South Asia’s security needs to be prioritized in its own rights, not as a subset of the Indo-Pacific Strategy: Ambassador Masood Khan

Diplomatic CircleSouth Asia’s security needs to be prioritized in its own rights, not...

WASHINGTON DC: Pakistan’s Ambassador the United States Masood Khan has said that “Pakistan is key to South Asia’s security. It is in the strategic interest of both the United States and Pakistan to remain productively engaged.”

“The USG has cast off the Indo-centric approach towards Pakistan, yet South Asia’s security needs to be prioritized in its own right, not as a subset of the Indo-Pacific Strategy,” he said in his remarks at Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) on “The Future of Pakistan and the US-Pakistan Relations” in Washington DC.

   

The event was hosted by Senior Vice President CSIS Daniel Runde. Former Ambassador Robin Raphel gave her opening remarks.

Addressing a hybrid session, attended by members of the think tank community, former ambassadors and opinion makers and also viewed online by thousands of viewers, Masood Khan said “Pakistan should be a meeting point, not a battleground for the United States and China. Both countries are most welcome to invest in Pakistan in the areas of their respective competencies and competitiveness.”

The ambassador said that over the past two years, Pakistan and the US have consciously fostered congruence in their relations and we would continue to build on this new threshold.

“Pakistan and the United States, in the current phase, are developing a new steady rhythm for their relations, not buffeted by the cyclical patterns of highs and lows,” he said.

“In the past two years, we have made progress in creating a template for vigorous cooperation. We held more than a dozen high level dialogues last year and this year we are preparing for higher level political, economic, trade, counter-terrorism and defense dialogues,” he added.

Masood Khan also highlighted the role of Pakistan’s strong diaspora, estimated at 1 million, who were building bridges between Pakistan and the United States.

The ambassador said that the US was a big investor in Pakistan where 80 American enterprises, most of them Fortune 500, were profitably running their businesses. He also pointed out that the US private sector was also investing in ICT and alternate energy; and, in the near future, its share in solar and wind power generation would grow.

The envoy said that IT, agriculture, energy and critical minerals, as prioritized by Special Investment Facilitation Council (SFIC), were offering huge opportunities to the US investors to enhance their investments in Pakistan and reap dividends of a business-friendly regime in the country.

“Pakistan is sitting on a treasure trove of minerals. We have some of the largest reserves of copper, gold, lithium, rare earth elements, manganese, nickel and cobalt. We invite investors to help extract these minerals and process them for industrial use along the value chains,” he said.

Pakistan qualifies to become the member of the Minerals Security Partnership (MSP), stressed the ambassador.

Answering a question, Masood Khan said that more investment in Pakistan were needed in next 20 years and through Pakistan to West Asian hemisphere. He said that USAID, DFC, Exim Bank and Trade Development Authority could play a catalytic role in this regard.

“Restoration of the General System of Preferences by Congress will open doors for Pakistani products,” said the ambassador.

Ambassador Masood Khan said that American decisions on the restoration for Pakistan of military sales and military financing and supply of critical equipment to keep the strategic balance and fight the raging threat of terrorism was being awaited.

Referring to recent UN Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Report which has established that Al Qaeda was training Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan in eight camps in Afghanistan to support their cross-border attacks in Pakistan, Masood Khan said that ISIS-K and TTP attacks were a potent threat to Pakistan, the US and its allies. “We must have a coordinated strategy to eliminate it,” he said.

Earlier, the former Ambassador Robin Raphel in here remarks observed that Pakistan would remain a country of consequence which the US should strive to understand and cultivate as a strong partner.

Robin Raphel also highlighted various challenges being faced by the country including economic issues and climate change that she opined needed to be addressed on priority.

During discussion session Senior Vice President of CSIS Daniel Runde suggested provision of greater opportunities to Pakistani students and also underscored the need for the US government to consider fulfilling Pakistan’s requirements for meeting its security needs.

Ambassador Masood Khan thanked US think tanks and experts who have advocated for stronger US-Pakistan relations steered by diplomacy and focused on continuity of security cooperation, regional stabilization and people-to-people exchanges. He also thanked CSIS for hosting him and providing him with an opportunity to share his views.

Mati
Mati
Mati-Ullah is the Online Editor For DND. He is the real man to handle the team around the Country and get news from them and provide to you instantly.

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