National Security

Re-arranging Operational Ideology

By Rana Athar Javed

Pakistan’s internal security situation remains treacherous, precarious and is now reached to the degree of “sub-conventional” warfare, where even the intensity of conventional Indian threat is being reduced to the lower degree. Still, the balance between hardened realism and current operational ideology should be understood on the basis of mutual respect and thereby not adhering to self-defeating prophesies, motivated by irrational argument of unattainable national objectives for future generations. Pakistan’s current economic and security policy toward India and Russia would ensure better chances of peaceful settlement of core issues including the dispute of Jammu & Kashmir.

De-politicization of national security system in Pakistan is a further case in point, which reflects substantive progress in the modern military thinking for future of stability in South Asia. The political and ideological consideration of such a policy will have an overwhelming influence on many issues of national security including economy, trade, energy and regional security. Practically, the immediate effects may force India to cease the “inward” fervor of downgrading Pakistan’s international credibility and discourage Hindu fundamentalists’ designs in terms of motivating “irrationality” to harm Pakistan’s territorial integrity.

In the current circumstances, ideological positioning and agreements between Pakistan’s democratic and military quarters appraise the utility of policy-making in war-times  Consequently, overlapping of foreign and national security policies will be limited, which in turn can enhance leadership capability to conduct serious and solid decision-making. According to press reports, “Pakistan Army now considers internal war as the biggest threat to the national security. The paradigm shift in Pakistan military’s operational priorities has come to the fore in a ‘Green Book’ containing the ideology of Pak Army. The strategic importance of this policy reflects Pakistan’s willingness to minimize the internal security threats, and introduce a relatively advanced system of foreign and security relationship in South Asia. There would, however be pressures and expectations to suspend such an ideological position. But, prior to any religious/political uproar and international reaction, perhaps it is rather plausible not to make recommendations out of fear, instability and risk of spreading sub-conventional warfare in other parts of South Asia.

In 2013, the commitment to continue counterterrorism cooperation shifts to the next level of implementing powerful potential tools, in order to restore worsening law and order situation. The absence of clearly defined legislation to punish terrorists, has essentially given reasons to local and foreign militants to impact the overall national security objectives. From time to time, the flow of insufficient information about the real reasons behind blurred international policy has also been source of concessions to the international terrorist networks. Despite its scope and dangerous patterns, the current sub-conventional warfare is rather reached to intolerable level of complexity. Problems of coordination and integration of intelligence assessment are a common point of disagreement between different branches of security institutions, especially among the NATO member states.

Also, as the issue of operational ideology has grown in complexity over the past decade, the bureaucracy too has grown in size, and thereby need for more effective mechanism of accountability and sharing of vital “pieces” of information. For the most part, the re-arranged operational ideology of Pakistan Army is of particular importance in the national security and stability areas, the improved shape of which will cast a considerable influence on both internal security and peace efforts of Pakistan. Offering a voice of moderation and stressing the importance of peaceful coexistence with the neighboring countries, especially India characterizes the diplomatic aspect of military approach in twenty-first century.

To be concluded, a broad national prospective to view internal security challenges primarily through military prism is recommended because the very nature of conventional warfare is changed. Hence diplomatic options and strengthening of internal security apparatuses obviously should receive greater attention. With by far the most developed national security policy assessment, planning and implementation program, no conflict can be ended without a political solution. Although throughout the war on terror, repeated attempts have been made to weaken Pakistan’s internal security system, and often the major partners maintained “channels” of communication with foreign militants operating from the Afghanistan. The discrepancy between policy and practice of the major powers including the US too has contributed to instability in Pakistan.

The submission of extensive policy planning to strategize various aspects of “sub-conventional” warfare is not a statement of accusations or failures. It is rather a direct approach of actively seeking to negotiate where required and protect civilian lives and territorial integrity with its defensive and offensive operations. In a nutshell, the strategic reasoning behind re-arranging operational ideology is directed at two distinct national security dangers to Pakistan: a) the presence of irregular militant force in cooperation with their foreign sponsors whose acts of terrorism could pose a major threat to Pakistan’s integrity and, b) unlocking the traditional conflicts with India, especially in a conventional military sense, but, still maintaining “strategic parity” between the two neighboring states.

As events will unfold in 2013 in Afghanistan, Iran, Syria and Pakistan, it is better if the hostilities with traditional enemies are contained to a limited scale. This policy approach alone could become the source of stability in South Asia – An international/regional response and cooperation should be forthcoming!