ISSN 2330-717X

Pakistan National Security Policy: A Document Of Virtual Promises – OpEd

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Prime Minister Imran Khan unveiled on January 14 (Friday-Jumma day) 2022 the public version of Pakistan first ever National Security Policy (NSP) part of a 62-page document  of the 110-page NSP document for public eyes. The NSP document is meant for a five-year period (2022-26) but it will be reviewed at the end of every year.The full 110-page NSP document will remain classified. However, a shorter nearly 50-page version is being published.The first sentence of Khan’s message reads: “Bold visions and big ideas lie at the heart of human progress and prosperity.”

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Highlighting key facets of the policy in his address Prime Minister Imran Khan noted that governments’ mindsets since the country’s inception were to focus on military security and they never planned beyond it.The country was blessed to have well-trained and disciplined security forces who protected the territorial boundaries against belligerent neighbours.Painting India  as the villain continues for regional stability and blame off all its sins to it.The rise of Hindutva-driven politics in India deeply impacts Pakistan’s immediate security.

NSP Highlights:  

The cardinal policy objective, according to the NSP, is to “defend Pakistan’s territorial integrity at all costs. 

Deter war through all elements of national power, while exercising  right to self-defence if war is imposed.

Maintain full spectrum deterrence, credible minimum nuclear deterrence, without getting involved in an arms race. 

Indigenisation of defence production, increased capabilities in network centricity, battlefield awareness, electronic warfare capabilities, and other force multipliers .

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The  nuclear deterrence occupies a critical role in the security  of South Asia.

Special attention  to manage lingering border disputes which continue to pose security threats, particularly along the Line of Control  where ceasefire violations by India threaten civilian lives and property. 

Pakistan should strengthen and enhance space-based technology and its application to meet future challenges while enhancing information and cyber security, data security, and surveillance capacity.

Equitable economic development – prevent elite capture of policy, direct support to vulnerable sections, and the like.Remove disparities in economic development in regions like South Balochistan, Sindh, Gilgit-Baltistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa?

Increase the share of installed energy capacity through renewable sources to 30 percent by 2030 and prioritize investments in hydropower projects to achieve 60 percent clean energy by 2030.

Support AI education, research initiatives, and start-ups.Greater focus on skilled and semi-skilled manpower export.

Pakistan will adopt a holistic, whole-of-nation approach to neutralize hybrid threats from states and their proxies as well as non-state actors. Pakistan pursues a policy of zero tolerance towards terrorism!

India’s arms build-up and access to advanced technologies  are a matter of concern for Pakistan.

Pakistan’s continued cooperation with the US will remain crucial for regional security.

Born out of division and further division of its East Pakistan into BanglaDesh is all blamed on India. Revenge is systematically indoctrinated into young minds through their school history text books by way of corrupted facts of history ! Wonder from where their  history takes roots; from 1947 or Indus Valley Harappan Civilisation? ‘Policy of Terrorism’  from birth has been Pakistan’s doctrine of low cost proxy wars across borders since the military has failed to win a single war since their independence. Though Pakistan has not formally recognised the Afgan Taliban government but it is one of the few countries which maintain their diplomatic mission as well as envoy in Kabul. Afgan Taliban leadership regularly visits Pakistan their second home.As of October 2021, Pakistan remains on Financial Action Task Force  grey-list for not acting sufficiently  on terror financing.

India’s ambassador to the United Nations TS Tirumurti has urged the world body to recognise ‘Hinduphobia’ along with religious hatred against Buddhism and Sikhism in the global fight against terrorism. Tirumurti said the United Nations’ latest Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy adopted last year was flawed and selective.He said, “In the past two years, several member states, driven by their political, religious and other motivations, have been trying to label terrorism into categories such as racially and ethnically motivated violent extremism, violent nationalism, right wing extremism, etc.

The NSP document has been made public when Pakistan mainstream and social media are rife with the debate,  to convince the people of the advantages of a presidential system. Pakistan is no stranger to the presidential form of government, which it has tried in vain with several presidents – both elected and imposed – having left their indelible marks on the memory of this nation!

Wonder if the NSP will really act as a guidance for the nation’s foreign, defence and economic policies as overall decision-making is ultimately indirectly controlled by the Army in an Army dominated country. However, the military has confirmed its approval, and said that the armed forces would fully cooperate and participate in achieving the vision  policy.  Every country does require a security policy for internal threats of various kinds especiallly terrorism.The economic security being considered the core is nothing new as it is a major criteria for any country. As per the World Bank report Pakistan’s economy is currently under serious stress.

The policy further notes that the Indian Ocean is fast becoming a space for contests and the self-professed role. This requires a renewed focus on strengthening Pakistan’s capabilities to meet emerging challenges. Protection of the Exclusive Economic Zone, ensuring freedom of navigation will remain critically important.Again pointing fingers at India.

Pakistan claims that it does not want war with India and seeks resolution of outstanding issues, its narrative for India has not altered in any form. Though the security policy talks about facilitating peace and stability in the region, it was only two months ago that Pakistan had declined India’s invitation to attend the Delhi Regional Security Dialogue to discuss Afghanistan. China had also skipped that meeting.What a dichotomy!

Having said that in addition the  policy goes on to say that; prospects of violent conflict have grown over time, ‘with a regressive and dangerous ideology of Hindutva-driven politics. NSP warns that Pakistan is committed towards defending its territorial integrity against any military misadventure.For India the policy is unlikely to bring any change in Pakistan’s active support to cross-border terrorism and position on Kashmir and it will be business as usual..

Ayesha Siddiqa, senior fellow, Department of War Studies, King’s College, London sums up the  NSP document which took 7 years of preparation  by saying ; “The paper reads like a singer starting off with a good melody but soon losing the tuneNSP follows ‘Have your cake and eat it too’ pattern.”

Patial RC

Patial RC is a retired Infantry officer of the Indian Army and possesses unique experience of serving in active CI Ops across the country and in Sri Lanka. Patial RC is a regular writer on military and travel matters in military professional journals. The veteran is a keen mountaineer and a trekker.

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