Bajwa’s concept of evolving geostrategic milieu | By Prof Dr Muhammad Khan

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Bajwa’s concept of evolving geostrategic milieu


IN the wake of “evolving geo-strategic milieu” the Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa has emphasized senior commanders of Pakistan Army to prepare and maintain very high standards of operational preparedness along the Line of Control (LoC) and all along the Pak-Afghan border.

The Army Chief was addressing the formation commanders of Pak Army and principal staff officers of the General Headquarters (GHQ) on the eve of two-day 78th Formation Commanders’ Conference concluded on June 15, 2021.

Indeed, the formation commander conference is the biggest forum of reviewing the operational preparedness of the formations and the evolving geostrategic situation all around Pakistan.

By definition, the geostrategy is the sub-field of geopolitics which primarily deals with strategy.

Combination of both, the geopolitics and geostrategic factors indeed characterize a particular geographic region.

The geopolitical positioning of Pakistan makes it strategically significant and relevant for all regional states and great powers.

Indeed, General Bajwa’s concept of ‘Evolving Geostrategic Milieu’ is timely and well thought-out.

The concept needs a lot of research at strategic level and deliberations at the level of academia and civil society of Pakistan.

From its immediate outlook, the concept can be observed and analysed from three perspectives: national, regional and global; all interconnected and related with each other.

At national level, the concept warrants a broader national harmony and social cohesiveness to discard the agenda-driven fault lines evolved over the years and destabilized the state and society of Pakistan.

These fault-lines include the undesired widening factor of ethnicity, the idiotic element of sectarianism and the narrow minded approach of sub-nationalism.

The fake basis of these fault-lines needs immediate bridging and attention by the political governments at federal and provincial levels.

Besides, the educational institutions and civil society needs to play a dominant and responsible role by reflecting the true concept of national harmony and social cohesion among the Pakistani youth.

At regional level, Pakistan is very significant country from two perspectives; its geopolitical location and its ideological founding.

Whereas, these two peculiarities are the real strength of Pakistan, the fact remains that owing to these distinctiveness, the external forces (rivals) have always tried to weaken and destabilize it in last over seven decades of its history.

By its mere location, Pakistan is a pivotal country in Asia, joining various regions of the Asian Continent all around.

Pakistan is a true reflection of the concept of geographical pivot. The concept of geographical pivot was developed by Halford John Mackinder, a royal geographer in 1904 as heartland theory.

Mackinder was a geographer, academic, politician and, above all, is considered as the pioneer of both geopolitics and geostrategy. Mackinder’s heartland theory covers the entire globe from the perspective of geopolitics and geostrategic.

The location of Pakistan has made it significant for its neighbours as well as the other regional powers right from its inception in 1947.

Indeed, owing to short-sighted leadership, political instability interest of rival forces and governance issues the pivotal location of Pakistan has been down-played throughout its history.

At global level, the geopolitics of Pakistan has been a gate-way of the conflicts between superpowers.

Contrary to the concept given by American political scientist Francis Fukuyama in 1992, the cold war and rivalry between great powers is still continuing.

In his book, “The End of History and the Last Man” Francis Fukuyama proclaimed about the ascendancy of Western liberal democracy and liberal values after the demise of (former) Soviet Union.

He along with liberal political thinkers of the United States and West concluded that humanity has reached to the end point of its history, hence no more “ideological evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government.”

To the disappointment of Francis Fukuyama, his concept of ‘End of History’ proved wrong just in a period of less than two decades.

There is a new cold war with multiple dimensions; US-China and US-Russia being the prominent dimensions of this cold war.

Like the earlier cold war between the US and former Soviet Union, Pakistan is a very relevant state with wider strategic implications in the new cold war.

General Bajwa has pointed out this strategic concept which he named as the “evolving geo-strategic milieu”.

In fact, Pakistan is in the centre of these new and evolving geo-strategic settings. It cannot escape this strategic morass where rivalries are rising with each passing day.

On June 15, 2021, NATO leadership declared China as a major security challenge for this military alliance for the first time in its history. NATO leadership clearly accused China of undermining the rules-based international order.

On its part, China defended its policies by saying, “Our pursuit of defence and military modernisation is justified, reasonable, open and transparent.” Beijing also urged NATO to focus on promoting dialogue.

While analysing the rapidly evolving global geopolitical situation, Bajwa’s concept of Evolving Geostrategic Milieu is a farsighted view.

The impending strategic and security challenges arising from the rivalry of the great powers will have wider security implications for Pakistan.

In order to meet the emerging security and strategic challenges, let’s develop national consensus, political stability, economic development and a strategic vision while keeping the national interests and elements of national power at the forefront.

— The writer is Professor of Politics and IR at International Islamic University, Islamabad.

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