The second round of the US-Pakistan Bilateral (Track-II/I.5) Dialogue was held in Islamabad on April 5-6. The first round of this series of interactions was held in Washington, DC on January 3-4 earlier this year.
The dialogue is an initiative of the Regional Peace Institute (RPI) and it is being implemented in collaboration with the Wilson Centre.
The initiative has been made possible through the generous support and encouragement of the US Embassy, Pakistan.
The dialogue was held under the umbrella theme of “Convergence amid Divergence: Identifying Pathways to Cooperation in a Challenging Environment”. In addition to the inaugural session, four working sessions were held discussing the following sub-themes:
- Shifting dynamics, emerging alliances and widening economic connectivity – Can US-Pakistan relations adjust to South-Asia’s new geopolitical realities?
- Squeezed between internal strife and external pressure – Can there be a mutually agreeable endgame for peace in Afghanistan?
- Managing militancy – Opportunities and limits of US-Pakistan counter-terrorism cooperation
- Overcoming shadows from the past – How can economic assistance to Pakistan work best for both countries?
The delegates from the US included Richard Boucher, Robin Raphel, David Smith. Tricia Bacon and Michael Kugelman. Pakistan was represented by Dr. Ashfaque Hasan Khan, Ambasasdor Ashraf Jehangir Qazi, Ambassador Mohammad Sadiq, Traiq Khosa and Raoof Hasan.
Additionally, another twenty-five people representing a variety of backgrounds attended the two days of deliberations. They included former diplomats, former army officers, media personnel, economists, professionals and civil society activists.
The talks were held in a candid and positive environment. In the process, a vast and meaningful resource of ideas and mechanisms was gathered that could help reshape the relations between the two countries. This input was in areas where the two countries have worked and continue to work together as also in areas marked by a difference of perceptions where more work needed to be undertaken
The principal stress was on continuity of engagement between the two countries at multiple levels. It was agreed that, only through pursuing the process of bilateral inclusiveness, the US and Pakistan would move to further strengthening their historic relations dating back to decades.