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Pakistan's bid for peace with India in new security policy

Prepared by the National Security Division of the government, the original 100-page version of the NSP remains a classified document. But a shorter public version -- a 62-page document -- stresses on human security, geoeconomics, regional connectivity, prosperity, trade and investment.

Reported by: IANS New Delhi Updated on: January 18, 2022 23:01 IST
In this image taken from video provided by UN Web TV, Imran
Image Source : PTI

In this image taken from video provided by UN Web TV, Imran Khan, Prime Minister of Pakistan, remotely addresses the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly in a pre-recorded message.

Highlights

  • Imran Khan unveiled the Pakistan's first National Security Policy
  • The policy appears as an expanded form of Army chief General Qamar Bajwa's speech in March 2021
  • The policy offers no clear steps that Pakistan wishes to realise its ‘wish' for peace with India

On January 14, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan unveiled the countrys first National Security Policy (NSP), which purportedly focuses on the ‘security of its citizens. It aims to define the country's security priorities between 2022 and 2026, including relations with India.

Prepared by the National Security Division of the government, the original 100-page version of the NSP remains a classified document. But a shorter public version -- a 62-page document -- stresses on human security, geoeconomics, regional connectivity, prosperity, trade and investment.

It thus makes all the right noises and gives an impression of fresh thinking from the Pakistani establishment. As a matter of fact, the policy appears to be an expanded form of Army chief General Qamar Bajwa's speech in March 2021 at the Islamabad Security Dialogue, where he had harped upon similar themes.

However, a critical question from the Indian national security perspective is whether this rhetoric of coveting peace with India and focusing on geoeconomics signals a genuine change of heart in Pakistan's thinking, or is it just an exercise in deception?

On this count, the policy offers no clear roadmap or steps that Pakistan wishes to pursue to realise its ‘wish' for peace with India. Perhaps, Islamabad thinks that its expression of peace will convince New Delhi to reciprocate by taking a step forward.

If Pakistan is not serious about improving relations with India, what explains NSP's approach on the same? Clearly, the NSP and its contents are geared towards the international audience to give an impression that Pakistan is changing

To kick-start the dialogue process, Pakistan will need to take concrete steps on the ground than just staring that it desires for peace with India. Till then, India should adopt a ‘wait and watch' policy vis-a-vis the NSP and evaluate its implementation.

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