Islamabad, The Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI) and Iran’s Institute for Political and International Studies (IPIS) convened for their Annual Dialogue today, addressing bilateral and regional matters. Facilitated by the Centre for Afghanistan, Middle East and Africa (CAMEA), the dialogue brought together key speakers including Dr. Muhammad Hassan Shaykh al-Islami, President of IPIS and Deputy Foreign Minister of Iran, and Ambassador Sohail Mahmood, Director General ISSI.
Structured into three sessions, the dialogue examined “Pakistan-Iran Bilateral Relations”, “Changing Dynamics in the Middle East: Prospects for Regional Integration and Connectivity”, and “The Evolving Situation in Afghanistan”. These sessions were moderated by leading figures from CAMEA.
In the inaugural session, both Ambassador Mahmood and Dr. Shaykh al-Islami reflected on the flux and changes in global and regional dynamics, emphasizing the necessity for consistent consultations between Pakistan and Iran. They expressed contentment with the positive momentum of their bilateral ties, drawing attention to challenges in Afghanistan and the ongoing situation in Palestine. Both leaders emphasized the importance of global intervention to curb the oppression of Palestinian civilians and emphasized the UN and OIC’s proactive roles.
Reiterating the value of ISSI and IPIS’s institutional ties, both leaders expressed their commitment to strengthening mutual interactions and broadening collaboration between the think-tanks.
During the first working session, the dialogue revolved around notable developments in the Pakistan-Iran relationship, touching upon successes like the bilateral trade surpassing $2 billion, despite existing sanctions. Topics such as the collaboration on border openings, the Iran-Pakistan Pipeline (IPI) gas project, and joint endeavours in international forums like ECO, SCO, OIC, and UN were discussed.
The second session centered on the region’s leadership and energy disparities. The dialogue encompassed potential areas for regional collaboration, emphasizing political will, self-sufficiency, and concrete actions to maximize the region’s collaboration potential through existing regional platforms.
The third session illuminated Afghanistan’s critical role in connecting Pakistan, Iran, and Central Asian Republics. Speakers highlighted the need for a cohesive regional framework addressing Afghanistan’s challenges, as relying solely on bilateral interactions may not suffice.
In concluding remarks, Ambassador Khalid Mahmood, Chairman of ISSI, acknowledged the insightful exchanges during the sessions and praised the significant impact of the ISSI-IPIS dialogue on fostering bilateral cooperation. This information was provided by the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad.