Army Chief says without resolution of Kashmir dispute process of sub-continental rapprochement will always remain susceptible to derailment
Islamabad, 18 March: Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa Thursday said the contemporary concept of national security is not only about protecting a country from internal and external threats but also providing conducive environment in which aspirations of human security, national progress and development could be realised.
Addressing the audience on day two of the first-ever Islamabad Security Dialogue, Gen Bajwa said it is not solely a function of armed forces anymore. National security in the age of globalisation, information and connectivity has now become an all-encompassing notion where elements of national power, global and regional environment also play a profound role.
He said national security is thus multi-layered. No national leaders of today can ignore these factors. I also firmly believe that no single nation in isolation, can perceive and further its quest for security, as every single issue and security dilemma faced by today's world is intimately linked with global and regional dynamics. Whether it be human security, extremism, human rights, environmental hazards, economic security or pandemics, responding in silos is no longer an option.
Today the leading drivers of change in the world are demography. economy and technology. Developing countries like Pakistan, today face multi-dimensional challenges, which cannot be navigated single-handedly. A similar situation is confronted by other countries in our region as well, therefore, we all require a multilateral global and regional approach and cooperation to overcome these challenges.
Army chief said South Asia is home to one quarter of world's population. However, despite tremendous human and resource potential, the unsettled disputes are dragging this region back to the swamp of poverty and underdevelopment.
It is saddening to know that even today it is among the least integrated regions of the world in terms of trade, infrastructure, water and energy cooperation.
On top of it, despite being one of the most impoverished regions of the world, we end up spending a lot of money on our defence, which naturally comes at the expense of human development. Pakistan has been one of the few countries, which despite the rising security challenges has resisted the temptation of involving itself in an arms race. Our defence expenditures have rather reduced instead of increasing. This is not an easy undertaking especially when you live in a hostile and unstable neighbourhood.
General Bajwa said we are ready to improve our environment by resolving all our outstanding issues with our neighbours through dialogue in a dignified and peaceful manner.
However, it is important to state that, this choice is deliberate and based on rationality and not as a result of any pressure. It is our sincere desire to re-cast Pakistan's image as a peace-loving nation and a useful member of international community.
He said our robust role in current quest for peace in Afghanistan is proof of our goodwill and understanding of our global and moral obligations Our close collaboration and crucial support for the peace process has led to the historic agreement between Taliban and US and paved the way for intra-Afghan dialogue.
He said stable Indo-Pak relation is a key to unlock the untapped potential of South and Central Asia by ensuring connectivity between East and West Asia.
This potential however, has forever remained hostage to disputes and issues between two nuclear neighbours. Kashmir dispute is obviously at the head of this problem.
Gen Baiwa said without resolution of Kashmir dispute process of sub-continental rapprochement will always remain susceptible to derailment due to politically motivated bellicosity.
However, we feel that it is time to bury the past and move forward. But for resumption of peace process or meaningful dialogue, our neighbour will have to create conducive environment, particularly in Indian Occupied Kashmir.