Assessment of ‘Global Trends’  

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THIS year’s ‘Global Trends’ report by the US National Intelligence Council (NIC),  designed to help policymakers and citizens anticipate the economic, environmental, technological and demographic forces that are likely to shape the world through the next 20 years, contains two important assessments relating to the South Asian region and Pakistan.

It apprehends “India and Pakistan may stumble into a large-scale war neither side wants, especially following a terrorist attack that the Indian government judges to be significant” besides making projections that Pakistan is set to become the world’s 23rd biggest economy by 2040 based on its predicted gross domestic product (GDP) rank which currently sits at 39th position.

Despite the fact that the factors enumerated in the report to form the basis for a full-scale war between Pakistan and India have a New Delhi tilt, the apprehension is realistic and should serve as an eye-opener for policy and decision-makers in Pakistan.

The wording of the report, which says “the ability of some militant outfits to conduct attacks, New Delhi’s resolve to retaliate against Islamabad after such an attack, and Islamabad’s determination to defend itself are likely to persist and may increase in the next five years” seems to have been borrowed from Indian narrative on the issue of terrorism and the so-called hot-pursuit.

This is despite the fact that Pakistan has taken comprehensive measures to check and dismantle all sorts of terrorist outfits and the bogey of terrorism is being used by New Delhi just to malign Islamabad and discredit the legitimate struggle of Kashmiris for their inalienable right of self-determination.

India used similar excuses in 2019 to carry out aggression against Pakistan on the pretext of Pulwama attack and got a befitting response, which sent a categorical message both to India and the international community that Pakistan would not sit idly if its sovereignty and territorial integrity was violated.

Unfortunately, there is a tendency in India to use Pakistan Card to divert attention of the people as well as the world community from domestic failures of the Government there and trampling of fundamental rights of the minorities in the Hindu-dominated country.

The report has indirectly acknowledged the importance of deterrence in South Asia as it emphasizes “miscalculation by both governments could prompt a breakdown in the deterrence that has restricted conflict to levels each side judges it can manage.”

Pakistan has long been arguing that its nuclear programme is serving as deterrence for peace in the region and it is encouraging that there is growing realization about the importance of this deterrence among the international community.

One expects the US policy-makers would discard forever their discriminatory approach to the issue of nuclear capabilities in the region under which the US has been showering all sorts of cooperation and technologies to India while pressurizing Pakistan to roll back or cap its nuclear programme despite the fact that deterrence needs to be constantly upgraded to make it relevant to the ground realities.

Interestingly, fear of full-scale wars are being expressed at a time when Pakistan is overzealous in engaging India in a process of meaningful dialogue to address root causes of conflict and tension in the region.

In continuation of a series of peace overtures, Pakistan Foreign Office, on Thursday, once again offered result-oriented talks to India for a solution to the contentious issues including the core issue of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJ&K).

Its spokesperson did not rule out Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Pakistan to attend the SAARC Summit if it was held in October and said Pakistan would be happy to host him.

Pakistan’s constant push for talks with India is perplexing as there is no indication as yet that New Delhi was willing to reciprocate.

Pakistan has had bitter experience of talks with India as the process has always been used by New Delhi to shield its illegal actions and policies and gain time to consolidate its illegitimate gains.

There is no doubt, the two countries must make concerted efforts to improve ties but one way traffic would not yield any positive impact on the overall environment in the region.

As for assessment about Pakistan becoming 23rd big economy by 2040, it speaks volumes about the potential of the country but for that to happen political stability, peaceful environment and continuation of policies are a must.

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