The Institute of Strategic Studies, Islamabad hosted an In-House Meeting today with an 8-member Chinese Delegation representing the think tank community in China.
The delegation included Mr. Ye Hailin, Editorial Director, South Asian Studies, China Academy of Social Sciences (CASS); Dr Huang Rui, Research Fellow, China Center for Contemporary World Studies (CCCWS) IDCPC; Dr Shao Yuqun, Executive Director, Shanghai Institutes for International Studies (SIIS); Dr Lan Jianxue, Associate Research Fellow, China Institute of International Studies (CIIS); Dr Niu Xinchun, Director, Institute of ME Studies, CICIR; Mr. Qian Liwei, Research Professor, Institute of American Studies, CICIR; Mr. Ding Hao, Deputy Director, Academy of Military Science (AMS); and Dr Wang Xu, Assistant Director, Center for South Asian Studies (CSAS), Peking University.
Chairman Ambassador Khalid Mahmood welcomed the delegation and reiterated the importance of Pakistan-China relations for Pakistan. The Chairman was of the view that Pakistan is very eager to enhance ties with China and the signing of the formalisation of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has further strengthened links between the two countries.
The Director General ISSI, Ambassador Masood Khan said that Pakistan-China relations will grow stronger in the decades to come as our two countries implement China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). He suggested that Pakistan and China must develop deeper collaboration between think tanks, and steps in this regard can include exchange of articles, joint papers, and representation on each other’s editorial advisory boards. Moreover, he also shed light on the fact that the strength of Pakistan-China relations is also derived from the streets of Pakistan and China.
The Chinese delegation made comments and raised questions. Mr. Yi Hailin expressed his optimism about the CPEC and lay emphasis on the vigour and determination on the part of China to pursue this project. Members of the Chinese delegation were keen to know about the status of Pakistan-Afghan relations, the ISIS threat to the region and among others, the legal and constitutional status of FATA.
While responding to the questions, Ambassador Masood said that Pakistan is a confident country, and that it is pursuing the CPEC initiative with vigour and has resolved to make it a success.
With regard to the question on Afghanistan, he said that Pakistan does not make any distinction between good and bad Taliban, and that there are militants/terrorists on both sides of the border who need to be neutralised. The national government in Afghanistan is doing well, and will survive only if violence can be checked. As far as Pakistan’s relations with Afghanistan are concerned, there has been marked improvement in recent times.
Responding to a query about the presence of the ISIS in Pakistan, Ambassador Masood made it clear that the ISIS has not come to Pakistan, but there were some splinter groups that were using the ISIS franchise. That said, Pakistan would remain fully alert.
Talking about the constitutional status of FATA, Ambassador Masood said that the government of Pakistan is giving a great deal of thought to change the status of FATA, but only a legal process in this regard will not be enough. There needs to be infrastructural development along with the legal process.
Shedding some light on the situation in the Middle East, the Director General said that Pakistan has always tried to play a constructive role in the region and will continue to do so.
The Chinese delegation along with the ISSI team reiterated their resolve to take Pakistan-China relationship to new heights and also enhance relationship in areas like people-to-people exchanges, media cooperation, films, music, and the promotion of Chinese language in Pakistan.