14th ECO Summit

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Prime Minister Imran Khan inaugurated the 14th summit of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) held on 4th March. It is an ad hoc organization working under United Nations charter, founded by Pakistan, Turkey, and Iran in 1985. There are total of 9 members of the Organizations including founding members, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, and Central Asian Republicans. The main purpose of this forum is to work for trade and investment between the members and other regional states. The central idea behind this economic organization was the development of a single market. The recent summit themed as, “Regional Economic Cooperation in the aftermath of Covid-19” was chaired by Turkish President Recep Tayyep Erdogan. It was a virtual summit because of the pandemic and revolved around the economic devastations following Covid-19 because it ruptured the politico-economic structure of the nations.

PM Imran khan highlighted the capacities and capabilities of the developing states. He unfrocked his five-point agenda to provide relief to the developing states so that they can easily combat covid-19. Economic activities were extremely disturbed by the Pandemic and still, the situation is not normal. He emphasized the regional connectivity to enhance commercial activities in the region. There are multiple projects related to energy and other fields experiencing a delay due to the pandemic. Turkey, Iran, and Pakistan re-initiated their cargo train project which will connect these three countries and trade will surge.

In the contemporary scenario, Pakistan is suffering severe economic challenges. There is a need to initiate several transnational economic projects which will create new avenues for revenue generation. Pakistan is an energy desperate state whereas, Central Asian Republicans are energy-rich states and both parties can get benefit from each other in their respective areas. Peace is an ultimate condition for smooth economic progress; in this regard, PM Imran also mentioned that Pakistan and other regional States are eager to maintain peace in Afghanistan. Peace in Afghanistan is a prerequisite for regional integration otherwise it will be a distant dream.

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