Redefining Pakistan’s national security strategy | By Maliha Mughal


Redefining Pakistan’s national security strategy

PAKISTAN has been attempting to redefine its national security strategy to address emerging challenges and changing regional dynamics. The country has historically centred its national security strategy on external challenges, particularly those posed by India and relied primarily on military might to counter these concerns. However, Pakistan has recently recognized that its security challenges are multifaceted and necessitate a more comprehensive and integrated approach.

The army has been devoting an abundance of efforts to countering terrorism recently through a variety of initiatives, including military operations, intelligence-based operations and counterterrorism techniques. On 29 November 2022 Gen Asim Munir assumed command of Pakistan’s Army amidst intense political and economic unrest. The need to combat terrorism and extremism in all of its manifestations was emphasized by General Munir. He understood that these concerns had serious social and economic ramifications for Pakistan in addition to being a security concern.

Moreover, General Asim Munir’s priorities for Pakistan reflected a more nuanced and comprehensive understanding of the country’s security challenges. He has addressed Pakistan’s security issues, internal stability and ties with neighbours admirably. His emphasis on combating terrorism and extremism, enhancing relations with neighbouring nations and promoting economic development were significant steps in forming Pakistan’s national security strategy for the future.

Pakistan has also acknowledged the significance of boosting its institutional capacity to handle security concerns, including strengthening its intelligence agencies, enhancing border control and upgrading its cyber-security capabilities. Chief of Army Staff stressed during his speech to the National Assembly’s in-camera session that we should stop discussing and comparing the “new” and “old” Pakistan’s and instead talk about “Our Pakistan.”

In response to the recent resurgence of terrorism, the COAS stated that the defence forces are prepared to ensure a lasting peace in the entire country and that intelligence-based operations are in progress in that respect. He emphasized the role of all government departments, including the legal, economic, social and foreign ones, in the fight against anti-state elements in addition to the security services. The recent operation against terrorism is a continuation of the state plan that has previously been approved. It embodies the national approach as a whole and the unwavering confidence of the populace.

In addition, Pakistan has been working to broaden its strategic alliances, especially with countries like China and Russia, to lessen its reliance on the US and other Western powers. Gen Asim Munir also made a four-day trip to China. This is his fourth trip abroad, following trips to the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. In the light of Pakistan’s current political, economic and security difficulties, Munir’s visit is extremely important. Discussion topics included military cooperation and issues of shared security. The importance of preserving regional peace and stability as well as improving military-to-military collaboration was emphasized by both military chiefs.

In addition to having a shared perception of India as a regional foe, Pakistan and China also have several military goals in common, including counterterrorism, regional stability, defence procurement and strategic collaboration. These shared goals have strengthened the two nations’ military relations.

The visit of Pakistan’s Army Chief to China is a sign of the two nations’ strong strategic alliance and is probably intended to advance their current level of military and economic cooperation as well as to address regional security problems. Additionally, Gen. Munir emphasized the Pak Army’s commitment to its constitutional role and the fact that its personnel are first and foremost loyal to the country of Pakistan. He discussed the role of Pakistan’s army, security threats from Afghanistan, the Kashmir dispute and Pakistan’s soft power strategy during his speech at the 147th LC passing-out parade at PMA on April 29, 2023. He highlighted the precision of their work as it relates to the safety and security of the populace as well as national defence. He disproved every erroneous assertion that the Pak Army lacks combat readiness.

The cohesiveness of the state and society has been the target of substantial attempts by our adversaries. No room exists for those who would undermine the peace we have worked so hard to achieve. Gen Munir also emphasized that Pakistan’s use of soft power should not be seen as a sign of weakness by enemies. He also stated that Pakistan’s security depends critically on the stability, security and peace in Afghanistan. The continuous Afghan conflict, the potential threat of terrorism and tension with its neighbour India are just a few of the challenges that Pakistan has had to deal with in maintaining its security and stability.

Regarding the Kashmir dispute, the army chief made it abundantly clear that Pakistan has not ceded Kashmir to India. Pakistan will continue to help its Kashmiri brethren diplomatically, morally and politically. Without a fair and peaceful resolution to the Kashmir problem, regional peace would always be elusive, COAS urged the international community to take positive action.

The emerging trends of national security strategy of Pakistan reflect a more thorough and integrated approach to dealing with the security issues facing the nation, acknowledging the significance of regional cooperation, economic growth, political stability, social welfare, combating terrorism and extremism, institutional capacity building and diversifying strategic alliances.  In addition to the need for collaboration among various institutions, the important role of the people of Pakistan in the collective battle against terrorism is also essential.

—The writer is currently working as Research Associate at Institute of Peace and Contemporary Affairs, Islamabad.

Email: [email protected]