One-day international conference on “China, Pakistan & Russia: Regional Stability and Dividends for Peace” was organized by Pakistan House on Wednesday, February 07, 2018 at a local hotel in Islamabad. The conference mainly focused on finding out common grounds for promoting integration between China, Pakistan and Russia. The speakers stressed that CPR relationship will be more influential, as their abilities complement each other. Russia is an alternate source for Western military technology and energy supplier, China is economically more powerful than the other two, with considerable foreign exchange reserves looking to invest in different sectors. Moreover, Russian support to Pakistan is significant because it implies that Russia will no longer give preferential treatment to its historical friend India. Their strong relation is very important for the sustainable peace and stability in the region.
The dignitaries of the conference included General Zubair Mahmood Hayat NI (M), Chairman Joint Chief of Staff Committee, General Ehsan ul Haq (Ret.), HI (M) NI (M), former Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, H.E. Alexey Y. Dedov, Russian Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, H.E. Yao Jing, Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan, Ambassador (Retd.), Salman Bashir, Former Foreign Secretary of Pakistan and the High Commissioner of Pakistan to India, Dr. Zafar Nawaz Jaspal, Associate Professor, School of Politics and International Relations, QAU, Islamabad, Lt. Gen Asif Yasin Malik (Retd.), Former Secretary of Defense, Colonel (Retd.) Oleg V. Kulakov, Professor, Military University, MoD, Russian Federation, Dr. Shabana Fayyaz, Assistant Professor, Defense and Strategic Studies Department, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad, Ambassador (Retired) Khalid Mahmood, Chairman, ISSI, Islamabad, Lt. Gen Khalid Rabbani (Retd.), Former MD, Army Welfare Trust, Ambassador (Retd.) Hasan Javed, Director, Chinese Studies Centre, S3H, NUST, Islamabad, Professor Dr. Shahida Wizarat, Dean CESD & Head of Economics Department, IBA, Karachi, Mr. Imran Ghaznavi, Senior Executive Director, OGRA and Mr. Andrew Korybko, Political Analyst and Program Host at Radio Sputnik (in private capacity).
The chief guest General Zubair Mahmood Hayat NI (M) in his opening remarks stated that China, Pakistan and Russia nexus is an interesting and significant development. He argued that China’s peaceful rise through economic development plans and Russia’s diplomatic cooperation has strengthened Pakistan’s Position in the recent tough scenario. He opined that Pakistan, China and Russia relationship offers great hope for stability in the volatile region. He added that Pakistan-Russia-China (PRC) relationship is a mutually beneficial construct and is a stabilizing factor in Asian security architecture and holds great importance that promotes balance of peace and harmony. He highlighted the potential areas of cooperation which include: stability in Afghanistan, combating terrorism and economic projects and the ties within these areas will mature with time both in scale and scope. He concluded that PRC offers right opportunities for development.
Russian Ambassador H.E. Alexey Y. Dedov argued that Russia and Pakistan should further build on its military partnership. With regards to China, he added that SCO provides a significant opportunity for cooperation in terms of terms of economic domain for China, Pakistan and Russia.
H.E. Yao Jing stated that Pakistan, China and Russia give great importance to regional cooperation and economic integration. He argued that China wants to work for peace based on mutual respect, honor and sovereignty and wants to take the route of cooperation and coordination. In the wake of current transnational challenges cooperation must move forward in form interregional connectivity. Talking on Afghan peace process he argued that China is working for Afghan reconciliation process and common grounds exist for cooperation between China, Pakistan and Afghanistan. China, Russia and Pakistan should work on framing a long-term cooperative strategy as they share common goals of promoting regional stability and development.
Ambassador (Retd.) Salman Bashir stated that Pakistan needs to work closely with China, Russia and the US in working on stability, development and peace in this region. The three states should cooperate in evolving a viable framework for development of Afghanistan, with full cooperation of Afghanistan and all Afghan political actors.
Talking about Geographical Significance of Pakistan: Multi-polarity and Regional Peace Dr. Shabana Fayyaz argued that Pakistan holds a key to a stable and prosperous South Asia. It is geo-graphically placed at a critical juncture of inter-sectional regional zones and underestimating its geo-strategic significance will add to regional dis-order. US must realize that Russia-Pakistan-China interaction pattern is not a negative development and India is not the sole powerhouse in the region. In nutshell, multi-polarity is the trend of a sustainable future and not uni-polarity based on hegemonic designs specifically relating to South Asia.
Dr. Zafar Nawaz Jaspal stated that Russia and China are facing biggest threat i.e. terrorism. To eliminate terrorism joint cooperation is required and SCO is the major platform for that. He said that alliance politics is resurfacing and this is drifting Russia, China and Pakistan towards each other economically, militarily and strategically.
Discussing China’s Soft Power and Regional Stability Ambassador (Retd.) Hasan Javed stated that the 21st Century has catapulted once again Pakistan to a new level of geo political and geo economic importance. Fifty States are interested to be part of CPEC – the new Suez Canal of the 21st Century. The Route to Peace and Prosperity in South Asia, West Asia, Central Asia and the Gulf Region all goes through Pakistan.
Professor Dr. Shahida Wizarat while debating about economic integration and regional cooperation and dynamics of Pak-Russia relations said that Pakistan and the Russian Federation have to devise a strategy on how to get around the sanctions which have become a big stumbling block to expansion of relations between the two countries. She stated that Pakistan, Russia and China have strong strategic interests, but at present economic relations are limited. In order to strengthen strategic interests of the countries greater economic integration is required.
Debating about Pak-Russia Relations: Geo-strategic Threats and Dividends for Peace, Colonel (Retd.) Oleg V. Kulakov identified that Pakistan and Russian bilateral relationships are significantly improving. Since cold war, relations have transformed into close bilateral relations. Pakistan shares strategic interest with Russia as well as these interests also span around economic projects. Regional security can significantly affect RCP economic activities therefore they should find out solution for regional threats.
Exploring Pakistan, China and Russia Cooperation: Energy and Human Security, Mr. Imran Ghaznavi specified that Russia is the largest producer and exporter of natural gas and oil in the world. Cooperation between the two countries in the energy sector can benefit Pakistan a lot and can provide energy security in this politically and strategically volatile region. Energy security is main pillar of any country’s national policy. He stated that this cooperation could be in the exploration and production sector as there is huge potential for exploration in Pakistan. Pakistan can consider cross border pipeline as South Asia is considered to be major energy consumer in the coming years.
Director General Pakistan Houses concluded that Pakistan is facing challenges in regional stability due to India. He stressed that Pakistan needs to become part of international security and cooperation regimes. Pakistan should further work on strengthening its bonds with two most important world powers i.e. China and Russia, as it would provide stability to Pakistan both in strategic and economic terms.