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On Relations With India, Pakistan’s New National Security Policy Makes No Changes, Say Former Envoys

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With a promise to put economic security at the heart of its security strategy, Pakistan unveiled its first-ever National Security Policy on Friday. To long-standing Indian observers, the references to India in the unclassified version did not spring any surprises or mark a deviation from traditional Pakistani policy.

At a special ceremony on Friday, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan released the document, highlighting its key argument. “An inclusive development was inevitable for national security,” he said.

He echoed the declaration in the ‘National Security policy of Pakistan 2022-26’ that “Pakistan’s vital national security interests are best served by placing economic security as the core element of national security”. The document is the unclassified 62-page version titled “.

Divided into eight chapters, the unclassified 62-page version bats for a “geo-economic vision to supplement the focus on geo-strategy, and recognises that sustainable and inclusive economic growth is needed to expand our national resource pie”.

In the section about defence and territorial integrity, the report stated 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”.

Under a sub-heading about strategic stability, the report notes that nuclear deterrence has a “critical role” in South Asia’s security calculations. “Pakistan’s nuclear capability deters 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,” said the report.

It further claims that Pakistan’s deterrence regime is “aimed at regional peace”. “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”.

In another part of the report, the policy document asserts that Pakistan is concerned by “growing Indian arms build-up, facilitated by access to advanced technologies and exceptions in the non-proliferation rules”. It is a reference to the 2008 exemption granted to India by the Nuclear Suppliers Group as a result of the India-US nuclear deal, which has been consistently criticised by Pakistan.

“Besides impacting regional stability, such policies of exceptionalism also undermine the global non-proliferation regime.”

According to Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), the nuclear weapon inventory of both the nuclear powers in South Asia had increased in 2021. As per the Swedish think tank’s annual report, Pakistan had 165 warheads, while India was estimated to have 156 last year.

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