China, Pakistan and Afghanistan: Regional Perspectives, Future Prospects, February 9, 2014, Islamabad
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RPI Conference on “China, Pakistan and Afghanistan: Regional Perspectives, Future Prospects”
Date: February 9, 2014
Leading up to the looming US drawdown from Afghanistan and its implications for the region, the Regional Peace Institute organized a conference under the umbrella theme of “China, Pakistan and Afghanistan: Regional dynamics, Future Prospects” on February 9,2014 at the Marriott Hotel, Islamabad. The two sub-themes of the Conference were the following:
Regional Perspectives on US Drawdown in Afghanistan
Prospects of Pakistan-China Collaboration in Afghanistan
DECLARATION AT THE CONCLUSION OF THE CONFERENCE “CHINA, PAKISTAN AND AFGHANISTAN: REGIONAL PERSPECTIVES, FUTURE PROSPECTS” AT ISLAMABAD ON SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 9, 2014
Speakers stress the need for regional peace and cooperation
Through decades, South-Asia has been riddled with conflicts and warfare most of which could and should have been avoided. Consequently, the people of the region languish in poverty and backwardness while their counterparts in other parts of the world have taken gigantic leaps on the road to progress and emancipation.
The tragedy is that even after reaping the adverse dividends of many conflicts, the countries of the region remain smitten with a gnawing trust-deficit which has restrained the harnessing of their resources and energies towards desirable common objectives. Of late, there have been some encouraging developments in terms of taking fledgling steps on the road to removing the simmering doubts that have kept neighbours apart. The need is to strengthen this forward movement and give it the much-needed impetus in terms of creating more commonality of interests and objectives and work towards bringing the governments and the people of the region together in the much desirable pursuit of peace.
With this objective in mind, the Regional Peace Institute organised a Conference on the theme of “China, Pakistan and Afghanistan: Regional Perspectives,
Future Prospects” at Islamabad on February 9, 2014.The sub-themes of the
Conference were “US Drawdown 2014: Regional Perspectives” and “Prospects of Pakistan-China Collaboration in Afghanistan”.
Mr. Sartaj Aziz, Advisor on Foreign Affairs and National Security was the Chief Guest at the Conference.
The Conference was widely attended by a large number of ambassadors, academics, professionals, representatives of think-tanks and people who share the broad vision of working for peace in the region. The keynote speakers from Pakistan included Mr. Aziz Ahmad Khan, Lt. Gen. (R) Asad Durrani, Mr. Shamshad Ahmad, Lt. Gen. (R) Talat Masood, Senator Mushahid Hussain and Dr. Azmat Hayat Khan. Madam Chen Huaifan, Mr. Wang Zuoquan and Mr. Zhu Fagen were the keynote speakers from China.
The speakers concurred that the region desperately needed peace for it to concentrate exclusively on investing in the welfare of its people. This needed a peaceful resolution of conflicts between all countries of the region and for which each country shared equal responsibility.
The emerging situation in the wake of the US drawdown in 2014 was an extremely sensitive development in the region. It was the responsibility of all the regional countries, in particular the neighbours of Afghanistan, to coordinate their efforts so that peace could prevail and no outside forces could exploit the situation to the detriment of regional interests. Mutual understanding and cooperation among the countries of the region was, therefore, absolutely vital to ensure the same.
The speakers from China highlighted the time-tested non-interventionist policy of their country and stressed on the need that Afghanistan had to play a key role to strengthen the prospects of peace in the region. The countries of the region, particularly China’s neighbours, needed to extend support to an Afghanistan-crafted and Afghanistan-focussed strategy for maintaining peace.
The terrorism and extremism factor in the region was also dealt with in detail by the speakers. It was termed a scourge which needed to be combated effectively. For this to happen, close and continuing cooperation among the countries of the region was required. It must be ensured by all countries that their soil was not used for launching terrorist attacks.
The speakers also stressed on the need for further developing and promoting the economic stakes among the countries of the region. In this context, the vast potential that existed needed to be probed. The proposed China-Pakistan Economic Corridor could play a defining role in strengthening the economic bond among the countries of the region.
The speakers at the Conference were unanimous that it was only through enhanced cooperation and collaboration among the countries of the region that the dream of peace could be realised and work initiated to ensure the progress and prosperity of the teeming millions who have languished in the realm of poverty for an excruciatingly long time.