‘Seek better relations with India, Kashmir at core of ties’: New Pak security policy

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NEW DELHI: Pakistan desires to improve its relationship with India, though a “just and peaceful resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir” issue will remain the core of bilateral relations, according to Islamabad’s new National Security Policy released on Friday.

Past governments had focused solely on military security and never planned beyond this, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan said while addressing a ceremony at which he released the public version of the policy. “We’ve never had the concept of a coordinated national security policy,” he said.

National security adviser Moeed Yusuf said the NSP was centred round economic security, and geo-strategic imperatives were included to bolster Pakistan’s security. He said the document was finalised with “full civil-military consensus”.

The 62-page public version of the National Security Policy has separate sections on India and Jammu and Kashmir in the part dealing with Pakistan’s foreign relations. It also contains several other references to India in sections dealing with defence policy and the neighbourhood.

“Pakistan, under its policy of peace at home and abroad, wishes to improve its relationship with India. A just and peaceful resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute remains at the core of our bilateral relationship,” the section on India said.

“Growing Indian arms build-up, facilitated by access to advanced technologies and exceptions in the non-proliferation rules, is a matter of concern for Pakistan. Besides impacting regional stability, such policies of exceptionalism also undermine the global non-proliferation regime,” it added.

The section on India expressed concern at what it said was the “rise of Hindutva-driven politics in India” and said this “impacts Pakistan’s immediate security”. The “political exploitation of a policy of belligerence towards Pakistan by India’s leadership has led to the threat of military adventurism”, it said.

The section also accused India of pursuing “unilateral policy actions on outstanding issues…to impose one-sided solutions”. It added, “Pakistan continues to believe in resolving all outstanding issues through dialogue; however, recent Indian actions remain significant hurdles in this direction.”

The section on Jammu and Kashmir said a “just and peaceful resolution” of this issue remains a vital national security interest for Pakistan. It reiterated Pakistan’s position that India’s decision to scrap the special status of Jammu and Kashmir in August 2019 was “illegal and unilateral”, and alleged that Indian security forces were behind human rights abuses and oppression in Kashmir.

“Pakistan remains steadfast in its moral, diplomatic, political, and legal support to the people of Kashmir until they achieve their right to self-determination guaranteed by the international community as per United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions,” the section on Kashmir said.

The document stated Pakistan will seek to deter war “through full-spectrum deterrence within the precincts of credible minimum nuclear deterrence in concert with our conventional military capabilities and all elements of national power”.

“The expansion of India’s nuclear triad, open-ended statements on nuclear policy, and investments in and introduction of destabilising technologies disturb the strategic balance in the region,” it added.

The document contended that special attention is required to manage “lingering border disputes which continue to pose security threats, particularly along the Line of Control and Working Boundary where ceasefire violations by India threaten civilian lives and property while endangering regional stability”.

Referring to the Indian Ocean region and India’s role as a net security provider, the policy claimed this will “affect the region’s security and economic interests negatively”.

India and Pakistan have not held any substantial and structured talks since the 2008 Mumbai attacks, carried out by the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), disrupted bilateral ties. Several attempts in the following years to revive talks ran aground after a series of terror attacks, mainly targeting Indian security forces, that were mostly blamed on the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM).

After a series of back-channel contacts between security officials of the two countries, the Indian and Pakistani armies agreed in February 2021 to restore the 2003 ceasefire along the Line of Control (LoC). However, the ending of exchanges of fire on the LoC did not lead to further breakthroughs between the two sides.


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