Minister Fakhar Imam calls for further strengthening the ties; Senator Mushahid advocates enhanced academia and people to people cooperation
Ansar M Bhatti
ISLAMABAD, SEPT 29 (DNA) – Federal Minister for Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam has said Pakistan and Indonesia have a long standing relationship, which is based on mutual trust and friendship. He said both our countries share many commonalities. Indonesia is the largest Muslim state while Pakistan happens to be the 2nd largest Muslim country.
Syed Fakhar Imam expressed these words on the occasion of 76th Independence Day reception and 54th Asean Day, organized by the Indonesia embassy.
Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed, Chairman Senate Defence Committee also attended the event as the guest of honour. Members of the diplomatic corps, business fraternity and media also attended the event.
Syed Fakhar Imam thanked the Indonesia government for extending scholarships to Pakistani students adding the exchange of youths can surely cement brotherly bonds between the two countries. The minister also stressed the need to expand cooperation between the two countries in the field of agriculture.
He also shed light on Pakistan-ASEAN relations adding ASEAN provides a huge market for Pakistani products and vice versa. Currently Pakistan is the Sectoral partner of ASEAN and member of ASEAN regional forum. He said will try to take this engagement to a higher level.
Senator Mushahid Hussain in his speech said he had a unique relationship with Indonesia because his father served in Indonesia as Pakistani’s defence attaché and thus he spent his early life in Indonesia. Senator Mushahid added, both countries have a lot of things in common. Both have been part of Western colonialism; both have witnessed scourge of terrorism. He stressed to take this relationship forward.
The ambassador of Indonesia Adam Tugio in his remarks said, this year marks the 76th anniversary of the Independence of Indonesia. ‘I am glad that Indonesia has continued to keep steady momentum of progress and development since independence in 1945 despite formidable challenges’.
He further said, Indonesia now is the largest economy in Southeast Asia with a GDP of almost 1 trillion dollars; the most populous Muslim country; the 3rd largest democracy in the world and home to one of the best historical and tourist sites in the world;
The ambassador added, Indonesia was committed to deepening and broadening cooperation with the international community in a range of areas including economic, cultural and educational links, counter-terrorism planning, climate change and interfaith relations;
Indonesia and Pakistan share strong socio-cultural and religious bonds rooted in history. The bilateral relationship between the two countries is characterized by feelings of mutual trust, respect and goodwill towards each other.
He said Pakistan holds great importance as a trusted friend and reliable development partner of Indonesia in South Asia. Fostering the excellent bilateral diplomatic ties and strong bonds of friendship has always been the priority of the top leadership from both sides.
He further said, we have been doing extensive efforts despite pandemic challenges to expand the level of bilateral cooperation in all areas of mutual interest. Happily, we have seen improved trade figures, progress of political and defense ties, better connectivity among think tanks and academics of two sides and development of socio-cultural ties as a result of our joint endeavors.
Ambassador Tugio said, The year 2021 also marks the 54th ASEAN Day, which is celebrated on 8 August every year. ASEAN is one of the leading models of regional cooperation and reflects the combined spirit of the Association to contribute positively in the global community.
Since its founding in 1967, the ASEAN has kept the positive momentum of gradual but steady growth. The region has frequently been referred as a symbol of economic development and regional integration;
At present, ASEAN countries have a population of above 600 million and a combined GDP of around USD 3 trillion dollars making it the next economic hub of world trade.
With this background, the importance of a stronger ASEAN-Pakistan cooperation is manifold. I believe that developing a mutually rewarding and comprehensive relationship between ASEAN-Pakistan holds great significance in the light of ongoing geo-economic and geo-strategic situations and formation of new regional alliances.
Since ASEAN is the fourth largest exporting economy in the world, contributing 7% percent to the total value of global exports, the expansion of trade linkages and people-to-people contacts would be very beneficial for Pakistan. The ASEAN states appreciate Pakistan’s “Vision East Policy” and look forward to a more constructive partnership with Pakistan.
He said, the presence of large Muslim diaspora in ASEAN countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, and Brunei can also play a crucial role in stimulating the friendly relations. Moreover, the fast-expanding ASEAN economies offer lucrative investment opportunities in growing sectors of E-commerce, healthcare, science and technology, tourism and IT for a mutually rewarding association. Therefore, fostering the ASEAN-Pakistan economic and diplomatic engagement must be a priority for both sides to gain the benefits of integration and cooperation.
“To this end, ASEAN Committee in Islamabad has taken several initiatives in collaboration with think tanks, universities and the business community and other partners to create more awareness about opportunities of economic growth, investment, people and land of our diverse region. I am pleased to see the presence of the representatives of these important stakeholders here tonight – together with diplomatic communities of ASEAN Dialogue Partners and Development Partners — to commemorate this auspicious occasion’.=DNA