On 8 Dec 2021, Center for International Strategic Studies (CISS) organized a conference on, ‘Strategic Stability and Nuclear Security: Global and Regional Perspectives’ at the National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST). The conference featured discussions between various national and international experts on issues of contemporary significance. The event was also open for virtual participation.
Lt Gen (R) Khalid Ahmed Kidwai, former Director General Strategic Plans Division, presented the keynote address. He highlighted that in the strategic stability-instability paradigm of South Asia, it has become Pakistan’s responsibility to ensure that strategic stability will not be disturbed at any stage, despite India’s consistent efforts to swing the pendulum towards instability.
Being a responsible nuclear weapon State, Pakistan will not let destabilizing inductions and doctrines to create instability.
Lt Gen (R) Kidwai raised the possibility of yet another false flag operation by India as a signature electoral strategy prior to the upcoming State Elections in Feb 2022 in five States, including the critical States of Uttar Pradesh and East Punjab.
He cautioned India not to consider Pakistan’s robust nuclear capability as a bluff. He stated, “If an irresponsible military adventure were to be undertaken by India again, Pakistan will respond forcefully under its retaliatory doctrine of ‘Quid Pro Quo Plus’, as it did successfully the very next day of Balakot on the 27th of February 2019.”
In deliberations on “global strategic stability and its implications for South Asia,” it was pointed out that the great power competition is giving impetus to development and modernization of weapon systems that are undermining the basic pillars of strategic stability. The so-called Indo-Pacific strategy is giving rise to regional insecurities and threatening the deterrent relationship between the regional players.
Regarding “Regional Security Dynamics of South Asia: Opportunities and Challenges,” the speakers were of the views that the region faces security challenges owing to increasing military asymmetries, fueled by global power competition. Concerns were raised about the environment of unresolved disputes like Kashmir and absence of dispute resolution mechanisms.
Projecting Hindustan as net security provider and foundational agreements like Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement only give New Delhi room for strategic manoeuvring and military advantage over other States at the cost of legitimate security concerns of others.
The debate on “Global Nuclear Security Architecture: Regional Trends, Challenges and the Way Forward,” concluded that nuclear security is a national responsibility. Dr Salik said that Pakistan has a proven record spanning forty-seven years of safe and secure operations of civilian nuclear power plants. Pakistan looks forward to equitable access to international civil nuclear cooperation. The country is implementing the various security measures and protocols in an institutionalized way, aligning with the best international practices. It is this progress that led to the recognition by DG IAEA that Pakistan’s nuclear security protocols are worth emulating.
Executive Director CISS, Amb (R) Ali Sarwar Naqvi, concluded that there is a need for cooperative frameworks in an increasingly volatile global security environment. He called for diplomacy to take the leading role in resolution of disputes rather than exploring military solutions and adopting confrontationist approaches.