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tITLE page of the book.
tITLE page of the book.

ISLAMABAD: The Chai­r­­man of Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, Gen Zub­air Hayat, on Friday said that credibility of the country’s deterrence capability would be ensured and strategic balance with India would be restored.

“We have and we will continue to provide necessary response to ensure that strategic balance is maintained and Pakistan’s deterrence remains credible. Let there be no doubt on that account,” Gen Hayat said at the launch of a book Shaking Hands with Clenched Fists at the Centre for International Strategic Studies (CISS).

The book has been authored by Dr Asma Shakir Khawaja of the Nati­onal Defence University.

Gen Zubair’s statement came against the backdrop of first deterrence patrol by Indian nuclear submarine INS Arihant and Indian deal for acquisition of S-400 missile systems from Russia.

The chairman joint chiefs of staff committee said the ‘deterrence patrol’ by Indian submarine showed New Delhi’s determination “to maintain its long-standing tradition of introducing new instruments of instability with which it can attempt eroding deterrence stability in the region”.

Gen Zubair saw the deterrence patrol and dropping of ‘minimum’ from India’s concept of credible deterrence as Indian attempts at dramatically altering the strategic landscape.

However, he said, Pakistan was unfazed by these developments. “This is neither surprising for us nor it rattles us.”

Elaborating on Pakistani response to the developments, he said it would be defined by restraint and responsibility for peace and stability in the region.

At the book launch, Gen Zubair also spoke about the world powers helping India with its unprecedented military build-up and granting it exceptional access to high technology. He stressed that these actions were also undermining regional stability.

Gen Zubair said that Pakistan remained committed to peace and conflict resolution with its neighbour, although such offers had been spurned in the past.

“We are willing to herald a new era of regional peace, progress and prosperity that can help over 1.5 billion South Asian people ‘recover’ from their tragic and tumultuous legacy of ‘surviving’ from ‘crisis to crisis’ and ‘conflict to conflict’,” he said and hoped that India would meet Pakistan at least halfway.

“This vision of a peaceful, stable, prosperous and secure South Asia cannot be unilaterally achieved. This would require reciprocity of political intent, revival of diplomacy and composite dialogue process and responsible and restrained strategic behaviour,” he added.

Gen Zubair said that Pakistan’s proposal of Strategic Restraint Regime was still awaiting a positive response from India.

CISS Executive Director Amb Ali Sarwar Naqvi said that South Asia was a crisis-prone region due to unresolved disputes between India and Pakistan. These issues, he said, had resulted in trust deficit and lack of communications between the two countries.

Mr Naqvi said that failure of some CBMs between Pakistan and India was due to the difference between their respective approaches towards the CBMs. He also stated that the clenched fists were on the Indian side.

Published in Dawn, November 10th, 2018

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