Addressing an eminent gathering of scholars, academics and foreign and defence policy practitioners at the Stanford University on 4 September, Ambassador Jalil Abbas Jilani spoke about the dynamics of Pakistan-US relations and its impact on South Asian Security. This high profile event was co-chaired by former Secretary of State George Shultz and former Secretary of Defence William Perry.
Ambassador Jilani noted that despite the occasional challenges, the relationship between Pakistan and the US has continued to grow because of its inherent strength and realization that a mutually beneficial partnership was in the interest of both the countries. Ever since the democratic transition in Pakistan, the relationship was on a stable and upward trajectory and the regular and frequent high level exchanges between the two countries were helping in deepening and broadening bilateral cooperation in all areas. Ambassador added that the revival of the Strategic Dialogue framework had in particular provided a platform to further intensify cooperation in the whole range of areas covering economy and finance, defence, counter-terrorism, energy and non- proliferation.
Explaining the emerging threats to peace and security in South Asia, Ambassador Jilani argued that a mutually beneficial relationship between Pakistan and the US is also critical to promoting peace and stability in the region and beyond. Ambassador Jilani recalled how Pakistan’s role in facilitating the US China contacts in the 1970s led to the eventual establishment of diplomatic relations between the two major powers and helped promoting peace in the broader Asia Pacific region.
In the post 9/11 context, Ambassador underlined that Pakistan’s unprecedented sacrifices in the war against terrorism, its efforts to eradicate terrorism from the region through the ongoing military operation in North Waziristan, consistent support for the democratic process and peaceful transition in Afghanistan and positive overtures to improve relations with India were a manifestation of Pakistan’s sincere commitment to strive for peace and stability in the region. Ambassador, however, noted Pakistan’s disappointment over the recent Indian decision to call off the Foreign Secretary level talks which caused a set back to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s efforts to promote a peaceful environment in the region for economic development.
Highlighting multiple areas of convergence between the two countries in socio-economic development, peace and stability in the region, Ambassador Jilani stressed the need for continued cooperation between Pakistan and the US on the basis of mutuality of trust and interests to sustain the positive momentum in the relationship.
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