Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on Saturday said intra-regional trade and connectivity was crucial for sustainable economic development of Asia and the Pacific region.
The finance minister also extended unequivocal support to One Belt and One Road — a giant initiative undertaken by China for economic progress and prosperity.
“Pakistan fully supports the One Belt One Road Initiative,” said Dar while expressing his views over the reservations voiced by Indian Finance Minister Arun Jailtly on the vision of connectivity during a debate on Trade, hosted by CNBC.
He added that such a gigantic leap was pressingly needed to address the economic challenges as well as persisting issues in a lasting manner.
President Asian Development Bank (ADB) Takehito Nakao and Indonesia Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati were also participants of the debate along with finance ministers from Pakistan and India.
In response to a question during the debate, the Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitly had stated that in general terms the idea of connectivity was good, however India had reservations in this regard and he would not like to get into further debate on this issue at this forum.
Describing the connectivity as vital, Dar said that ADB has a greater role to play in this regard to achieve ultimate economic goals and objectives.
The minister said the world was now a global village and no region could economically survive in isolation, therefore cooperation, coordination and connectivity were badly needed to ensure economic development in the region.
The finance minister was of the view that ADB was well-positioned to play an effective role in fostering intra-regional trade and promoting financial integration and connectivity for mutual benefits.
He further said another important initiative — China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) — had been initiated which would ensure economic cooperation among China, Pakistan, Afghanistan, India and Iran but would also pave level playing course for all in terms of economic dividends.
Dar added the economic approach of connectivity was also aimed at eliminating protectionism, abolishing barriers and facilitating trade.
“Vision of economic and financial connectivity within the region and beyond and the One Belt and One Road and CPEC would help translate the idea of connectivity into reality.”