Issue Brief on “13th ECO Summit: A Comparative Analysis”

The 13th ECO summit held on March 1, 2017 in Islamabad is being perceived as a success because of its focus on connectivity for regional prosperity. Delegates from nine countries met in Islamabad to confer and review the performance of the regions falling under ECO.[1] It was unfortunate that the Afghan President Ashraf Ghani nor his foreign minister chose to attend the summit. Though the Afghan ambassador to Pakistan Omar Zakhilwal was present at the event, the huge rift could still be felt. Along with the ECO members, a special guest from China Mr. Zhang Yesui (the vice minister) was also part of the event.[2] Focusing on the pros of the summit, President of Pakistan Mr. Mamnoon Hussain in his inaugural address said that “ECO is a gateway towards success and this particular summit will enhance trade and strengthen the ties between all the members of ECO.”[3]

At the summit Mr. Nawaz Sharif presented the leitmotif of the 13th ECO summit which was “Connectivity for Regional Prosperity.” During his welcome speech Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said that:

“The ECO can be an example of a regional association, which touches upon and enriches the lives of our people. What makes the theme of connectivity for regional prosperity especially relevant is that more countries in this region are already investing largely in connectivity projects.”[4]

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