Thursday, June 13

ISSI holds second round of Dialogue with ASEAN Committee in Islamabad (ACI)

ISSI holds second round of Dialogue with ASEAN Committee in Islamabad (ACI)

ISSI holds second round of Dialogue with ASEAN Committee in Islamabad (ACI)

The Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI) held the second round of dialogue with ASEAN Committee in Islamabad (ACI) comprising heads of missions of ASEAN member states in Islamabad. The ASEAN delegation was led by the current ACI Chair, Ambassador Maria Agnes M. Cervantes, Ambassador of the Philippines to Pakistan. Ambassador Sohail Mahmood, Director General ISSI, led the ISSI side.

In his opening remarks, Ambassador Sohail Mahmood highlighted the special significance Pakistan attaches to ASEAN as part of its “Vision East Asia.” While noting ASEAN’s standing as a global economic powerhouse and a successful model of regional cooperation, he underlined Pakistan’s growing engagement with ASEAN member states, both bilaterally and on the institutional plane. Among other things, he noted that the two-way trade volume between Pakistan and ASEAN had reached $ 11.8 billion, highlighting the potential for further growth with the $3 trillion economy of the region. Tracing the history of Pakistan’s Sectoral Dialogue with ASEAN he emphasized the efforts being made for its elevation to Full Dialogue Partnership status.

Ambassador Sohail Mahmood also highlighted the initiatives taken by the ISSI for promoting Pakistan-ASEAN relations, which include establishing a first-of-its-kind “ASEAN Corner” in the ISSI Library last year. For the future, the Institute plans to organize activities that help raise awareness about ASEAN and its global significance, strengthen mutual trade ties and economic collaboration, and promote academic and research linkages as part of people-to-people contacts.

Earlier, Dr. Talat Shabbir, Director, China Pakistan Study Centre ISSI, stated that Pakistan and ASEAN share a longstanding and robust relationship. Pakistan’s strategic location as a bridge between South Asia and the Middle East complements ASEAN’s focus on trade and connectivity. Furthermore, the collaboration between Pakistan and ASEAN extends to diverse areas including agriculture, education, counterterrorism and development.

Ambassador Maria Cervantes emphasized that the cooperation between Pakistan and ASEAN is important. She acknowledged the importance Pakistan attaches to Full Dialogue Partnership with ASEAN and assured support in Pakistan’s efforts as well as those of the ISSI in this regard.

During the wide-ranging discussion on agenda points, it was agreed that deepening Pakistan-ASEAN cooperation across diverse domains — political and security, economic, and socio-cultural — was the most desirable pathway. It was further agreed to focus on special publications, promote exchanges between respective business communities, and strengthen links between think-tanks on both sides.

The other members of the ASEAN delegation included Ambassador Nguyen Tien Phong, Ambassador of Vietnam; Mr. Aung Kyaw Thuya, Charge d’ Affaires of Myanmar; Mr. Rahmat Hindiarta Kusuma, Charge d’ Affaires of Indonesia; Mr. Mohd Syafik Hassbullah, Charge d’ Affaires of Malaysia; Mr. Khairurrijal Hazim, Charge d’ Affaires of Brunei Darrusalam; and Ms. Gob Kamola, Charge d’ Affaires of Thailand.
Ambassador Khalid Mahmood, Chairman Board of Governors ISSI, delivered concluding remarks at the dialogue.

Sub-Editor: Arslan