CICA: A Great Platform for Enhanced Regional Connectivity

Written by: Mr. Khalid Taimur Akram Executive Director, Pakistan Research Center for a Community with Shared Future (PRCCSF), Islamabad.
In the 21st Century, states are directed to pursue new lines of action by fostering new partnerships, alliance building, diversifying economic cooperation, and developing a truly multilateral approach to ensure prosperity. Engaging with regional institutions for a comprehensive partnership has become an imperative factor for extending linkages. Following these fundamental principles, Asian states have created a multinational platform aimed at increasing inter-state cooperation to establish peace and stability in the region. In this aspect, Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) has continued to serve as an effective forum, advocating the idea that peace and security can be attained by constructive dialogue and mutual cooperation. Undoubtedly, the ongoing time is crucial as it is termed the Asian century.

It is a widely accepted notion that stability, prosperity, and joint development in Asia are imperative for global peace. Asia is the world’s most diverse and fastest developing region, having potential major powers. The diversity of civilizations and great legacies followed by the people have significant attributes to witness.  The region is industrializing and urbanizing at such a fast pace in the realm of international relations and regionalization.  CICA has transformed into a continental platform with a wide geographical representation and a comprehensive agenda. His Excellency President Tokayev has rightly stated that this platform has the appropriate potential to consolidate the collective will and wisdom of Asian states in the interests of peace, cooperation and development.

Establishment and Core Principles of CICA:
Established in 1992 on the initiative taken by the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, H.E. Mr. Nursultan Nazarbayev, CICA holds the concept of creating a strong structure constituting Asian nations. The idea was conceived during the 47th Session of the United Nations General Assembly. This platform has promoted a regional security structure. Currently, there are 27 permanent members, 9 observer states, 5 observer organizations, and 5 partner organizations. The primary objectives of CICA are mentioned as follows:

  • Cooperation among member states in all spheres
  • Promoting peace, security, and stability in Asia
  • Curbing terrorism, eradicating drug production and trafficking
  • Finding collective solutions to environmental problems and addressing humanitarian issues
  • Non-proliferation and elimination of WMDs
  • Peaceful coexistence and implementing Confidence Building Measures among Asian countries

It is noteworthy that CICA has constituted strong links with major international and regional organizations, including the United Nations and other major institutions. The platform has included countries from South East Asia to the Middle East and is as diverse as having extra-regional members like Vietnam. CICA has the potential to serve as an umbrella connecting the Eurasian continent to the Middle East and East Asia. Undoubtedly, this all was made possible due to the dynamic leadership of Kazakhstan and effective policies adopted by President Kassym Tokayev.

CICA has been working on many areas under the auspice of the UN Charter and valuing multilateralism. It can be anticipated that the platform will play a vital role in combating provocations and intervention in the region and fostering the management of inter-state disputes in future. It has the potential to integrate all countries at one platform to formulate a holistic plan of action directed at the well-being of Asians while keeping intact the integrity and sovereignty of all member countries. It can be a viable forum for increasing connectivity and cooperation across the continent through various projects and enhancing more significant bilateral linkages between the members.

Forthcoming CICA Summit: Prospects for Joint Collaboration
The 6th Summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia will take place on 12-13 October 2022 in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan. International organizations, delegates, experts, and regional Heads of State, including Pakistani Prime Minister H.E. Shahbaz Shareef, are expected to participate at the summit. This grand summit will take place at the most crucial times. Participation by the Prime Minister of Pakistan is a clear manifestation that Kazakhstan holds great bilateral relations with Pakistan and is a major regional stakeholder. Important issues will be discussed at the summit.

The deliberations will be a tangible step toward the right direction of resolving common problems with a shared forward-looking spirit. Against this backdrop, regional platforms like CICA are indispensably playing their role to strengthen peace, stability, and security. Kazakhstan, on the other hand, has again proved to be an exceptional partner in promoting and enhancing regional security and cooperation among member states. The upcoming CICA summit will usher into a new era of interregional harmony and cooperation vis-à-vis implementing potential projects and initiatives.

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