International Relations is all about exploring diplomatic possibilities, taking fruitful initiatives and building on productive co-operations with other countries. Pakistan’s foreign policy is currently actively working on all these three counts. The incumbent Government is following this comprehensively formulated promising foreign policy so to obtain maximum benefits to serve National interests and enhance Pakistan’s stature in the comity of nations.

At the outset of his tenure Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif extended a good diplomatic gesture and took the bold initiative of visiting India for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s sworn in ceremony. This gave a clear message to the international community and to the newly elected Government of India that the first and foremost priority of Pakistan’s government is reliance on peaceful, meaningful and conciliatory approach towards all fellow countries. This was very much in line with Pakistan’s traditional foreign policy, which is inherently and fundamentally pacific in its outlook, with strong, unequivocal devotion to the defense of the country at its core.

Recent escalation of tensions in past few months between the two countries because of Line of Control (LoC) violations and the hostile verbal onslaught by the Indian government and leadership has been internationally criticised. The botched Indian military claims about surgical strikes inside Pakistan have been met with a strict response from our civil and military leadership. Our civil and military leadership has time and again made it clear to the Indian army and authorities that Pakistan’s defence is in iron hands and any mischief will be disastrous for India.

On the western side of the border also, our government’s vision of peaceful and productive reconciliation is gaining momentum and is rendering positive results. Ever since the assumption of the government, the Prime Minister has paid special attention towards Afghanistan. Our civil and military leadership has duly attended to this vital security and stability challenge in the neighbouring country of Afghanistan. Peacefully stable and secured Afghanistan is not only beneficial for its own sake but is also an essential prerequisite for durable regional and international peace. Pakistan is playing its due role by facilitating the reconciliation process between Afghanistan’s government and the Taliban. Years of international warfare have testified that there is no aggressive solution for the perennial dilemmas of Afghanistan. An atmosphere of mutual trust and goodwill intentions by all concerned parties is an important pre-requisite for enabling the peaceful efforts and cooperation fruitful for resolution of all internal and external outstanding issues. International community especially China, America and Russia have acknowledged and appreciated Pakistan’s facilitative role in the process. Pakistan hosted in Muree a meeting between members of Afghanistan Peace Council and representatives of Taliban. Recently Pakistan, Russia and China had a meeting to put their heads together to sort out a stable peace solution for Afghanistan.

Pakistan no doubt wields effective and useful contacts with all the key stakeholders of Afghanistan. Our government and military leadership is adequately channelising these contacts to progress on the road of peace for Afghanistan. Meanwhile the antagonising, hostile forces are also on their way to sabotage peace efforts. Our civil and military leadership is sincerely interested in fostering realistic, peaceful and meaningful solutions for Afghan problems. Since decades Pakistan has been a generous host of the world’s largest refugee’s population of Afghanis, apart from security concerns Pakistan is equally eager to build an environment for a reliable civic structure in Afghanistan so that return of Afghan refugees may be repatriated.

Deeper into the western border, Russia and Central Asian countries are also measuring well in the government’s current foreign policy. Pakistan is promisingly marching ahead with its cooperative relation with Russia. There have been several higher level diplomatic contacts between the two countries, working actively in weighing possibilities for increased cooperation in defense. The first ever bilateral level consultations between Pakistan and Russian Foreign Service officers were held recently in Islamabad on the issues of regional peace. There are reports that a high level visit by the Russian authorities is in the offing. Russian authorities have also responded well and offered assistance to Pakistan for the resolution of the energy sector crisis. SCO membership with visible consent of Russia is a historically remarkable diplomatic achievement of our foreign policy. The inclusion in to the SCO is an acknowledgement of Pakistan’s vital contributions towards fostering peace in the region. Moreover, this has provided another platform for both India and Pakistan to discuss and formulate solutions for regional security challenges through peaceful diplomatic tools. China has contributed for SCO membership entitlements for both the countries.

China remains, of course, a continuous important focal point of our foreign policy. The mega project of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is rightly termed as a game changer. The route of the CPEC will pass from all provinces and will trigger meaningful development and great economic activity. The CPEC is not merely a road route rather it is accompanied by several useful developmental projects. The varied projects proposed for CPEC have the capacity to fully utilise the rich natural resources and other potentials of the local areas along the route. Now there are reports in the media that Russia is also showing keen interest over inclusion in to the CPEC.

The government is working well to make its foreign policy productively responsive towards the pulse of international relations. This will certainly enhance Pakistan’s international stature along with positively supporting economic and developmental growth of the country.