The Center for Afghanistan, Middle East and Africa (CAMEA) at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI) hosted a webinar on the Islamabad Tehran Istanbul Freight Train: Prospects for Regional Connectivity. The webinar was moderated by Ms. Amina Khan, Director, Centre for Afghanistan, Middle East and Africa. Director General ISSI, Ambassador Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry and Chairman, Board of Governors, Ambassador Khalid Mahmood also participated in the discussion. The speakers included Ambassador Syrus Sajjad Qazi, Ambassador of Pakistan to Turkey, Mr. Ali Anser Zaidi, Deputy Head of Mission Embassy of Pakistan in the Islamic Republic of Iran, Nawabzada Feroz Khan, Director HBCO, Ambassador Mashallah Shakeri, Former Ambassador of the Islamic Republic Iran to Pakistan, Mr. Deniz Istikabal, Economy Researcher at SETA, Mr. Akbar Khodaei, Focal Person for ITI Train at the ECO Secretariat, Islamic Republic of Iran, and Mr. Ali Abdollahi, Head of International Organizations Group International Affairs Department Iranian Railways.
Ms. Amina Khan, Director CAMEA, in her opening remarks, stated that the ITI Train was envisaged in Vision 2025 of the ECO, which suggests an increased degree of trade amongst intra-regional countries. The ITI Train is an initiative towards regional economic integration, which provides countries with alternative routes and helps create economic interdependence and reduces the chances of irritants between them. She went on to say that The ITI brings with it immense opportunities for all three countries as it opens doors for fast paced trade for Turkey, Iran and Pakistan. For instance, Turkey enjoys superior technology and is intertwined with Europe; Iran has a large energy resource depository; and Pakistan not only has abundant labour but can serve as a potential gateway, she stated.