Pakistan to ‘Look East’
its bargaining power will be maximized. Independently, ASEAN countries are small; together, they are a force to be reckoned with.
Pakistan may utilize the trade and investment relations between US-ASEAN and ChinaASEAN. In addition, with Pakistan granting India the MFN status, the easing of tensions could lay the foundation for better access to the Indian markets and beyond. The importance of India lies in the country’s established role in the Asia Pacific region. Pakistan has also sought inclusion in ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) and ASEAN.
Moreover, in response to global financial crisis, UN’S Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) is promoting eco-efficient connectivity in the Asia-pacific region through a five pronged approach that encompassed improved transport routes, a “paperless trading system”, investment within the region, energy security and social protection.
The UN’S work on the Asia Pacific Trade Agreement as well as the Asian Highway and Trans-asian Railway are cornerstones of this strategy. The 114,000 kilometres of railway would link countries from Singapore to Turkey and 142,000 kilometre road network connecting 32 Asian countries with Europe.
The ASEAN countries have also vowed to introduce one visa regime for citizens from countries outside ASEAN by 2015 (Similar to Schengen visa in the European Union). The Asia-pacific region enjoys multi-trillion dollars in foreign exchange reserves, enabling the region to balance it with emerging investment opportunities in regional infrastructure and public goods