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Foreign policy agenda 2019

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23.12.2018

UNLIKE its daunting domestic objectives, Pakistan’s external agenda, though challenging, is fairly clear. And, although overstretched, Islama­bad has the capacity in its Foreign Service and the ‘security establishment’ to address this agenda.

Building the Pakistan-China strategic partnership: China has the strategic motivation and financial, technological and weapons capabilities to help Pakistan emerge as a militarily strong and economically dynamic state. The substance and depth of the future strategic partnership will depend mainly on the ability of the Pakistan government and its private sector to conceive and execute cooperative projects and ventures with China. A special entity dedicated to timely and efficient implementation of CPEC could be decisive in realising its full potential.

Managing Sino-US rivalry: The Trump administration has designated China as a strategic competitor and opposes China’s Belt and Road Initiative including its flagship, CPEC. The US diplomatic and media onslaught against China and CPEC has intensified. In fact, China’s investment and infrastructure building can help stabilise the entire South Asian region including Afghanistan. With growing indications that Donald Trump wants a hurried withdrawal from Afghanistan, agreement on the role China can and should play in stabilising the region must become a priority for Pakistan’s regional diplomacy.

Pakistan should revive its traditional leadership role in the Muslim world.

Afghanistan: Pakistan and US positions appeared to converge recently as the US belatedly accepted the need for a political settlement in Afghanistan and opened direct talks with the Afghan Taliban which Pakistan facilitated. However, the entire........

© Dawn