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Thursday, February 15, 2024

Impact of Kargil Conflict 1999 on Pakistan’s Current Security Perspective

Zeeshan Shahid Khan |


Taking the Indian Army totally by surprise, Pakistani troops crossed over the Line of Control (LOC) in Kashmir in early 1999 and managed to occupy heights from where they could effectively interdict the Indian Main Supply Route (MSR) to Siachen, an area claimed by Pakistan and occupied by the Indian Army in a similar manner. The reasons for Pakistan’s prosecution of the Kargil Conflict lie embedded in the Kashmir dispute, unresolved despite a number of UN resolutions. The deep-rooted hostility between the two countries since the creation of Pakistan has led them to a number of conflicts: in 1948 mujahideen from the tribal areas of Pakistan liberated a part of Kashmir, while Pakistan Army under the command of a British Chief refused to defend Kashmir against the onslaught of Indian Army; in 1965 Pakistan initiated a failed infiltration into Kashmir which resulted in the stalemated 1965 War; in 1971 India sponsored insurgency in the then East Pakistan, trained and armed guerilla separatists and then invaded Pakistan and dismembered it – the world kept quiet; in 1984 India occupied Siachen in violation of the Simla Agreement – the world kept quiet; Pakistan’s support to the indigenous liberation struggle of Kashmiris was brought under tremendous global pressure branding Pakistan as ‘a state sponsoring terrorism’ and Pakistan was forced to pull out it’s backing. These events created a typical mindset in Pakistan, particularly in the Pakistan Army, which led to the Kargil venture. Some add to it the ambitiousness of the then military commander, General Pervez Musharraf. The idea was not original and had been presented by the army in the 1980s and 1990s to the political leadership of the country (Zia ul Haq and Benazir Bhutto), to force the Indians to pull out of Siachen, but the plans had been shelved for fear of escalation to an all-out war. Some analysts believe that the blueprint of the attack was reactivated soon after Pervez Musharraf was appointed Chief of Army Staff in October 1998.

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Chronology of Events

A brief summary is:-

Autumn 98      Pakistan takes the decision to launch a limited military operation in Kargil.

Feb 99 Pakistan commences infiltration across the LOC.

3 May 99         Indian shepherds report Pakistani intrusion.

10 May 99       Indian Army confirms the presence of Pakistani troops and initiates the move of additional troops from Kashmir Valley.

26-28 May 99  IAF launches air strikes against Pakistan’s intrusion and loses two jet aircraft’s and one MI 17.

1 June 99         Pakistan intensifies interdiction of the highway.

5 June 99         Indian Army releases documents recovered from Pakistani soldiers confirming Pakistan’s involvement.

6 June 99         Indian Army offensive in Kargil opens up.

15 June 99       U.S. President asks Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to pull out from Kargil.

20 June 99       Pakistan Army posts start falling under repeated Indian attacks.

4 July 99          Features overlooking the highway are lost to the Indians.

5 July 99          Nawaz Sharif announces Pakistani army’s withdrawal from Kargil following his meeting with Clinton.

11 July 99        Pakistan Army begins to pull out.

26 July 99        Kargil conflict officially comes to an end. Indian Army announces complete eviction of Pakistani intruders.

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Pakistan’s Initiative

Pakistan’s military aim for carrying out the intrusions was to cut the MSR for Siachen, thereby causing a logistics collapse and forcing the Indians to pull out of Siachen, an area occupied in violation of the Simla Agreement between Pakistan and India.

The area that witnessed the infiltration and fighting is a 160 km long stretch of ridges overlooking the only road linking Srinagar and Leh, which was the MSR for Siachen. The military outposts on the ridges overlooking the highway were generally around 16,000 feet high, with a few as high as 18,000 feet. It was a common practice for both sides to vacate border posts in some of the harshest areas during winters since heavy snowfall makes the extremely rugged area almost impassable. The plan was based on early reoccupation of their posts, preempting the Indians, and passing through vacant Indian posts cut the MSR over Srinagar – Zoji La – Kargil – Leh Highway. Zoji La pass, at over 11,500 feet, remains closed during winters and normally opens by the end of May or beginning of June, after which the Indian Army commences its logistics dumping for Siachen.

