ISLAMABAD, JUL 26 (DNA) -“The emerging Eurasian super continent offers immense opportunities for Pakistan particularly in terms of connectivity, trade, energy and social sector cooperation.Relevant stakeholders specially the government institutions involved need to focus on Eurasia for broad-based collaborative arrangements with the major and emerging players on this super continent.”
These views were expressed in a roundtable discussion on “Pakistan: Towards a Comprehensive Policy Framework for Eurasia” organized by Study Circle on Eurasian Affairs (SCEA).
The session was chair by Dr. Talat Shabbir, Director, China-Pakistan Study Center (CPSC) at the Institute of Strategic Studies, Islamabad (ISSI).
Dr. Sheharyar Khan, professor at Iqra University underscored that this region has by large been a ‘security region’ but now the focus was turning towards connectivity, trade, and economic cooperation.
Several big economies such as China, Russia and Turkey fall in Pakistan’s immediate and extended neighborhood and unprecedented developments are taking place in and among these economies. He stressed that “newfound strategic warmness in Pak-Russia relations should be translated into solid economic and energy cooperation as well.”
Dr. Sarwat Rauf, professor at National University of Modern Languages (NUML) emphasized that connectivity and regional integration initiatives launched by China and Russia were increasing the significance of Pakistan as the country becomes a very important linkage in this emerging picture.
She emphasized that Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) would mean not only enhanced security cooperation but multiplied economic benefits for the region, including Pakistan, too.
Dr. Talat noted that China has become a major driving force vis-à-vis Eurasian connectivity, especially Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is bringing the countries of this vast region closer.
The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the flagship project of BRI brings Pakistan closer to China as well as Russia and Central Asian Republics (CARs). “Trade, commerce and investments should become Pakistan’s primary focus in this evolving situation”, he stressed.
Irfan Shahzad, the founding-convener of the Study Circle on Eurasian Affairs (SCEA) opined that Pakistan’s strategic location was being further manifested as the ‘fulcrum of Eurasia’, due to CPEC. Seeing Pakistan and China’s Xinjiang together, one realizes that “CPEC is all set to become truly a ‘Greater Eurasian Corridor’, he added.
Shahzad also shared that SCEA was fast developing collaborative academic projects with its academic counterparts in China, Russia, CARs and other countries of Eurasia.
The participants also emphasized upon enhancing people-to-people, academic, cultural, and media linkages with the counterparts in Eurasian countries. –DNA