A Round Table was organized by the Center for International Strategic Studies (CISS) at the CISS premises Islamabad on “Current Regional Geo-Strategic Outlook”. Renowned Pakistani analyst and former ambassador Dr. Maleeha Lodhi was the speaker on the occasion. Dr. Lodhi began with an overview of the emerging strategic trends at global and regional level and their implications for Pakistan. Highlighting significant developments in the regional politics she opined, ISIS, Islamic movement in Iraq and Syria, has further hardened the sectarian fault lines which were already very hard. It will have domino effect, and instability will increase in the already volatile region. Commenting on the recent assertiveness of China and Russia, she said, gas deal worth $400 billion between the both countries, is an event which marks return to geo-politics in the region which is guided by geo-economics. Although US is still a global power but its capacity to shape world events is eroding. Pivot to Asia is uncertain but Chinese still view it as containment. Similarly, transitions are occurring in our neighborhood. US will leave Afghanistan by 2016, as it intends to implement ‘zero-option’. After ISAF forces leave, responsibility will fall on the regional states to ensure security and stability in the ensuing uncertain environment. Commenting on relations with Delhi, Dr. Lodhi opined, though Modi government has taken a good start, but Pakistan needs to be mindful of the national security team Modi has selected. Pakistan should adopt policy of wait and see, before making any overtures because we cannot be sure of what regional strategic outlook will precisely be. For these reasons geo-politics in the region is in influx. She concluded that Pakistan cannot go alone through the trouble situation lying ahead and must work in concert with regional countries. But Pakistan must first stabilize internal security situation and focus on its economy to respond effectively respond to these external uncertainties. In this context, Dr. Lodhi supported the decisive step taken by the government to take action against the militants. Round table was attended by members of academia, think tank representatives, foreign-policy making establishments. An interactive and stimulating question and answer session followed Dr. Lodhi’s talk during which the participants asked a number of questions. Executive Director CISS Ambassador Ali Sarwar Naqvi, thanked Dr. Lodhi for her perceptive insights and valuable analysis.
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