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USPs Of The First-Ever NSP

Pakistan published its first National Security Policy (NSP) document for 2022-26 on January 14, outlining the country’s security and economic cooperation with neighbouring countries. As expected, the 110-page document stressed on Pakistan’s relations with India. Ahead of the publication of the document, Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Ahmed Khan Niazi was heard mentioning that his country “would not be seeking hostility with India for the next 100 years”.

A senior Pakistani official said that the main aim of the South Asian nation was to achieve economic security, and to normalise trade ties with India. “The new policy seeks peace with immediate neighbours,” he added. The official, who wished to remain anonymous, stressed that Islamabad would encourage two-way trade and investment with India, albeit without a final settlement of the Kashmir Issue.

Imran Khan (Image courtesy: AP)

According to the official, the 110-page document has explained Pakistan’s initiative to maintain the economic stability of the country and to ensure regional peace. He informed the press that the document would guide the foreign policy of Pakistan in the next five years. The document has given a special emphasis on maintaining bilateral dialogue and diplomatic relations with India. Islamabad has expressed hope that fruitful talks will help restore trade relations between India and Pakistan in near future. “Economic security will be the central theme of the new national security policy… But geo-economics does not necessarily mean we overlook our geo-strategic and geo-political interests,” stressed the official.

Interestingly, Prime Minister Khan unveiled only 62 pages of the document on January 14, while the main portion remained classified, and would be reviewed on an ongoing basis. Hinting at India (while launching the NSP), the PM stated: “Pakistan’s evolution happened in an insecure environment and our national security became one-dimensional and understandably so, because one of our neighbours was seven times bigger than us. We had a conflict with them in 1948 and 1965, and hence our mindset became only one-dimensional, and that was military security.

According to the Pak PM, the NSP is “multi-dimensional” and “all-encompassing”, as it is aimed at strengthening the national economy. “If the economy is not strong, then nothing can be achieved by a nation, as it has to “run to” the International Monetary Fund (IMF) every other day (for grants and loans),” he insisted. Khan further said: “When you borrow from the IMF, you have to agree to their conditionalities and that leads to compromise of your security.

Soon after Prime Minister Khan brought to light the public version of the NSP, Pakistan’s National Security Adviser Moeed Yusuf stressed: “Cognizant of Pakistan’s complex security requirements, the National Security Policy adopts a directional tone, providing strategic guidance on priority areas for policy action while identifying opportunities for and challenges to our national security in the medium and long term.

The Pakistani media have reported that the Imran Khan Government in Islamabad was all set to seek loans from the IMF, and the amount might be above the USD 6 billion bailout package it had received from the global lender in 2019.

Meanwhile, the parties in Opposition and global experts have expressed doubt over the success of policies adopted by the Government of Pakistan. Sharat Sabharwal, the former Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan, believes that the new policy “amounts to nothing unless Pakistan changes its internal and external directions”. “They talk of geo-economics and then they deny transit through their country to a big economy, like India, so what geo-economics are they talking about in the National Security Policy, anyway?” asked Sabharwal.

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