There is a need for the intelligentsia and political elites to develop a greater understanding of nuclear issues, said Dr. Naeem Ahmad Salik, Executive Director of Strategic Vision Institute (SVI) at a conference held by SVI and the Faculty of Aerospace and Strategic Studies (FASS) at Air University, Islamabad.
In response to a question about the “imaginary Indian threat”, Dr. Salik referred to the aggressive rhetoric often employed by Indian policymakers about occupying parts of Azad Kashmir and added that Pakistan faces a real threat from India with whom it has fought three wars and numerous border skirmishes.
Dr. Salik further said that the introduction of nuclear deterrence has prevented wars between India and Pakistan. He underscored the French concept of “proportionate deterrence” and added that as illustrated by the French case, nuclear deterrence can also contribute towards avoiding the arms race between nuclear weapons states.
Dr. Zafar Nawaz Jaspal, Professor at Quaid-e-Azam University said that India is entering into partnerships with technologically advanced countries, like the USA and Israel, which would adversely impact strategic stability in South Asia. He added that the real challenge emanates from India’s unilateral pursuance of disruptive technologies, which is widening the gap between India and Pakistan in military technology. He further said that the situation is further aggravated by the absence of Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) between the two countries.
Dr. Adil Sultan, Dean of FASS, said that misperceptions about strategic issues can be avoided by raising awareness among the students and the general public. Dr. Adil highlighted the challenge of filtering misinformation on social media and urged students to focus on national security issues based on theory and reality. He stressed the need for students to enhance their understanding of national security issues.
The conference was part of the SVI Outreach Program and attended by experts, practitioners, academics, and a large number of students from various universities in Islamabad.
Other speakers at the conference included Maj. Gen. (R) Qasim Qureshi, Dr. Ali Sarosh, Associate Professor at Air University, Dr. Zunera Jalil, Professor at Air University, and Dr. Rabia Akhtar, Director, Center for Security, Strategy and Policy Research at the University of Lahore.