The plan was kept secret by the Army Chief and only four senior officers were in the know of it, the Army Chief, Chief of General Staff, Commander 10 Corps, and Commander Force Command Northern Areas (FCNA). The Military Operations Directorate was also not into the loop. Even the commanders of Pakistan Navy and Air Force were not aware. Pakistan Army also undertook certain steps to maintain an element of surprise. No new units were inducted into FCNA; artillery units, which were inducted during the heavy exchange of fire from July to September 98, were not de-inducted; there was no movement of reserve formations or units into FCNA until after the commencement of Indian operations; no new administrative bases were created; logistic lines of communication were behind ridgelines and in the nullahs well hidden from Indian observation.

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During February 1999, earlier than usual, the Pakistan Army began to re-occupy the posts it had abandoned on its side of the LOC in the Kargil region, and also sent forces to occupy some vacant posts on the Indian side of the LOC and areas beyond these, from where traffic on the highway could be interdicted. Pakistani intrusions took place in the heights of the lower Mushkoh Valley, along the Marpo La ridgeline in Dras, in Kaksar near Kargil, in the Batalik sector east of the Indus River, on the heights above of the Chorbatla sector and in the Turtok sector south of the Siachen area. In all 140-plus posts, encompassing approximately 130-200 sq kms were occupied by Pakistani troops in a spate of two months. General Musharraf claims that 800 sq. kms of Indian-held territory was occupied.

According to General Musharraf, the Northern Light Infantry (NLI – a paramilitary regiment not part of the regular Pakistani army at that time) set up bases on unoccupied terrain along 120 kms of the LOC and over a hundred new posts were established. It eventually became clear that not only NLI but regular army units of infantry, artillery, air defense, engineers and a host of logistics elements also took part in the operations.

Pakistan Army initially claimed that the operation had been undertaken by Kashmiri freedom fighters. General Musharraf was quoted giving the estimate that about 2,000 ‘mujahideen’ might have been involved. Later the Indian Army brought out evidence of the presence of soldiers of regular army on their territory. Pakistani Lieutenant General Shahid Aziz, who was then heading the analysis Wing of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), wrote in his article in The Nation daily, “There were no Mujahideen, only taped wireless messages, which fooled no one. Our soldiers were made to occupy barren ridges, with handheld weapons and ammunition.” Another similar report appeared in The Tribune.

Soldiers and officers of the Pakistan Army fought most gallantly. Outnumbered, outgunned and acutely short of logistics support, they held on tenaciously to their positions. Their commanders had not catered for an enemy response of the magnitude that actually materialized. The ex-Chief of General Staff of Pakistan Army writes that the entire planning and execution was done in total disregard to the military convention. The operation didn’t have the capacity to logistically choke Siachen. He further says, “There was no way to dig in, so the soldiers were told to make parapets with loose stones and sit behind them, with no overhead protection. The boys were comforted by their commander’s assessment that no serious response would come. But it did — wave after wave, supported by massive air bursting artillery and repeated air attacks. The enemy still couldn’t manage to capture the peaks, and instead filled in the valleys. Cut off and forsaken, our posts started collapsing one after the other, though the General publicly denied it.” During the first week of June the Indian Army’s counter operations gained momentum and by the middle of June Pakistani posts started to collapse. By the first week of July the MSR to Leh, which was the logistics base for Siachen, was restored.

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India’s Military Response

Kargil Conflict was a major intelligence failure for the Indians. They took three months to discover such a large ingress into their territory, and this too was reported by a shepherd. They neither knew the identity of the intruders and their actual numbers nor even their dispositions. Even after confirmation, the chain of command was reluctant to believe and hesitant to report their failure. Former chief of army staff General V.N. Sharma has no doubts: “It is an intelligence failure, one of the biggest in recent times. “Defense experts are amazed why an intrusion of such magnitude that must have taken Pakistan several months to execute went undetected.

As the operation was fully underway, about 250 artillery guns were brought in to clear the infiltrators in the posts that were in the line-of-sight. The Bofors FH-77B field howitzer played a vital role in the Indian victory. Two months into the conflict, Indian troops had slowly retaken most of the ridges that were encroached by the infiltrators; according to the official count, an estimated 75%–80% of the intruded area and nearly all high ground were back under Indian control. The Indian army launched its final attacks in the last week of July, and the fighting ceased on 26 July. The day has since been marked as Kargil Vijay Diwas (Kargil Victory Day) in India.

