February 20, 2019.

Islamabad: Strategic Studies Institute Islamabad (SSII) hosted a round table discussion on “The Changing International Strategic Environment” on Wednesday. The objective of the discussion was to provide insight on important issues related to the evolving global strategic environment. The participants included students from various universities in Islamabad as well as the KP province.

Speaking on the occasion, Federal Minister for Human Rights, Dr. Shireen M. Mazari gave an overview of the world order in the post-Cold War era. She argued that after the disintegration of the Soviet Union, NATO’s role became redundant in global politics. To give a rationale for its existence, NATO started out-of-area operations -Afghanistan being a key example of this.

Dr Mazari emphasised that currently, the principle of “Coalitions of the Willing” was being applied to allow direct intervention by certain states, thereby bypassing the UNSC. She argued that there is another parallel system led by the US, in which exists a system of “Core States” enabling“the US to pursue its strategic interests through its strategic alliances”.

While discussing the situation in the Middle East and West Asia, Dr.Mazari referred to Ralph Peter’s article titled: “Blood Borders” that was published in the June 2006 issue of the US Armed Forces Journal. Peter’s, predicted that powerful Muslim states would be weakened and ultimately broken up – a phenomenon that has in fact been unfolding in the Middle East. In the post-9/11 era came the Greater Middle East Initiative GMEI, or Broader Middle East Initiative BMEI which claimed to promote liberal democracy and freedom of speech in these Muslim states, and resulted in the Arab Spring. However, there is still great instability in the region which has resulted in weakened Arab states. This instability created a power vacuum which further strengthened non-state actors and is reflected most clearly in the rise of militant groups including Daesh.

Dr. Mazari reiterated that Pakistan’s geostrategic location, and the evolving global strategic environment greatly affects Pakistan. India’s strategic partnership with the US and Israel along with their cooperation on the development of India’s BMD system poses a threat to Pakistan’s national security.

Pakistan has various options and opportunities in the current international system. It has a pivotal position in the current Afghan peace process and it can bring the regional players to the negotiating table. Dr.Mazari also highlighted that with the recent visit of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to Pakistan, the nature of cooperation between the KSA and Pakistan has changed. The signing of bilateral agreements means the state-to-state relationship has strengthened. She also stressed that escalating conflict in the Arab world would not be in Pakistan’s interest and therefore, Pakistan can still play the role of a mediator between Iran and the Arab states.

Dr.Mazari argued that the recent Pulwama incident in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) has once again brought the Kashmir issue into global focus. Pakistan can utilise this opportunity and ask the international community for a criminal tribunal to look into war crimes perpetrated by Indian forces in IOK.In light of the evolving international strategic environment, Pakistan must adopt a proactive stance to combat regional challenges and adjust its policies. She said Pakistan to move more actively to highlight Indian war crimes in IOK globally adding that we need to be more active to project Kashmir issue and demanding Kashmir resolutions.

She said we have to deal with military strategic partnership between India and US. She said the signatories of NPT have itself violated the NPT by signing civil military deals with India.

Dr Mazari said that we cannot roll out any military misadventure from Modi’s administration, if it happens, we will respond with full force.

In the end, an interactive question answer session was also conducted in which students asked different questions which were responded by the Dr Mazari.

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The purpose behind the creation of the SSII was to establish a dedicated academic and research institution for conducting research and trainings on important issues related to Pakistan’s security. SSII aim to put knowledge to practice by providing an alternate narrative in critical areas of Strategic Studies, especially Arms Control and Disarmament.


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