Pakistan to seek peace, economic connectivity under new National Security Policy

Pakistan on Friday launched its first comprehensive national security policy which it said focuses on regional peace and economic connectivity, and emphasized that it wants to improve relations with its neighbor India.

The National Security Policy, which takes seven years to prepare, aims to serve as an overarching framework linking policies in various sectors. Economic security has been listed as a top priority.

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Speaking at an event to launch the public version of the policy in Islamabad, Prime Minister Imran Khan said, “I am confident that effective implementation of this policy will contribute significantly to the economic security of our country.”

Officials say details of the policy, drawn up by a joint administration headed by civilian and military leaders, will be kept secret.

Politics is about seeking peace with neighbors and exploring opportunities to make Pakistan a hub for trade and investment.

The policy document stated that “Pakistan is poised to benefit from its pivotal geographic and economic position to serve as a hub of production, trade, investment and communication for our broader region to enhance our economic security.”

It also sought peace and improved relations with rival India, but warned that its eastern neighbor’s policies could lead to conflict.

“The political exploitation of the policy of hostility towards Pakistan by the leadership of India has led to the threat of military adventurism and non-contact war in our immediate east,” the statement read.

Pakistan and India, which both have nuclear weapons, have fought three wars since 1947 and engaged in a number of military skirmishes – the last of which was a limited clash between their air forces in 2019.

Pakistan has long been considered by analysts as a security state, where military policy has always trumped other considerations.

Apart from three wars with India, Pakistan has been embroiled in two wars in neighboring Afghanistan, and has also dealt with violent extremist militancy and separatist movements.

“It’s like summarizing a wish-list of Pakistan’s concerns and ambitions but without referring to the scarcity of resources or how consensus will be reached,” defense writer and analyst Aisha Seddiqa told Reuters.

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