LAHORE - The first round of discussions between the Lahore Council For World Affairs (LCWA) and the visiting scholars of the China Foreign Affairs University ( CFAU ) was held at the Lahore Gymkhana  Monday, a press release said.

The Chinese delegation, comprising of Prof Shi Yi Dean from the Department of English and International Studies, Prof Gao Shangtao from Institute of International Relations and Prof Ren Yuanzhe of  Department of Diplomacy and Foreign Affairs Management, reached Pakistan on December 8 on the invitation of LCWA a Lahore- based think tank. The Consulate General of China in Lahore was also represented at the discussion.

Ambassador Javid Husain, President of LCWA, warmly welcomed the delegates and said that candid and in-depth exchange of views between the two sides on bilateral, regional and global issues would lead to a better understanding of respective perceptions and expectations and engender fresh ideas on developing new avenues in bilateral cooperation.

Prof Shi Yi warmly reciprocated the sentiments and expressed her views on Pakistan-China relations with particular reference to the strategic and economic importance of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and gave her assessment on the progress achieved so far. She spoke highly of the exemplary relations between Pakistan and China and said that CPEC was a concrete manifestation of these ties.

Ambassador Javid Husain emphasised that Pakistan-China friendship was a source of strength to regional peace and stability besides being in the best interest of the two countries. He pointed out that CPEC, as a sheet anchor in the development of Pakistan-China friendship and cooperation, had the potential of having a very positive impact on the socio-economic landscape of Pakistan and the region as a whole. A lively exchange of views followed the two presentations and various ideas to add more substance to bilateral relations were discussed.

The afternoon session was on South Asia region with particular reference to the growing Indo-US strategic cooperation and the rise of Hindutva in India. The Chinese side giving its views referred to the importance of peace and stability as a prerequisite for socio-economic development and expressed concern at the increasing tension in the region because of the grave situation in the Indian Occupied Kashmir. Implications of growing Indo-US strategic relations and possible implications for the region were also touched upon. Ambassador Shahid Malik, former Pakistan High Commissioner to India, gave a detailed account of the deteriorating security and human rights situation in IOK, rise in Hindu nationalism in India, and its expansionist designs under the Hindutva doctrine.  The two sides exchanged views on ways to address the emerging challenges to peace and security and options for the resolution of root causes of tensions in South Asia, especially the Kashmir dispute.