ISLAMABAD: Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa on Friday linked global peace with the impartiality of multilateral forums, collective defense of the common good and the supremacy of international law, as the head of the army became the first-ever Pakistani dignitary to be invited by the British monarch as a chief guest to the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst.
“In the interest of world peace, we must strive to preserve the vitality, relevance and internal sense of impartiality in multilateral institutions, maintain consensus on the collective defense of global commons and uphold the prestige of international law.
“In case we fail to do that, I am afraid we may end up destroying the beautiful world that we have,” Gen Bajwa said while speaking at the Sovereign’s Parade for Commissioning Course 213.
Apart from the UK, 41 international cadets from 26 countries, including two from Pakistan — Cadet Mohammad Abdullah Babar Malik and Cadet Mujtaba Ahmed Malik — were among those passed out.
COAS becomes first-ever Pakistani dignitary to be invited to Sandhurst as chief guest
Reacting to the visit, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif also tweeted: “COAS Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa’s address at Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, the UK, as chief guest is not just a matter of honour for the armed forces but also for Pakistan. This is a recognition of the Pakistan-UK strategic partnership & the success of our armed forces in war on terror.”
In his address, Gen Bajwa said the primary reason for the existence of the armed forces should not be to prosecute wars, but to ensure that they do not take place. “Mankind’s destiny, more than ever before, hinges on our collective capacity to come together and take the route of peace and cooperation instead of conflict, communication instead of clash and multilateralism instead of self-preservation,” he said.
He said his presence at the academy was a testament to the deep-rooted relationship between Pakistan and the UK, which was based on mutual respect and shared values carefully nurtured by both nations over many decades. “Our huge Pakistani diaspora in the United Kingdom displays the strength of our historic relationship,” the army chief pointed out.
Similarly, he said, the bond between the two armed forces was uniquely special as well, forged on the battlefields of great wars and kept alive over the years through exclusive regimental affiliations and close professional contact in training and a myriad of other military activities.
AI’s role in war
Addressing the cadets, the COAS said that as a direct consequence of the onset of fourth industrial revolution, dual-use technologies and niche capabilities led by artificial intelligence were fundamentally altering the character of future wars.
He noted that the battlefields of the future would be characterised by extreme precision, lethality and transparency that would be particularly challenging for military leaders, especially young officers in the battle, both mentally and physically. “This future is inevitable, and each one of you would have to adapt to new realities in the technological domain to ensure successful outcome in the battle,” he remarked.
Gen Bajwa said while it was important to understand the change in the character of war, there were some realities in battlefield that would never change. He highlighted the value of keeping up a brave face in front of the troops, even when one is as shattered and frightened inside as all of them. “Remember, when lot of lead is flying in the air in the battlefield, an officer never says advance, rather always says follow me,” he said.
Gen Bajwa said Sandhurst, which has groomed boys and girls from the UK and Commonwealth countries from across the world for over 200 years, is without a doubt one of the finest military institutions that produced some of the greatest military leaders this world has ever seen.
“Two Pakistani cadets would also be graduating with you today. Let me say that I am as proud of you all, as I am proud of them,” the army chief said.
He said correct decision-making required competence and confidence, which could only be acquired through high-class military education, rigorous training and continuous study of military history.
Published in Dawn, August 13th, 2022