Islamabad, [Staff Report] — South Asia Times (SAT), a prominent research and media lab based in Pakistan, achieved a significant milestone with its inaugural webinar titled “Regional Connectivity and Maritime Security: Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Beyond.” This groundbreaking event brought together experts, policymakers, academics, and practitioners to delve into the crucial role of connectivity and maritime security in shaping the future of South Asia.

Amidst an era of unprecedented globalization and interdependence, the significance of regional connectivity and maritime security has taken center stage. The historical significance of the Maritime Silk Route, encompassing trade, culture, and diplomacy, has regained strategic importance in shaping the geopolitical landscape. Moreover, initiatives like the Trans Afghan Railway Line have emerged as powerful drivers with far-reaching implications for geopolitics and geo-economics.

The webinar served as a comprehensive platform for leading intellectuals to exchange insights, identify challenges, and propose innovative solutions related to regional connectivity and maritime security, focusing on Pakistan and Afghanistan. Central to the discussions was the recognition of Pakistan’s pivotal role as a crucial node in the tapestry of regional connectivity projects and the Maritime Silk Route. The strategic importance of Pakistan as a conduit for trade and energy flows, connecting landlocked regions like Afghanistan and Central Asia with the Arabian Sea, was a central theme. Additionally, Pakistan’s role as a gateway for Iran to establish connections with neighboring nations was highlighted.

The unique challenges presented by Afghanistan’s landlocked status provided depth to the conversations. As Afghanistan aims for stability and development, it seeks to leverage its strategic positioning to become a hub for regional trade and transit corridors. The webinar explored how Afghanistan’s integration into regional connectivity projects and the Maritime Silk Route can stimulate economic growth, enhance regional stability, and foster cross-border cooperation.

Esteemed panelists, including Dr. Abdul Latif Nazari, Acting Deputy Minister of Economy, IEA; H.E. Mr. Fereydon Priloren, Deputy Counsel General of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Quetta; Dr. Nazir Hussain, Professor at Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad; and Ms. Amna Malik, President of COPAIR, Pakistan, contributed invaluable insights, enriching the discussions with their expertise and diverse viewpoints.

The keynote address, delivered by Vice Admiral (Retd) Ahmed Saeed HI(M), Director General of the National Institute of Maritime Affairs (NIMA), delved into the challenges, strategies, and shared prosperity associated with navigating the path of regional connectivity and maritime futures.

SAT’s inaugural webinar marks a stride towards nurturing cross-border cooperation, forging partnerships, and envisioning a future of shared prosperity and security for the South Asian region.

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