A relationship beyond realm of diplomacy

Updated: 2015-05-30 07:43

By Muhammad Nawaz Sharif(China Daily)

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The recent visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to Pakistan has surely been instrumental in exponentially expanding bilateral relations and elevating them to a new level of abiding strategic cooperation that holds the promise of not only serving the geopolitical, economic and security interests of both countries, but also the South Asian region and Central Asia.

We in Pakistan feel proud of aligning with the new Chinese vision for regional connectivity and shared economic prosperity, to be realized through the revival of the old Silk Roads (with the Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st Century Maritime Silk Road) and building of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. These are epoch-making initiatives dictated by the phenomenal economic progress of China and changing regional and global realities fraught with throwing open infinite opportunities to exploit the hitherto untapped resources for shared economic gains. The completion of the projects under the umbrella of the CPEC will have a revolutionary impact on the economic profile of Pakistan and go a long way in changing the lives of people of the four provinces the corridor passes through, as rightly pointed out by President Xi during his visit to Pakistan.

The CPEC will turn Pakistan into an economic hub for the region with all the accompanying benefits on perennial basis. China would also benefit from this undertaking in many ways and be in a much better position to expand its commercial interests at the global level by securing the shortest possible access route to the Arabian Sea and import oil for its industrial machine at a much lesser cost and time. It would indeed be a win-win situation for both China and Pakistan and the other countries of the region. Pakistan is a naturally endowed country. Its geostrategic location connecting three main sub-regions of Asia provides it with a unique advantage. We feel proud that this unique factor will help our friend like China in furthering its economic and strategic objectives.

Pakistan currently is engaged in a decisive war against terrorism that poses a great threat to peace, security and tranquility in the region, affecting almost all the regional countries to varying degrees. Pakistan being a frontline state in the war against terrorism, and having suffered colossal economic losses in this war and endured its negative impact on the security situation in the country, understands and appreciates China's concerns about the security challenges in its Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region as a consequence of the terrorist activities of East Turkistan Islamic Movement.

We stand by China in combating the ETIM threat. The security interests of Pakistan and China are interconnected, and we appreciate the endorsement and support expressed by the Chinese president in regard to our efforts in tackling terrorism and the resolve to work together to confront this common challenge both at the bilateral level and through cooperative efforts of the other countries of the region.

Pakistan firmly believes in peace for development, and my government has been striving hard to pursue this objective and I am glad that this initiative has tremendously helped in improving relations with Afghanistan and an ambience of cooperative relations based on mutual trust has been evolved, especially in regard to combating terrorism. Pakistan supports the process of Afghan-led and Afghan-owned process of reconciliation in Afghanistan and believes that peace in Afghanistan is key to surmounting security challenges of the region as well as unleashing the economic potential for shared economic prosperity.

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