A short exclusive interview of Pakistan High Commissioner to Bangladesh
Published : Friday, 11 December, 2020 at 12:00 AM Count : 1282
Pakistan High Commissioner to Bangladesh shares his insightful reading on regional strategic environment in a nuclearized context, regional strategic stability and Pakistan's proposal of Strategic Restraint Regime with our Assistant Editor Shahriar Feroze...
Daily Observer: Pakistan is a declared nuclear state. What is your assessment of regional strategic environment in a nuclearized context?
H E Imran Ahmed Siddiqui: Regional and international security situation remains tense and fragile. At the same time, arrangements made to control arms and reduce risks in a nuclearized context are facing several challenges. Additionally, states are continuously working on modernizing their respective strategic weapon systems.
In our own region, asymmetries in conventional and non-conventional forces have intensified over the years creating a temptation for arbitrary use of force. In this context, efforts to maintain strategic stability and reduce risks in a nuclearized context should receive maximum attention.
Daily Observer: What in Pakistan's views are the pre-requisites for regional strategic stability?
H E Imran Ahmed Siddiqui: Regional states must understand the implications of continued instability and risks associated with it. Asymmetries in forces, dangerous concepts such as limited war as well as pre-emptive strike doctrines constitute destabilizing factors. While imparting a misplaced sense of security, implementation of these concepts can trigger arms competition and instability as well as enhance risks in a nuclearized context. This needs to be properly understood and reflected in national security policies.
The understanding of implications of instability and associated risks has a lot to do with the quality of leadership in any country. Medieval ideologies seeking domination could vitiate security environment. Irresponsible statements can be misconstrued particularly in the absence of strategic communication channels.
Additionally, stability is closely associated with meaningful conventional arms control measures and restraining conduct. What we witness in our region is a contrary trend being promoted by some known for their belligerence and aggression against smaller states of the region as well as occupation of foreign peoples and territories.
Daily Observer: Can you briefly describe Pakistan's proposal of Strategic Restraint Regime?
H E Imran Ahmed Siddiqui: Pakistan's proposal for strategic restraint regime consists of three main elements: i) the resolution of disputes particularly the core issue of Jammu and Kashmir, ii) maintenance of a balance between conventional forces; and iii) reciprocal measures for nuclear and missile restraint.
We firmly believe that root causes of tensions and insecurity should be addressed through peaceful means. The relevant states should exercise maximum restraint and avoid an arms race. Pakistan's conduct is in line with this. However, we view certain destabilizing developments and provocative unilateral measures with grave concern. These developments raise questions regarding commitment to peace and stability in the region.
Daily Observer: The second nuclear state of the region also claims that it maintains complete transparency about its nuclear doctrine and intention. Shouldn't it contribute to stability?
H E Imran Ahmed Siddiqui: In a nuclearized context, transparency is important but this alone cannot address instability or promote peace. Even more important are the factors such as threat perception, risks associated with asymmetrical capabilities, force postures and induction of new weapon systems. Then, we have to see who is in control of these weapon systems. In this context, discussion on certain political ideologies is very important. The Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan has spoken about these ideologies in detail.
In our region, unilateral security and political measures, irresponsible and aggressive statements for domestic political gains -- persistent violations of ceasefire leading to innocent civilian deaths -- are also contributing to instability. In the interest of regional peace and prosperity, Pakistan is exercising maximum restraint.
The interviewer is assistant editor, The Daily Observer