The effectiveness of the air force was limited by the high altitude and weather conditions, which in turn limited bomb loads and the number of airstrips that could be used. It was in this type of terrain that aerial attacks were used with limited effectiveness. Close air support was not very effective. The Indian Navy also prepared to blockade the Pakistani port of Karachi to cut off supply routes. The Indian Navy’s western and eastern fleets joined in the North Arabian Sea and began aggressive patrols and threatened to cut Pakistan’s sea trade. This exploited Pakistan’s dependence on sea-based oil and trade flows. Later, then-Prime Minister of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif disclosed that Pakistan was left with just six days of fuel to sustain itself if a full-scale war had broken out.

Conflict Termination

Lieutenant Shahid Aziz writes, “The gung-ho mannerism, when there were no pressures, was cowed when lines started shrinking and the international setting became frightening. There was no will to stay the course. Media was hushed to silence so that pulling out does not become a political issue.” When the pressure increased, Pakistan sought American help in de-escalating the conflict. However, President Clinton refused to intervene until Pakistan had removed all forces from the Indian side of the Line of Control. Following the Washington accord of 4 July 1999, when Sharif agreed to withdraw Pakistani troops, most of the fighting came to a gradual halt.

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Pakistan Army elements that infiltrated have been put at approximately 5,000 which include troops from FCNA who provided artillery support, as opposed to 30,000 soldiers India eventually mobilized under Operation Vijay. Over and above this the Air Force was in full support. India gave its official casualty figures as 527 dead and 1,363 wounded. Pakistan army losses are difficult to determine since the formal figures are unreliable. Pakistan confirmed that 453 soldiers were killed. The US Department of State had made an early, partial estimate of close to 700 fatalities. According to the PML (N) party’s “white paper” more than 3,000 Mujahideen, officers and soldiers were killed. Indian estimates stand at 1,042 Pakistani soldiers killed.

Significance of the Conflict

This conflict is the only example of high-altitude warfare of this magnitude and intensity and brought out many logistical problems for the adversaries. To date, it is also the only instance of direct, conventional warfare between nuclear states.

Ill-conceived and ill-planned the venture was a strategic failure. The strategy envisaged the taking of as many possible posts in the area and continually expanding as more vacant posts were discovered, with no preparations for holding them against prolonged counter attacks. It was assumed that the Indians would not mount any sizeable response. The charade of mujahideen undertaking the operation also turned out badly. “The non-recognition of Pakistani troops also placed severe limitations on the deployment of assets, prevented them from opening new fronts and necessitated a measure of imposed clandestineness on logistical operations even as The ‘Gang of Four’ sought to achieve a strategic military reversal”.

With respect to Kashmir, it failed to produce the desirable outcome. After the fiasco, General Musharraf stopped mentioning “retaking of Siachen” as the objective and replaced it with “internationalization of the Kashmir issue”, and claimed it a great victory on this score. The international opinion on Kashmir issue, however, took a turn that was not in Pakistan’s favor and eroded its credibility, since the infiltration came just after a peace process between the two countries was underway. The sanctity of the LOC too received international recognition. President Clinton’s move to ask Islamabad to withdraw hundreds of armed militants from Indian-administered Kashmir was viewed by many in Pakistan as indicative of a clear shift in U.S. policy against Pakistan. Pakistani complicity in supporting militants in the Kashmiri region began to attract worldwide attention.

Kargil also widened the Pakistani domestic civil-military trust deficit. The ensuing suspicion prompted a bloodless coup d’état of the Nawaz Sharif government and the installation of General Musharraf as Pakistan’s fourth Dictator.

The already fragile Pakistan economy was weakened further, with the possibility of international isolation. The morale of Pakistan forces after the withdrawal declined as many units of the Northern Light Infantry suffered heavy casualties, and because the defeat resulting from the blunders of their senior commanders brought shame upon them. Pakistan even refused to acknowledge and take back the bodies of a number of its shaheed soldiers; an issue that provoked outrage and protests in the Northern Areas.

Lessons Learnt by Pakistan

In any conflict with India, Pakistan will stand isolated. Kargil was yet another example for Pakistan that when it comes to India the international environment would not support its position. Pakistan found itself isolated in 1948 over Kashmir dispute and has remained isolated on this till date. Similar diplomatic isolation was faced in 1965 and 1971 wars, even though the country was dismembered. The world had also kept quiet when the Indians took Hyderabad, Junagarh or even Siachen. Pakistan must realize that all foreign factors would be against it in the next conflict, and ought to plan to win despite it.

