Pak­istan wants good re­la­tions with In­dia: Fatemi

The Pak Banker - - NATIONAL -

Spe­cial As­sis­tant to Prime Min­is­ter (SAPM) on For­eign Affairs Syed Tariq Fatemi has said that Prime Min­is­ter Muham­mad Nawaz Sharif's poli­cies based upon fos­ter­ing good ties with In­dia were well known and hoped that very soon a meet­ing at the for­eign sec­taries' level would take place, paving way for the be­gin­ning of for­mal di­a­logue.

"There is noth­ing hid­den about it. He (Prime Min­is­ter) pub­licly says he wants good re­la­tions with In­dia and this has been his be­lief for many years," he said in an in­ter­view with the Global Times (GT), Bei­jing dur­ing his re­cent three-day visit to China. Re­spond­ing to a ques­tion, Fatemi said that when­ever Prime Min­is­ter Sharif came into power, he reached out to the In­dian lead­er­ship and tried to ini­ti­ate a di­a­logue process.

"The im­por­tant thing is that if there is even the slight­est hint of an in­ter­est in co­op­er­a­tive re­la­tions com­ing out of In­dia, we are ready to re­spond," the daily quoted the SAPM on For­eign Affairs. "Nei­ther coun­try can af­ford a re­la­tion­ship of ten­sion and hos­til­ity," he added.

To a query re­gard­ing peace process in Afghanistan, he said both Pak­istan and China as neigh­bours of Afghanistan were all in­ter­ested in peace and sta­bil­ity of the en­tire re­gion. China had al­ways been a pow­er­ful fac­tor in pro­mot­ing peace and sta­bil­ity in the re­gion, Fatemi added. He stressed that they had to sit down and de­ter­mined how the peace ad rec­on­cil­i­a­tion process in Afghanistan could be fur­ther pro­moted af­ter US and NATO forces draw­dawn.

He said they had told Afghan Pres­i­dent Ashraf Ghani that he was the le­git­i­mate elected head of the state of Afghanistan and he along­with his team had to de­ter­mine what ini­tia­tive they wanted to take, so any pro­posal for re­gional peace and sta­bil­ity should be Afghanowned and Afghan-led.

"As neigh­bours and friends of Afghanistan, we are will­ing and ready to play a sup­port­ing role. Ghani has to lead the way and we are there to pro­vide the nec­es­sary sup­port and as­sis­tance," he added. He said in the Heart of Asia con­fer­ence in Is­lam­abad, it was de­cided that peace and rec­on­cil­i­a­tion process in Afghanistan should be pro­moted and as­sisted by the quadri­lat­eral con­sul­ta­tive group. About the China-Pak­istan Eco­nomic Cor­ri­dor (CPEC), the Spe­cial As­sis­tant to PM said that it was a part of the vi­sion of "One Belt, One Road" that was pre­sented by Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping to his na­tion. He said that it would not only bring pros­per­ity to Pak­istan, but also ben­e­fit the en­tire re­gion. The pro­ject in­cluded three ma­jor ar­eas of ac­tiv­ity, one re­lated to en­ergy projects, the se­cond to in­fra­struc­ture projects, and the third be­longed to the Gwadar Port.

He said out of cur­rent to­tal pack­age of about $46 bil­lion, $35 bil­lion were en­vis­aged for en­ergy projects, in which Chi­nese com­pa­nies would col­lab­o­rate with Pak­istani com­pa­nies to set up power plants, be­cause power short­age was the big­gest chal­lenge that Pak­istan faced.

The other $11 bil­lion would be loans ex­tended by Chi­nese fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions, he added. About Gwadar port, Fatemi said the lo­ca­tion of Gwadar made it an ideal port for all-weather op­er­a­tion as it sat at the mouth of the Gulf. "The port is also ideally suited for both en­try and exit of items that are of in­ter­est to Pak­istan, to China and to the en­tire re­gion," he added. He said China and Pak­istan would jointly build an in­ter­na­tional He said Pak­istan was cre­at­ing a spe­cial force of roughly 10,000 highly trained peo­ple who would pro­vide the nec­es­sary safety and se­cu­rity to the Chi­nese.

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