ISLAMABAD: The Senate defence committee was told on Thursday that India was the only external military threat to Pakistan.

Military officials shared the perceived threat with members of the Senate body during a visit to the Joint Staff (JS) Headquarters. In the briefing they were also informed on how the JS Headquarters worked as a higher defence organisation and Strategic Plans Division, which is the custodian of the nuclear programme.

This was the committee’s first visit to the JS Headquarters, where the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, General Rashad Mahmood, and his team briefed the members.

The Senate committee, led by Mushahid Hus­sain, was further infor­med that India had over the last couple of years purchased weapons worth $100bn — 80 per cent of which were Pakistan-specific.

The Indian army’s shopping spree, it was said, was continuing and over the next five years it would be buying weapons worth another $100 billion.

India, which is the world’s second largest arms importer, has more than doubled its military spending over the last decade. Delhi’s defence budget for this year was $40.07 billion.

This requires a continuous evaluation of the situation and upgradation of the response mechanism, the members were informed.

The situation was particularly volatile in view of the suspended dialogue between India and Pakistan and absence of any conflict resolution mechanism. Regarding the non-traditional security challenges, the officials said threats in cyberspace were posing a major challenge.

“The joint chiefs of staff committee is recommending to the government to establish an Inter-Services Cyber Command, given the new emerging non-traditional threat of cyber attacks and cyber warfare,” said a source, who briefed Dawn about the meeting.

Senator Mushahid Hussain emphasised the need for greater inter-service coordination as it was pivotal for national security.

He further urged the government to implement the National Security Policy draft, which had been prepared in June 2014, and still needed to be promulgated by the government. Mushahid Hussain also underlined the need for institutions of national security like the Defence Committee of the Cabinet (DCC) and the National Security Committee (NSC) to meet regularly because it would not only promote better civil-military harmony but also lead to efficient implementation of policies on security and defence.

Country’s defence policy, he added, was framed in 2004. An updated defence policy draft was prepared in 2010, but still awaited enforcement.

Published in Dawn, August 28th, 2015

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