and Afghanistan is as yet war torn.

Ambassador Omar Samad said that when we discuss trilateral cooperation and regional stability we should keep in mind that it is very complex and involves a lot more actors. Prof. Lin Minwang said that China’s interest in Afghanistan is multifaceted, particularly in the avenue of counter-terrorism. Dr. Talat said that there is a convergence between Pakistan and China regarding peace, connectivity and prosperity in the region.