Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that Pakistan is ready to provide India access to the Central Asian states if New Delhi agrees to give Kashmiri people the right to self-determination.

The PM was addressing the opening session of the first-ever Islamabad Security Dialogue being held in the federal capital to discuss Pakistan’s new strategic direction in the wake of multi-pronged threats faced by the country.

Addressing the ceremony, the PM emphasised that regional peace and connectivity for poverty alleviation, economic growth, and prosperity in the region. The PM said without peace in Kashmir and Afghanistan Pakistan cannot take advantage of its geo-strategic location.

He said the current government in Pakistan took the initiative to improve ties with India, but the efforts were not responded. He said India annexed occupied Kashmir by abrogating Article 370 on August 5 last year that damaged the bilateral relations.

He said India will now have to take the first step to improve bilateral relations. Imran said if India provides the Kashmiris the right to self-determination, it will prove beneficial for India itself as well.

The PM said Pakistan made its best possible efforts for peace in Afghanistan. He said the opportunity for peace in Afghanistan must be seized by all the stakeholders. He said the new US administration also gives importance to peace in Afghanistan, adding that peace in Kabul will promote economic activities in the region.

Food Security

The PM added that a dialogue on security was the need of the hour. “People think that if we only strengthen the armed and the security forces, it would be sufficient for national security,” the PM said, adding that there were numerous challenges that needed to be tackled.

“I pay homage to the armed forces and intelligence agencies who sacrificed their lives to save ours but there are other challenges also,” he said while paying tribute to the sacrifices of the armed forces.

According to the PM, national security has a wide scope, encompassing food security, climate change, and poverty alleviation. According to the PM, Pakistan’s population was increasing at a rapid rate and added that the government will launch a comprehensive program about food security.

“We had to import four million tons of wheat just to meet the needs,” he said and added that the government had made wrong assessments in providing food security to the masses.

On the occasion, the PM also launched the first of its kind Advisory Portal of the National Security Division. Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa will be the guest of honour on the second day of the conference. He will also deliver a keynote address.


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