Fostering stability

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The recent trilateral discussions among the Foreign Ministers of China, Pakistan and Afghanistan hold immense significance in both the regional and global context as the world nations have been grappling with a range of security as well as geo-political challenges.
China, being the economic powerhouse of the region, has been playing an increasingly important role in regional development and has invested heavily in infrastructure projects, including the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project and the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which aim to enhance regional connectivity and promote economic growth.
Pakistan and Afghanistan, on the other hand, have been facing a host of security challenges, including terrorism and extremism. The two countries have also been trying to enhance their economic ties to promote stability and growth in the region.
Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang and Afghanistan’s acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Mutaqqi have rightly focused on the need to strengthen security cooperation and counterterrorism efforts for the collective benefit of the entire region.
Although the three countries have reiterated their commitment to working together to combat terrorism and extremism, which remains a significant threat to the region’s stability and development, serious efforts are needed to enhance trade and investment, particularly in the areas of energy, agriculture and infrastructure.
It is worth-mentioning here that for the past two decades, China has kept a low profile in Afghanistan, focusing more on resource and material mining than on peace brokering. However, since the chaotic withdrawal of US-led forces from Afghanistan and Taliban’s takeover, China has assumed an increased responsibility in maintaining regional stability.
It is evident from the events unfolding in the last few months that that the US withdrawal gives China access to Afghanistan and strengthens its Belt and Road Initiative. Although, Beijing has made little advancement on its current investments in Afghanistan and is wary of getting bogged down in an unstable environment. But the current trilateral meetings would be the first initiative toward materializing this plan.
No doubt, the meetings have provided a unique opportunity for the three countries to explore ways to strengthen regional stability, cultural exchanges and people-to-people contacts to enhance understanding and build trust among the three countries.
It is hoped that these meetings will lead to tangible outcomes that will benefit the people of the three countries and the region as a whole.