It is indeed a great honour to share that , Ambassador Ali Siddiqui was invited by Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), one of the world’s leading international relations and national security think tank to speak on the scope of an evolving Pak-US relationship on November 22, 2019 in Washington D.C, United States.
The event was graced by senior scholars and policy influencers Daniel Runde and Seth Jones. The honored speakers conversed with Ambassador Siddiqui on various 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. Delegates from all genres including politicians, academics, and policy makers were present at the event.
Areas for an economic partnership, in sectors such as energy and agriculture, were identified along with developments in, and potential for, tourism in Pakistan. Efforts of the Government regarding recent opening of the Kartarpur corridor for followers of the Sikh faith was highly appreciated by the hosts. Ambassador Siddiqui gave examples of telecommunication services in Pakistan an industry that has experienced immense growth to the benefit of numerous international investors and stated how many interested US companies have missed out on opportunities in Pakistan against their competitors in Europe and Asia. 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 one of the core topics of 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.
Ali J. Siddiqui expressed his views and enunciated that Pakistan offers tremendous economic growth. He further expressed 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. Moving on, Mr. Siddiqui further narrated 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.
The event was concluded with a vote of thanks to Ambassador Siddiqui. Mr. Siddiqui accredited 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.