The 14th ECO Summit and Pakistan’s Vision

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The 14th ECO Summit has been started in which all the 10 members of the organization are participating. The theme of the current summit is Regional Economic Cooperation in the Aftermath of Covid-19. Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, has inaugurated the summit. While sharing Pakistan’s perspective on Covid-19 challenges, PM Khan elaborated his vision for regional economic development in line with ECO’s founding principles of promotion of trade and connectivity. Mr. Khan presented a six-point agenda for the organisation to take up as a strategy for the future. First, he said, we need to recover from the losses caused by the pandemic. “We must use all local and internal resources for the purpose,” he added. Secondly he said that we must adopt a plan to build a resilient healthcare system to combat outbreaks such as the Covid-19 in the future. Third, there is a need to build an integrated network and transport system between the major economies in the east, west, south, and the north. He termed the linking of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to Afghanistan and beyond as vital. Fourth, all cross-border projects must be implemented especially the TAPI and other gas pipeline projects. Moreover, PM Imran said that, “The nations must tap into mutual trade potential and increase it 10-fold. And this can be done by simplifying border procedures and making ECO trade agreements operational. The wealth generation projects are also important to strengthen economy. And lastly, we must promote knowledge-based economies and enhance expenditure on research, development, and digitalisation. PM Khan also discussed other important issues such as Islamophobia and suggested responses to resolve these issues.

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