Fresh NSP a step in right direction: COAS

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From Our Defense Correspondent

ISLAMABAD: Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa on Friday lauded the country’s first-ever National Security Policy (NSP) 2022-2026, saying that it would help ensure the national security of Pakistan.
Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Imran Khan launched the public version of the policy. “An inclusive development was inevitable for national security,” the premier said at the NSP launch ceremony in Islamabad.
Federal ministers, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, all services chiefs, diplomats, senior civil and military officers attended the launching ceremony.
“Inclusive growth means not only to uplift the poor people but also the neglected areas… [In such a case] every common man becomes a stakeholder to protect the state. The biggest security is when people stand behind the state for its protection,” PM Imran added.
“Any national security approach must prioritise national cohesion and the prosperity of the people while guaranteeing fundamental rights and social justice without discrimination.”
The premier added that it is necessary to promote delivery-based good governance if the country is to realise the full potential of its citizens.
The prime minister, who earlier signed the document, appreciated the National Security Division for formulating a policy based on consensus and defining national security in the “right manner”.
General Qamar, while informally talking to reporters on the occasion, said that the military security is only one aspect of national security, adding that the formulation of a comprehensive policy covering all aspects of national security is a “great step”.
The army chief said the document would help in maintaining the national security of Pakistan.
Earlier, it was reported that peace with immediate neighbours and economic diplomacy will be the central theme of the country’s foreign policy in the new National Security Policy.
The original 100-page policy, which would be kept under wraps, leaves the door open for trade and business ties with India without final settlement of the longstanding Kashmir dispute provided there is progress in the talks between the two nuclear-armed neighbours, an official in a background briefing to journalists said on Tuesday.
“We are not seeking hostility with India for the next 100 years. The new policy seeks peace with immediate neighbours,” the official said, adding if there was a dialogue and progress in it, there would be a possibility of normalising trade and commercial ties with India as it had happened in the past.
Relations between Pakistan and India have been at a virtual standstill since August 2019, when India revoked the special status of the disputed territory. Pakistan, in reaction to the Indian move, downgraded diplomatic ties and suspended bilateral trade with India.
In February last year, there were some hopes of a breakthrough when the two sides agreed to restore the ceasefire understanding along the Line of Control (LoC) but the process could not make further headway.