ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has said that Pakistan’s economy can achieve a growth rate of nine per cent if it fully benefits from the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
He was speaking at an international maritime symposium titled, ‘Impact of BRI on the geo-economics of the Indian Ocean Region (IOR); prospects for Pakistan, the region and beyond’ on Monday.
The symposium was organised by Bahria University’s Institute of Maritime Affairs.
The prime minister said that CPEC and the connectivity it provided were critical for economic growth of the country, but emphasised that hard work would have to be put in to exploit the potential of this vital trade corridor
He reminded attendees of the symposium about the huge network of six-lane motorways and multi-lane secondary routes that the country was developing to achieve that objective.
Mr Abbasi said that maritime sector had to play a crucial role in availing this great opportunity that had come Pakistan’s way in the form of CPEC and one that envisioned regional connectivity and unimpeded trade.
He also spoke of the untapped potential of Pakistan’s ‘exclusive economic zone’, which he reminded was almost 40 per cent of the country’s land mass.
About maritime concerns, the prime minister said: “We are well aware of security concerns of the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).
“There is a need for collaborative response mechanism to deal with security threats to keep the IOR economically a thriving region,” Mr Abbasi said.
He commended the role the Pakistan Navy and other armed forces were playing to ensure maritime security.
Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi said that IOR had been a global geo-political chessboard and one of the core drivers of the world’s prosperity. However, he said, over the past few decades, it had witnessed a seismic shift at the geo-strategic level, adding that while this shift was initially security focused, the Belt and Road Initiative was transforming it into geo-economics.
He called for attending to traditional and non-traditional security threats that necessitated effective security, proactive diplomacy, well-considered economic policies and risk management as important ingredients to exploit and sustain the pace of development and potential growth.