ISLAMABAD - The Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI) held a dialogue session with ASEAN Committee in Islamabad (ACI), led by H. E. Nguyen Tien Phong, Ambassador of Vietnam and Chairman of ACI. THE ACI comprises ambassadors/ high commissioners and heads of mission of ASEAN Members based in Islamabad. Ambassador Sohail Mahmood, Director-General ISSI, led the ISSI side. In his remarks, Ambassador Sohail Mahmood stated that Pakistan recognized the ASEAN ‘miracle’ that had contributed immensely to peace, regional economic integration, and prosperity through effective regional cooperation in Southeast Asia. He added that Pakistan’s desire to forge a closer relationship with ASEAN was driven by its ‘Vision East Asia’ policy as well as the imperatives of geo-economics. Ambassador Sohail Mahmood stressed that a deeper and elevated Pakistan-ASEAN partnership was in the mutual benefit of both sides. The ISSI-ACI dialogue focused on exploring avenues for further deepening cordial relations between Pakistan and ASEAN members, bilaterally as well as on the institutional platform of ASEAN. Both sides exchanged views on the current state of Pakistan-ASEAN cooperation and underlined the need to enhance linkages between business communities and academic institutions/ think-tanks across ASEAN member states. The ACI chairman and other members shared valuable suggestions on strengthening overall collaboration between the two sides, including through increased people-to-people exchanges. It was also agreed that ISSI-ACI collaboration will be utilized to raise awareness about the potential of Pakistan-ASEAN partnership and ways to optimally realize it.