‘Pakistan would welcome all countries in South Asia including India as partners in CPEC’

In a one day international conference held in Istanbul, Turkey titled ‘Connectivity: Road to Peace’, it was noted that Pakistan would welcome all countries in the region, including India, as its partners in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project. India, as a larger country in the region, must inspire confidence among its neighbours by building mutual trust and harmony and resolving disputes with its neighbours.

“Peace in Pakistan is essential not only for peace in Afghanistan, but also for economic development of entire South Asian region, said Omer Farooq Korkmaz, Chief Advisor to the Prime Minister of Turkey, for Middle-Eastern Affairs, at the conference held under the auspices of Lahore Center for Peace Research (LCPR), in collaboration with its Turkish counterpart, South Strategic Research Center (GASAM).

Conference also marked the 10th year of Independence of Kosovo. Valdrin Lluka, Minister of Economic Development of Kosovo, stated that Kosovo is a small country but has powerful friends such as Turkey and Pakistan, which were amongst the first few countries to recognize Kosovo.

The Conference was co-chaired by Pakistan’s Former Foreign Secretary Shamshad Ahmad Khan, Chairman LCPR and Cemal Demir, Chairman GASAM. Other co-sponsors included the Turkish Asian Center for Strategic Studies (TASAM), Pakistan Alumni & Members Association (PAMDER), and Pak-Turk Friendship Foundation. This was the first-ever Pak-Turkish joint-venture devoted to the cause of peace in today’s turbulent global environment marked by endemic conflict and economic disparities.

The conference deliberations were focused on how regional, inter-regional, and cross-border linkages can be fostered to support the promotion of peace, trade and economic integration. Dr. Salman Shah, Pakistan’s Former Finance Minister, emphasized that Pakistan and Turkey are pivots of trade, in their respective regions. The consensus view at the conference was that such linkages could be conduits for peace and harmony, regionally as well as globally. Further, to find peace with ourselves, we need to find peace with air, nature and land, stated Dr. Albena Refki Reshitaj, Minister for Environment and Spatial, Kosovo.

The envoys in Ankara, Ambassador Avni Spahiu of Kosovo, and Ambassador Syrus Sajjad Qazi of Pakistan, highlighted that Pakistan’s geo-strategic location and geo-political potential entail a prominent role in fast-changing global environment, because it is located at intersection of four major regions driving global economic growth – South Asia, China, Central Asia and the Middle East.

Chairman LCPR, Ambassador Shamshad Ahmad Khan summed up the findings of the final panel discussion by stressing that an enabling environment of peace and harmony was necessary for promoting regional and inter-regional economic cooperation. In this connection, he highlighted the role of Pakistan as a pivotal link in China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), that of Turkey as a peace hub for the neighboring region entangled in disorder, and that of Kosovo as the fulcrum for stability in Balkans and Central Europe.

Participants agreed that peace and development go hand in hand, and nothing can pave the path for peace and security more than economic development through regional cooperation. In this connection, the conference also recognised the importance of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) as a major factor of peace and prosperity across Eurasian regions.

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