Focus shifting from geopolitics to geoeconomics, says FO

Published April 3, 2021
Amid ongoing controversy over the idea of resumption of trade relations with India, the Foreign Office has said that the concept of national security is under review. — Photo courtesy RadioPak/File
Amid ongoing controversy over the idea of resumption of trade relations with India, the Foreign Office has said that the concept of national security is under review. — Photo courtesy RadioPak/File

ISLAMABAD: Amid ongoing controversy over the idea of resumption of trade relations with India, the Foreign Office has said that the concept of national security is under review.

“While fully resolved to protect Pakistan’s national security interests, our emphasis is shifting from geopolitics to geoeconomics,” Foreign Office spokesman Zahid Hafeez Chaudhry told a weekly press briefing on Friday.

He said the concept of national security was also undergoing a review with economic security being at its centre.

He, however, made it clear that there was no change in Pakistan’s principled position on the Jammu and Kashmir dispute which remained anchored in the relevant UN Security Council resolutions.

Spokesman says Islamabad’s principled position on Jammu and Kashmir dispute stays unchanged

When asked to comment on the reported role of the UAE in facilitating backchannel talks between India and Pakistan and to confirm if it was true that the new US administration and other countries were pushing Pakistan to engage with India, he said Pakistan had never shied away from talks with India and it had always underscored the need for a ‘meaningful dialogue’ and peaceful resolution of all outstanding issues with India, including the core issue of Jammu and Kashmir.

“We believe that durable peace, security and development in the region hinge on peaceful resolution of the long-standing Jammu and Kashmir dispute,” he remarked.

He said Pakistan’s desire for regional peace had been clearly spelt out by Prime Minister Imran Khan on a number of occasions that “if India takes one step towards peace, Pakistan will take two”.

“The recent statements by our leadership are a further reflection of Pakistan’s desire for peace and security in the region. However, the onus is now on India to create a conducive environment for meaningful and result-oriented dialogue.”

He did not respond to a question if the Foreign Office was involved in the ECC’s decision to allow import of certain goods from India, and just referred to the federal cabinet’s decision to defer the Economic Coordination Committee’s decision to allow import of sugar, cotton and cotton yarn from India.

He also referred to the foreign minister’s remarks after the cabinet meeting that normalisation of relations with India would not be possible without India reversing its unilateral actions of August 5, 2019.

In reply to a question about the Modi government’s directives to hoist Indian flag on all government buildings and establishments in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir, Zahid Hafeez Chaudhry said this step was in continuation of India’s illegal and unilateral actions of August 5, 2019, to perpetuate its illegal occupation of the territory.

“These illegal and unilateral actions by the Indian government have been rejected by the Kashmiris and by Pakistan. The international community, including the United Nations, international human rights and humanitarian organisations and the global media, have been vocal in their condemnation of India on account of the grave human rights situation in IIOJK,” Mr Chaudhry said.

Published in Dawn, April 3rd, 2021

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