Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), one of the world’s leading international relations and national security think tank, invited Ambassador Ali Siddiqui to speak on the scope of an evolving Pak-US relationship that looks beyond common security interests.
Senior scholars and policy influencers Daniel Runde and Seth Jones engaged in a series of conversations with Ambassador Siddiqui on topics including the limited scope of the current US-Pak relationship, future of economic partnerships, CPEC, and regional connectivity at the CSIS headquarters in Washington.
The events were attended by politicians, academics, and policy makers.
Areas for an economic partnership, in sectors such as energy and agriculture, were identified along with developments in, and potential for, tourism in Pakistan. The hosts appreciated Government of Pakistan’s efforts in the recent opening of the Kartarpur corridor for followers of the Sikh faith. Ambassador Siddiqui observed that many interested US companies have missed out on opportunities in Pakistan against their competitors in Europe and Asia. He gave the example of telecommunication services in Pakistan an industry that has experienced immense growth to the benefit of numerous international investors. He mentioned many more similar opportunities related to increased regional connectivity with Central Asia that continue to be available for exploration.
CPEC and the Pak-China relationship was a topic of detailed discussion. The hosts shared aspects of negative view held in US when it comes to CPEC. The Ambassador while relaying Pakistan’s perspective also addressed common misconceptions that fuel the negative opinion. While talking about its openness the Ambassador elaborated that US companies such as General Electric were also benefitting from CPEC.
During a session dedicated to envisioning a broader Pakistan US relationship, not limited to security interests, Ambassador Siddiqui contributed that Pakistan offers tremendous economic growth. He stated that a partnership that benefits from economic cooperation, profit, technology exchange and shared regional interests would be in the greater strategic interest of both nations. The Ambassador added that it was time to stop looking at Pakistan through a limited third country prism, whether it be India or Afghanistan.
Mr. Runde observed that, if considered impartially, Pakistan shares the league of Brazil and Indonesia when it comes to population and potential, and thus the bilateral relationship between Pakistan and the US must encompass the multidimensionality enjoyed with other similarly large nations. Ambassador Siddiqui acknowledged the positive direction set during the summit and following meetings between President Trump and Prime Minister Imran Khan, highlighting the steps being taken to build upon multidimensional relationship. Ambassador Siddiqui also presented Pakistan’s support of the peace process in Afghanistan and opportunities post peace for Pakistan and the US.
The event closed with a vote of thanks to Ambassador Siddiqui.