Pakistan ready to resolve disputes with neighbours through talks, says COAS

ISLAMABAD: Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa has said that Pakistan is ready to resolve all outstanding disputes with its neighbours through dialogue in a dignified and peaceful manner, stressing that this choice is deliberate and based on rationality, and not as a result of any pressure.
The Chief of Army Staff (COAS) said this while addressing the Islamabad Security Dialogue on Thursday.
General Bajwa said that it is time that synergies are created in South Asia through connectivity, peaceful coexistence and resource sharing to fight hunger, illiteracy and disease instead of fighting each other. He said stable Indo-Pak relations are a key to unlock the untapped potential of South and Central Asia by ensuring connectivity between East and West Asia.
He, however, regretted that the potential has remained hostage to the disputes and issues between the two neighbours. He said that without resolution of Kashmir dispute through peaceful means, the process of the sub-continental rapprochement will always remain susceptible to derailment due to politically motivated bellicosity.
He said that it is time to bury the past and move forward. He, however, said, “Our neighbour will have to create a conducive environment particularly in Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir for the resumption of dialogue process.” The Army Chief said that Pakistan has learnt from the past and is willing to move ahead towards a new future. However all this is contingent upon reciprocity.
The Army Chief said, “Despite being an impoverished region, we end up spending a lot of money on defence which naturally comes at the expense of human development.” He said Pakistan is one of the few countries which despite rising security challenges has resisted the temptation of involving itself in an arms race. He said Pakistan’s defence expenditure has rather reduced instead of increasing. This is not an easy undertaking especially in a hostile and unstable neighbourhood.
The Army Chief said that Pakistan’s robust role in the current quest for peace in Afghanistan is a proof of its goodwill. He pointed out, “Our close collaboration and crucial support for the peace process has led to the historic engagement between the Taliban and the US and paved the way for intra-Afghan dialogue.” He said that Pakistan will continue to emphasise on a sustained and inclusive peace process for the betterment of people of Afghanistan and the regional peace.
The Army Chief said that Pakistan has also undertaken unprecedented steps to enhance Afghan trade and connectivity by re-energising Afghan-Pakistan transit trade agreement and also providing access to Afghanistan to export its goods to India.
The Army Chief said, “Our efforts for peace in Afghanistan and responsible and mature behaviour towards India manifest our desire to change the narrative of geopolitical contestation to geo-economic integration.”
General Bajwa said, “Pakistan’s long campaign against terrorism and extremism also manifests our resolve and national will. We have come a long way and yet we are a bit short of our final objective. But we are determined to stay the course.”
The Army Chief said that Pakistan has begun to work towards sustainable development and improving economic conditions of underprivileged areas. He said that the Pakistan Army has contributed immensely towards this national cause by rebuilding and bringing to the mainstream some of the most neglected areas through massive development, besides ensuring peace and security.
The Army Chief said, “China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has been at the heart of our economic transformational plan. We have made sincere efforts to make the mega project inclusive, transparent, and attractive for all global and regional players with the aim of bringing its benefits to everyone.”
“I am sure that an economically integrated South Asia is much more suited to them instead of a war-torn, crisis-ridden and a destabilised zone,” he said. “Today the leading drivers of change in the world are demography, economy and technology. However, one issue that remains central to this concept is economic security and cooperation,” he said.
He further added that frayed relations between various power centres of the globe and boomeranging of competing alliances can bring nothing but another stint of the Cold War. “We also have a hope to inform a new US administration that can transform the regional contestation into a gainful economical win-win for the world in general and the region in particular,” the COAS added.
“South Asia can be the starting point of regional cooperation. I have a firm belief that human development can guide us into a future full of peace and prosperity and finally, it is time that we in South Asia create synergy through connectivity, peaceful co-existence resources sharing to fight hunger, illiteracy and disease instead of fighting each other,” said the Army Chief. – TLTP

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