What is the reality of Pakistan's national security policy and its desire for 100 years of peace with India?
On January 14, Pakistan 's Prime Minister Imran Khan introduced his country's first national security policy. In this policy, it has been said to maintain peace with India "for the next 100 years". According to media reports, in this 100-page policy, the priorities of the next five years have been discussed. In this, along with foreign policy, internal security has also been included. Not only this, it also includes talk of changing Pakistan's “geo-strategic approach to geo-economic approach”, with emphasis on securing economic security.
Once notified, the Prime Minister of Pakistan will review the implementation of this policy once a month. Along with this, it will also be reviewed annually and it can also be changed when the new government comes to the country. Since the past 2019, bilateral relations between India and Pakistan have become cold. This happened when a Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist carried out a car suicide attack on a CRPF team in Lethpora, Kashmir, in which four dozen of our jawans were martyred, while many were injured. However, efforts have been made on several occasions to overcome this impasse. In 2021, the armies of both countries resolved to stick to the 2003 ceasefire treaty. This created the possibility of establishing peace on the border area. But due to continuous terrorist infiltration and violation of ceasefire by Pakistan along the LoC and the international border, there is still tension in Indo-Pak relations.
Pakistan has to balance its relations
Describing the announcement of the National Security Policy (NSP) by Pakistan as a positive step, Noor-e-Baba, former Dean (Department of Social Sciences), University of Kashmir, said, “The need to redefine our approach to security The intention is expressed in it”. He further says that the NSP reflects the effort to establish peace with India.
'Security' is a broad concept, it cannot be defined only in military terms, but it is also related to human security, economic security and security to lead a peaceful life. If there is a broad outlook (among local leaders) and there is a desire for peace for the good of the people, then it is a positive step. Many current issues, which we only look at from a military point of view, will be easily resolved if we broaden our understanding of 'security'.
No country can formulate a unilateral view of security, whether it is internal or external, nor can it be imposed on another. The statements made by Pakistan after 2019 reveal its one-sided approach. His reactions on subjects like our Civil Amendment Act and Article 370 made the situation worse. India adopted new paths, left some things behind. In practical terms, Pakistan was isolated not only outside but also at home. China is making its way everywhere. Pakistan has to balance its relations. It will have to reshape its policies and make it relevant while strengthening its economic position.
The words of NSP give a positive feeling about the situation in this area.
We have to build our relationship in an amicable way. I hope there are some people who have the right vision. I believe that former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee ji had such a vision. The Lahore Declaration was the last opportunity. If its results were good, South Asia would have been in a different situation today. He believed that we need to leave history behind and move forward. We need to rethink and create a new vision and mutual understanding. Maybe Pakistan is starting to understand this thing now.
I also believe that there are some forces, internally and externally, that can work to improve relations between the two countries. India's role in South Asia is huge. If we do not move forward from this opportunity, then we can get stuck in a contradictory situation. But with the kind of rhetoric we are seeing in divisive electoral politics, it does not seem that this policy of Pakistan will be taken positively in India.
There has been no history of Pakistan where it has tried to build consensus on matters of national importance. However, in this case it is not only Imran Khan's policy but other powerful elements of Pakistan are also part of it. They have realized that peace is important. The words of NSP give a positive feeling about the situation in this area. Now how long this lasts, we will have to wait.
Pakistan's economy is in shambles and corruption is at its peak
On the other hand, former Indian diplomat Vishnu Prakash considers this policy of Pakistan to be just a sham, far-fetched and Pakistani propaganda. National security policy is a serious matter. All of a sudden, it cannot be prepared, or it cannot be imagined. Special preparation has to be done for this, especially when we are talking about a big change.
In the last 70 years, Pakistan has followed a fixed approach. It encouraged bigotry in his society. This bigotry is eating its roots. Jihadis dominate there. Can a 180 degree change be imagined there just by a sudden thought in Imran Khan's mind? In reality this does not happen.
For this a broad consensus has to be created. Along with the political and military leadership, jihadis also need to be involved in this. where are they all? Have tried all kinds of stunts on Imran Khan. These included selling buffaloes, seeking help from overseas Pakistanis, etc., but all their efforts proved to be in vain. There the economy is in shambles, corruption is at its peak, the government debt ratio is 95 per cent of GDP and the bet on Afghanistan could backfire at any time.
70 years of poison is in the veins of Pakistan
These are the situations where Imran Khan is surrounded. Their power can go away at any time. We know that commerce minister Imran who said that trade with India can be started and we also know the prime minister Imran Khan who refused it. So overall it seems to be nothing more than a rhetoric. Pakistan is adept at making frivolous and imaginary things. In fact, the NSP has been brought for a specific purpose, so that the help of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) can be obtained. He needs a loan of $6 million. This is just an attempt to show the IMF that Pakistan is taking positive steps. He also said that he would not have enmity with India for the next 100 years. Thank you very much!
They are also saying that even if the Kashmir issue is not resolved, there is a need to talk to India. This is just an attempt to start talks with India, nothing more. If really they want to do something good then right steps need to be taken, mere talk will do nothing. This may include steps like allowing Afghanistan to deliver 50,000 tonnes of food grains through Pakistan. I believe that this policy of Pakistan is imaginary, far-fetched and just a propaganda.
70 years of poison is in the veins of Pakistan. It is an Islamic nation, which is promoting terrorism. Does it suddenly happen that one day you start talking about maintaining peace with India for 100 years? This thing is not digestible. Nevertheless, best wishes to Pakistan. If India gets signs of real change, it will react, but as far as NSP is concerned, India can only wish for the good luck of its neighbor.
(Noor A. Baba is a Srinagar-based academic and intellectual, has been Dean of the Department of Social Sciences at Kashmir University, while Vishnu Prakash is a former Ambassador to India, High Commissioner to South Korea and Canada, and Spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs This article is based on conversations with these two.)