PESHAWAR – Ambassador of China to Pakistan Yao Jing on Tuesday visited Area Study Centre for Russia, China and Central Asia, University of Peshawar for a round table conference on BRI, CPEC and Peace Prospects in Afghanistan.
The conference was attended by Gen (retd) Asad Durrani, Prof Dr Azmat Hayat, Rahimullah Yousafzai, Rustam Shah Mohmand, Brig (retd) Saad, Brig (retd) Mehmood Shah, Muhammad Abid, Pro-vice chancellor University of Peshawar, Dr. Zahid Gul, and faculty members and scholars.
The Ambassador of China to Pakistan said that China has comprehensive relations with Pakistan and CPEC is just a part of that. China wants to help Pakistan overcome the socio-economic under-development. Western parts of Pakistan particularly the less developed areas would be focused upon in the next phase of CPEC, the Ambassador said.
The CPEC related projects are purely demand driven and approved by JCC after submission by the Government of Pakistan. He furthered that Afghanistan’s role is central to the success of BRI and therefore peace in Afghanistan is essential for regional economic integration for shared growth and prosperity inter and intra-regionally.
The political settlement between the Afghan government and Taliban will have positive impact on the development of Afghanistan, region and regional integration.
He also said that China totally supports Pakistan’s efforts and role in the peace process of Afghanistan.
The Ambassador has already given his consent to provide financial assistance to the Area Study Centre, for establishing Chinese Language Lab and for holding international conference on BRI, CPEC and Trans-Regional Integration in April this year.
Earlier, in his welcome address Prof. Dr. Shabir Ahmad Khan, Director Area Study Centre said that the regional geo-economic and geo-strategic configuration has been changed.
Pakistan has overturned the inherited Frontier Policy and Russia across the Amu-Darya is rather a strategic partner now. The historical Russia-India convergence over Afghanistan has long been ceased.
America has lost power and influence over decision making in Pakistan while Russia has lost the same over decision making in India.
The only exception in this changed regional geo-political scenario is the ever green Pak-China relationship which is further augmented.
He said that China has been transforming the historical bilateral strategic and political relations into economic partnership through CPEC.
Though CPEC carries a strategic face also, the socio-economic under development is the weakness of Pakistan which the common adversaries can exploit and can afflict damage to Pakistan and CPEC.
He said that Pakistan hopes the transfer of technology, know-how and skill under the development of SEZs during the next phase of CPEC.
Regional integration is a pre-requisite to the economic rise of this region. It is said that Japan lost the status of second largest economy due to lack of quest for regional integration. The under-development of regional states is also mainly due to the lack of regional economic integration.
BRI and CPEC meaningfully address this issue of trans-regional integration by providing inter and intra-regional connectivity infrastructure for shared growth and prosperity.
However, peace in Afghanistan is a pre-requisite to merge it into BRI and CPEC for trans-regional integration. Negotiations are underway for a political settlement.
Pakistan and China are in close coordination over the process of conflict resolution in Afghanistan. If any settlement is reached upon, it will need continuous diplomatic, financial and political support from the regional states as real stakeholders in peace of Afghanistan.
A regional coalition of states surrounding Afghanistan i.e., Pakistan, China, Russia, Central Asian Republics and Iran will be instrumental in maintaining Afghanistan stable while keeping Saudi friends on board. Pakistan can provide training to Afghan diplomats, military and police.
Any such kind of training provided by India will have negative consequences for Pak-Afghan relations, particularly for Balochistan as India harbours rivalry to CPEC.
Permanent military basis of any state in Afghanistan would neither be conducive to the peace in Afghanistan nor to peace in the entire region as the history proves it, Prof. Shabbir added.