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Resolution of Kashmir issue can only be brought about by securing the right of freedom of expression for Kashmiris – Kargil-like operations are not a solution. Notwithstanding the political rhetoric of peace with India, Kashmir issue must be resolved according to the wishes of its people. Pakistan must not bow down to Indian claim of Kashmir being an integral part of India, and to the resultant clampdown on the expression of this right by the Kashmiris. If not given this right, Kashmiris have no other option but to continue to upscale their resistance and eventually to take up arms – Pakistan must clearly state this. We must plainly differentiate Kashmir’s freedom struggle, in its historical and moral perspective, from all forms of terrorism. The world must be made to realize that if such issues are not addressed, they would give rise to extremism and ultimately to terrorism. If East Timor can be granted independence and a new state can be carved out for Christian minority in Sudan, then certainly Kashmiris possess a far greater right to freedom. The world cannot deny it. No country ever gives up its claim because of existing inabilities to actualize it. Japan has not surrendered its claim on territories occupied by Russia during the Second World War. Pakistan must push for the right of Kashmiris to at least raise their claim, sanctified by the UN, on the political platform. Pakistan faces desertification if Kashmir is lost to the Indians. Nature has left us no option. Therefore, until Pakistan is proactive and matures as a state, to show resolution and grit in its political support to the freedom struggle, meaningless ventures like Kargil, undertaken by maverick military commanders, will continue to haunt our future.

Nuclear Umbrella has changed the dynamics of conflict. Unlike 1965, despite a major incursion by Pakistan, India was not willing to risk escalation. All uproar of deployment of Indian troops on the borders was posturing for the international community, to raise their concerns about the possibility of the conflict widening to conventional war and subsequently escalating to nuclear use. Actual troop-deployment by India was nominal. India was not willing to take the risk of escalation. The bogey was raised only to garner world opinion to seek global support in harnessing Pakistan. Nuclear deterrence was visibly seen at work at both levels – firstly to keep India in check and secondly to catalyze international intervention.

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Politico-Military structural cohesion is essential for pursuing national interests. There was total disunity clearly visible in the political and military hierarchy, particularly when the pressures started to mount – so much so that it eventually led to a military takeover; and the Kargil blame game continues till date. The media, under the half-hearted political leadership, refused to support the operations of the Army. The Army failed to give an accurate picture and assessment to the political leadership. This was a major contributor to the faulty initiation and dismal termination of the conflict. Pakistan’s current political structure is not designed to manage the real power politics in the country. The government is incompetent of comprehending the dynamics of military conflict and the Army is incapable of grasping the politico-economic fallout of such ventures. This anomaly must be addressed if we are to stand up on our feet as a responsible nuclear state.

Pakistan must develop specific media strategies to manage international opinion. This is a perpetual weakness and has now become clearly visible in the time of commercialized media and the global war on terrorism. We are always at the wrong end of the stick. India has certain advantages vis-a-vis Pakistan and we will have to play with this handicap. This makes media management all the more critical for us. We need a professional institutional mechanism to handle this, even on day to day basis.

Impact of Kargil on Indian Perceptions

Kargil, being a tactical and strategic surprise, was a significant blow to India’s perception of its security. The Kargil Review Committee Report identifies the shortfalls of Indian intelligence, equipment and the inherent deficiencies of the Indian intelligence apparatus. India’s intelligence failure has reinforced their commitment to a more robust forward defense and to improving logistics and intelligence capabilities to prevent future Pakistani incursions. India’s logistical unpreparedness was also attributed for leaving troops without adequate food supplies, clothing, and ammunition. India is in the process of a complete overhaul of its intelligence infrastructure and investing in more technologically and is “now confident that it can effectively counter the most audacious conventional Pakistani threats along the LOC even when disadvantaged by surprise.”

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The Rand Corporation report on Kargil suggests that India perceives Pakistan to be a reckless, adventuristic, risk-acceptant, untrustworthy state and sees the “virulently anti-India” Pakistan Army as a substantial cause of the problem. Pakistan’s prosecution of Kargil, while the government was engaged in the Lahore Declaration process, was understood to be outrageously duplicitous. The report identifies that the most important conclusion India drew from Kargil is that, “India must be prepared to counter a wide range of Pakistani threats that may be mounted by what is essentially a reckless but tenacious adversary. In this context, India must develop the robust forward defense capabilities necessary to thwart surprise and to win even if surprised by Pakistan. (…) Another lesson is that if India is obliged to respond forcefully in future episodes, covert rather than overt action may be preferable.” The manifestation of this is India’s role on Pakistan’s Western borders, since 9/11, and its involvement in FATA (Federally Administered Tribal Areas).

