October 27, 2020
The Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI) took part in a webinar organized jointly by the Asia Committee, Argentine Council for International Relations (CARI) and the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan in Argentine titled “Pakistan’s Perspectives.” The speakers at the webinar included Ambassador Eduardo Sadous, Director Asia Committee, CARI, Ambassador Rodolfo Martin Saravia, former Ambassador of Argentine to Pakistan, Ambassador Dr. Muhammad Kalid Ejaz Pakistan’s Ambassador to Argentine, Ambassador Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry, Director General, ISSI, Ora. Ua Rodriguez de la Vega, Coordinator CARI, Ms. Nazish Afraz, Member Adjunct Faculty, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, LUMS, Ambassador Khali Mahmood, Chairman BoG, ISSI, and Juan Miguel Massot from CARI.
In his opening remarks, Ambassador Sadous stated that Pakistan and Argentine have a lot in common and both of the nations need to come closer. In order to achieve closer ties, Pakistan and Argentine should build their relationship on political, economic, and academic ties. He was of the view that economic relations are extremely important for both the countries and in this regard Pakistan can prove to be a great gate way for Argentine to the region through its road infrastructure as well as the Gwadar Port that can be an important tool through which Argentinean exports can reach out to China and Central Asia.
Expressing his views, Ambassador Rodolfo stated that Pakistan needs to put Argentine on its map and Argentine needs to put Pakistan on its map for which both the nations should plan to encourage easy access and traveling including regular flight service between the two nations. Similarly, better understanding can be created by exchange and interaction of people as well as through cooperation and collaboration between different institutions. Furthermore, there is a need to rejuvenate agreements between the two countries on science and technology as well as agriculture which are important areas for both. He reiterated the importance of Gwadar Port for Argentine as it can provide it better connectivity to China and the region.
Ambassador Khalid Ejaz was of view that the world is changing fast and the technological advancements have transformed the geo-political landscape. Use of technologies have brought countries across the globe together and have provided ease of interaction through multiple means. He highlighted that in the past few months, Pakistan and Argentine bilateral relations have progressed significantly. Pakistan and Argentine have recently held a meeting and the way to move forward bilaterally was the main thrust through trade and other arenas. As a result, both agreed to hold a joint trade commission meeting that was lying stagnant for the past many years.
Ambassador Aizaz highlighted the geo-political trends throughout the globe. He was of the view that the world order that was created after World War II is crumbling; multilateralism is on the retreat giving rise to unilateralism. US is no longer the sole superpower as many power centers are emerging around the globe leading towards a multi-polar world order, with China taking a prominent place as a global player. US has embarked on an ‘America first’ approach, a trend adopted by others as well. While the world is seeing an increase in protectionism and nationalism, the most defining feature of the changing world order is the major power competition between the US and China and Asia has become the epicenter of this power projection. He stressed that Pakistan wants to maintain a balance in its relations with China and the US. Another challenge for Pakistan is to balance its relations with India which is going through an internal convulsion of becoming a Hindu state. He also pointed out India’s illegal annexation of Kashmir in 2019 by abrogating its special status.
Ms. Rodriguez talked about the bilateral relations between Pakistan and Argentine and the nature of geo-politics. The formal relations between the two were established in 1951 and have developed ever since through official and business delegations and numerous agreements. Both the countries have signed agreements that provides framework of alternate meetings and consultations in a number of fields including science and technology, fisheries, trade, agriculture, livestock, and economic consultation.
Ms. Afraz spoke about the bilateral trade between Pakistan and Argentine. She said that the trade that exists between Pakistan and Argentine is little and underdeveloped and this phenomenon has not changed much in the past many years. Pakistan main exports to Argentine are textiles, which has not changed in the past 20 years. Similarly, Argentine exports to Pakistan consist of agricultural produce which has not changed much over the course of many years. She highlighted that Pakistan and Argentine trade more in each other’s neighborhoods than bilaterally which reflects under performance by both.
Mr. Miguel also spoke on the bilateral trade between Pakistan and Argentine. He was of the view that there is significant difference between the overall GDP, population and GDP per capita between the two. He stressed that there is a general lack of trade presence of Pakistan with Argentine but also with the Latin American region. However, the level of trade can be increased between the two by introducing bilateral knowledge as well as business culture.
In his concluding remarks, Chairman BoG, ISSI, Ambassador Khalid Mahmood stated that the day is of significance for three things: re-establishing links between the two organizations, occasion for meeting old and new friends, and exchange of views on bilateral and business relations. He also highlighted the issue of Kashmir, stating that Pakistan is not averse to dialogue with India to resolve the dispute of Kashmir. While negotiations are one of the peaceful methods, but since bilateral dialogue has so far not been able to resolve the issue, one should consider other methods of settlement as stated in the Article 13 of the United Nations Charter, including inquiry, conciliation, arbitration and judicial settlement.