UFA, RUSSIA: Speaking at the seventh BRICS summit, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said on Thursday that Pakistan’s fighting against terrorism was not solely for Pakistan’s safety but for the whole region.
“Pakistan's fight against terrorism, including the military operation (Zarb-e-Azb), is not merely for the protection of Pakistan but it is equally critical for the whole region as well as international community,” Nawaz said.
Addressing the BRICS Outreach meeting, the premier also shed light on Pakistan’s sacrifice during the the war on terror, in terms of both human and economic losses, adding that it had not weakened Pakistan's resolve to fight extremism and uproot terrorism.
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“We remain absolutely determined to take this campaign to its logical conclusion in order to achieve our objective of a peaceful and prosperous region.”
He suggested a four-pronged approach encompassing people-to-people contact, confidence-building in peace and security, trade and regional connectivity among the BRICS countries for uplift of their people.
“One, promote mutual understanding, cooperation and goodwill through cultural and academic interaction as well as people to people to contact.
“Two, to promote confidence, confidence building in peace and security is an essential element for shared prosperity.
“Three, promote bi-lateral and regional trade in the commerce coordinate to introduce cohesive laws, reduce tariff and non-tariff barriers, and ease the movement of people and the merchandise across the border.
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“Four, promote connectivity by investing in regional infrastructure that is investment in better transport networks including roads, motorways, railways and air and sea links.
"We are grateful to our host, President Vladimir Putin and the government of the Russian Federation, for bringing SCO and BRICS member community together under one roof. This would go a long way in promoting inclusive and synergetic approach to economic development," he remarked.
Concluding his speech, the prime minister asked those present to commit to work together towards peace and development in the region and beyond while embracing the true spirit of collaboration and cooperation.
"Pakistan's economic growth has remained steady. We have unveiled "Vision-2025", to provide a solid platform for the revival of sustainable and inclusive growth. The potential growth sectors such as infrastructure, power and natural resources, are open to large scale investments," he said.
Earlier, Nawaz reached Ufa, Russia to attend the Shangai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit.
During his two-day visit, PM Nawaz is expected to hold meetings with leaders participating in the summit from across the world, including Russian, Chinese and Afghan presidents as well as his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi.
Regarding the premier's meeting with Modi, a Foreign Office spokesperson said, "Pakistan has responded positively to a suggestion from the other side for a meeting between the two leaders on the sidelines of the summit."
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Reiterating that it has always been PM Nawaz’s policy to seek cordial and cooperative ties with all neighboring countries, including India, the spokesperson added, "It is in the pursuit of this objective that the prime minister would be meeting the Indian premier for a comprehensive exchange on all issues of common interest.
The meeting between Nawaz and Modi comes against the backdrop of escalating tensions between the two nuclear-armed neighbours. Recently, the relations got strained due to a series of controversial statements made by India’s top political leadership.
The official said the two prime ministers are expected to review the current situation and look into the possibility of some kind of engagement between the two neighbours. Pakistan, however, is not hopeful of any major breakthrough given the track record of the Modi administration, said another official.