In Its First-Ever National Security Policy, Pakistan to Seek Peace, Economic Diplomacy With India

imran khan

In its first-ever National Security Policy, Pakistan will express interest in pursuing peace with India and other immediate neighbours, leaving doors open for trade and commerce even without the settlement of the Kashmir issue provided there is headway in bilateral talks.

The National Security Policy, separately endorsed by the National Security Committee and the Cabinet last month, is scheduled to be formally unveiled by Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday.

Speaking to News18, sources in the Pakistan government said Islamabad is more or less certain that New Delhi will not “make any U-turn on Kashmir” even as the former suffers the impact of bilateral trade stalemate.

Aimed at normalising trade ties with India and other neighbours, the National Security Policy has reportedly been drafted with economic diplomacy as the central theme of Pakistan’s foreign policy.

The five-year-policy document covering a period between 2022-26, is being propped up by the Pakistan government as the country’s first-ever strategy paper of its kind that spells out the national security vision and guidelines for the attainment of those goals.

The original 100-page policy, which would be kept under wraps, leaves the door open for trade and business ties with India without the final settlement of the longstanding Kashmir dispute provided there is progress in the talks between the two nuclear-armed neighbours, a report in the Express Tribune newspaper quoted an official as saying.

“We are not seeking hostility with India for the next 100 years. The new policy seeks peace with immediate neighbours,” the official said on condition of anonymity.

Ties between India and Pakistan nose-dived after a terror attack on the Pathankot Air Force base in 2016 by terror groups based in the neighbouring country. Subsequent attacks, including one on an Indian Army camp in Uri, further deteriorated the relationship.

India’s war planes pounded a Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist training camp deep inside Pakistan on February 26, 2019 in response to the Pulwama terror attack in which 40 CRPF jawans were killed. Ties took another hit after India announced withdrawing the special powers of Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcation of the state into two Union Territories in August, 2019.

Responding to the developments, sources in the Indian government said New Delhi is “open for better relationship with Pakistan” provided the country stop supporting terrorist groups against India. Sources also maintained that India will not pursue any relationship with Pakistan “at the cost of Kashmir”.

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