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.