Pakistan’s National Security Committee (NSC) approved the country’s “first ever” National Security Policy (NSP) – which is designed to be a “Comprehensive National Security Framework” and covers a five-year period from 2022-26.
GS-II: International Relations (India’s Neighbours, Foreign Policies affecting India’s Interests)
Dimensions of the Article:
- What is the National Security Policy (NSP)?
- Concerns with Pakistan’s National Security Policy
- Implications of the National Security Policy of Pakistan on India
- China as anchor
- Two major Sources of conflict between India and Pakistan
- Territorial Disputes between India and Pakistan
What is the National Security Policy (NSP)?
- The National Security Policy (NSP) is a document that serves as a roadmap for the country’s defense and a comprehensive national security policy that is centered on citizens.
- The NSP is a “Comprehensive National Security Framework” that spans five years, from 2022 to 2026.
- The NSP aims to safeguard the “safety, security, and dignity of Pakistani nationals.”
- In addition to economic and military challenges, the NSP addresses foreign policy, terrorism, water security, and demography.
Concerns with Pakistan’s National Security Policy
- Pakistan’s armed forces will play their due part in achieving the vision laid out in the policy. There are concerns that this will result in increasing unchecked military control within the country and affect the borer-tensions with India as well.
- The Pakistan Army has never fully exposed the country’s defense spending and it does not allow inspection of its huge network of economic businesses and real estate. Hence, the new policy could lead to increased corruption.
- There are concerns that Pakistan’s National Security Policy will result in increased radical events of extremism in the wake of challenging the security issues.
- Diverting resources from development to military field with the new policy, in addition to Pakistan’s philosophy and attitude, is seen to hamper the country’s social growth and economic management.
Implications of the National Security Policy of Pakistan on India
- The policy hints at peace with other countries, especially in the neighborhood.
- Strategic establishment in India would need to look at the policy in the context of security challenges.
- The policy will impact Pakistan’s approach to India as an open-ended subject by changing the military engagements and infrastructure built up along the border areas.
- The economic pressures and primacy in the National Security Policy make India review its trade policy towards Pakistan and take advantage of better economic dynamics.
- India needs to demarcate a clear distinction between geo-politics and geo-economics in the context of provision of the policy.
- The policy is unlikely to bring any change in Pakistan’s active support to cross-border terrorism and position on Kashmir.
China as anchor
- The natural economic partner for a country such as Pakistan is a large neighbour. Stoutly refusing to open up trade with India, Pakistan has looked to other economic and commercial partners among whom China is by far the most important.
- The security relationship was the anchor of the China-Pakistan ties. Now, Pakistan hopes that China will offer its assistance to transform its economy. It looks to the mechanisms under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to play a crucial role through connectivity, port development, power production and other investments.
Two major Sources of conflict between India and Pakistan
- Identity: The partition of 1947 arose from the contrasting conception of national identity to which both the nations continue to cling. In terms of Kashmir (the most sensitive issue between the two) both the states laid their claims based on their identities. Pakistan claimed Kashmir on the basis of being an Islamic state and that majority population in Kashmir is Muslim. While India justified its claim based on its secular identity.
- Political Systems: The security issue surrounding Kashmir is closely related to the larger problem of 2 political systems. The internal weaknesses of both the countries made them prone to consolidate their identities with regards to other states. While India sought to protect itself from west (especially US), Pakistan did the same for India. Neither was internally stable.
Territorial Disputes between India and Pakistan
- Due to political differences between the two countries, the territorial claim of Kashmir has been the subject of wars in 1947, 1965 and a limited conflict in 1999 and frequent ceasefire violations and promotion of rebellion within the Indian side of Jammu and Kashmir.
- The then princely state remains an area of contention and is divided between the two countries by the Line of Control (LoC), which demarcates the ceasefire line agreed post-1947 conflict
- Siachen Glacier is located in Northern Ladakh in the Karakoram Range.
- It is the 5th largest glacier in Karakoram Range and the 2nd largest glacier in the world.
- Most of the Siachen Glacier is disputed between India and Pakistan.
- Before 1984, neither of the two countries had any permanent presence on the glacier.
- Under the Shimla Agreement of 1972, the Siachen was called a barren and useless.
- This Agreement also did not specify the boundary between India and Pakistan.
- When India got intelligence that Pakistan was going occupy Siachen Glacier, it launched Operation Meghdoot to reach the glacier first.
- Following the success of Operation Meghdoot, the Indian Army obtained the area at a higher altitude and Pakistan army getting a much lower altitude.
- Thus, India has a strategic advantage in this region.
- Following the 2003 armistice treaty between the two countries, firing and bombardment have ceased in this area, though both the sides have stationed their armies in the region.
- Sir Creek is a 96 km tidal estuary on the border of India and Pakistan. The creek, which opens up into the Arabian Sea, divides the Gujarat state of India from the Sindh province of Pakistan.
- Sir Creek Dispute: The basic cause of the Sir Creek dispute lies in the interpretation of the maritime boundary line between Kutch and Sindh. While the disputed area of Sir Creek involves only a few square miles of land, the land border demarcation has a direct impact on the maritime boundaries of both countries, involving a few hundred square miles of the ocean territory.
- Pakistan’s Position: Pakistan claims the entire Sir Creek, with its eastern bank defined by a “green line” and represented on a 1914 map belongs to it. Accepting Pakistan’s premise on the “green line” would mean loss of about 250 square miles of EEZ for India.
- India’s Position: India says that the green line is an indicative line and felt the boundary should be defined by the “mid-channel” of the Creek as shown on a map dated 1925. India supports its stance by citing the Thalweg doctrine in international law. It states that river boundaries between two states may be, if the two states agree, divided by the mid- channel. Pakistan maintains that the doctrine is not applicable in this case as it most commonly applies to non-tidal rivers, and Sir Creek is a tidal estuary.
-Source: The Hindu