By M. Asadur Rahman
Our leadership’s vision of transformed Pakistan is centered around economic security. The main emphasis has shifted from geopolitics to geo-economics.
New vision is focused on optimally utilizing Pakistani geo-economic location and centered on economic security via three pillars:in domain of connectivity.
Pakistan offers a gateway and shortest route to international seas to landlocked Central Asian republics, Afghanistan and West China.
China-Pakistan Economic Corridor will be utilized as the epicenter of regional connectivity.
Pakistan is also ready to consider East-West connectivity between the Middle East and South Asia, including India.
Pakistan offers economic bases and investment hubs to the world as its future is connected with economic success.
Our new tools are economic, science, public and digital diplomacy.
To realize peace within and beyond the boarders, Pakistan is striving for peace, prosperity and connectivity.
It also aims to consolidate its hard won gains against terrorism.
Transformed Pakistan is looking for genuine mutually beneficial economic partnership instead of aid.
We ask the world for regional peace and development seeking partnership as a development strategy and easing of pressure by the international community.
New dynamics of competition between countries are emerging in the expedition for promoting regional connectivity.
Several economic corridor projects are being pushed by different countries in South Asia to advance their respective interests.
Pakistan and China are promoting the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, a North-South trade and transit corridor for enhancing connectivity and regional integration.
Regional countries in response are advancing separate connectivity projects.
South Asia being energy-efficient region can derive benefits from the CPEC by using Central Asia’s huge gas and oil resources.
The economic corridor will connect China to the world and will have a significant impact on regional economies as its role in bringing prosperity to the region.
South Asia needs to connect with CPEC to derive benefits of the project, which is spanned largely on yielding investment and economic opportunities.
With CPEC, Asia would attain the confidence and ability to sustain a medium growth rate.
Innovative, coordinated, green, open and shared development which is focused on implementing of the strategy of innovation driven growth.
South Asian states to make SAARC a vibrant and viable organization to reap the advantages of regional connectivity schemes such as China’s One Belt, One Road initiative.
All SAARC members countries are blessed by the nature with fertile lands, young population and mineral wealth.
Due to certain differences among the member countries, these resources could neither be fully explored nor developed to play their expected roles.
The ratio of intra-regional trade among SAARC countries is hardly 5% of the total trade. A serious initiative is required to start intra-regional coordination, investment promotion, industrial cooperation and movement of goods with out stringent tariff and non-tariff barriers.
SAARC-CPEC cooperation will also reduce the severity of bilateral issues among regional states.
(M. Asadur Rahman, PhD, International Islamic University, is currently working as a Research Fellow at the Muslim World Research Center (MWRC) Malaysia.)