One of the principal findings of the Rand Corporation analysis is that there is a broad consensus that Kargil-like operations are not viable in the current international environment; and since Pakistan’s diplomatic and military options are now quite limited, as far as resolving the issue of Kashmir is concerned, violence in various forms remains a legitimate means to achieve their political objectives in Kashmir. The Indian perception is that given these constraints, “Pakistan believes that one of its few remaining successful strategies is to ‘calibrate’ the heat of the insurgency in Kashmir and possibly pressure India through the expansion of violence in other portions of India’s territory.”

India understands that it won Kargil at a strategic level in part because of New Delhi’s effective media management and thus can be expected to continue its pursuit of a more robust perception management capability. The Kargil Review Committee Report states that “The media is or can be a valuable force multiplier. Even in circumstances of proxy war, the battle for hearts and minds is of paramount importance. It is little use winning the battle of bullets only to lose the war because of popular alienation.” Various print and television stories also painted India as a nation at the front line of Islamic terrorism. Another aspect of the media’s televised depiction of India’s war dead was the galvanizing of domestic support for more aggressive actions against Pakistan. India values the role of perception management in affecting public opinion domestically as well as influencing the morale of the Indian and Pakistani militaries and it will continue its sustained offensive in the information war.

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Through a well-organized diplomatic and media strategy, India managed to secure the condemnation of Pakistan’s incursion by most major world powers and international blocs: including the G8, the European Union, and the ASEAN. Forceful persuasion or coercive diplomacy was used through the implicit threat of all-out war, to secure international corroboration and assistance. The U.S. State Department was also quoted as saying that sanctions might be imposed against Pakistan if it continued with its intransigent posture. The Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, Zhu Bangzao, explained: “China hopes India and Pakistan will exercise restraint and peacefully resolve their differences and problems through patient and sincere dialogue.” The United Nations, particularly, members of the Security Council, assured India there would be no attempt to intervene in Kashmir, although Pakistan was said to have requested such intervention. Indian diplomacy managed to secure the unconditional withdrawal of all Pakistani troops and India’s position on Kashmir gained legitimacy, as it was viewed to have been the defender of a territory under attack from a belligerent, unprovoked aggressor.

India now perceives that Pakistan has lost its Kashmir cause and any future negotiations with Pakistan must only focus on peripheral issues. The international reaction to the Kargil intrusion has demonstrated to India the power of world opinion to restrict Pakistan’s options at all levels of diplomacy and war and would seek to develop and exploit that perception. India now stands strengthened in its determination to marginalize Pakistan on Kashmir. While India has been repeatedly affirming its willingness to engage procedurally with Pakistan, “its incentives to engage in negotiations that harbor the prospect of substantive concessions of the sort desired by Pakistan — a plebiscite in accordance with the UN resolutions, a redrawing of the territorial boundaries to include a possible transfer of the Kashmir valley to Pakistan, or a trifurcation of the state of Jammu and Kashmir along religious-ethnic lines — have always been minimal. This calculus has only been reinforced by the events occurring at Kargil.”

Finally, India has recognized the necessity of taking nuclear issues more seriously. If Kargil-like operations are expected to occur with some frequency, New Delhi may be forced to consider the need to develop some strategic rapid-response capabilities as a way to deter any Pakistani brandishing of nuclear weapons.

The war and its outcome also strengthened Indian civil-military relations, the public mandate for the Government was fortified, the Indian stock market rose 30% and defense expenditure was considerably increased in the subsequent budget. India’s alliances with traditional military partners were strengthened, expediting the infusion of new technology and methods, and concerted programs for the indigenization of new technology were launched.

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An all-out war in a nuclear environment is extremely risky, where even if kept below the nuclear threshold, both Pakistan and India cannot afford a long drawn war of attrition with the overhanging fear of it spinning out of control. The only possibility being an Indian initiative, backed by a US decision to denuclearize Pakistan; wherein the US intervenes to prevent escalation to a nuclear level. Therefore short and limited aims campaigns are likely to retain their significance in the foreseeable future if conducive global perceptions can be built; which in the prevalent environment may only be an Indian option. This could encompass Kargil type incursions by India for limited objectives or limited air or naval operations for military coercion.

Pakistan is unlikely to initiate another Kargil type venture due to the hostile international environment as well as increased preparedness of India. However, it is likely that both countries enhance their capabilities to cause standoff damage to each other across the LOC. This is more damaging to Pakistan since it cannot retaliate because of Muslim population on either side of the LOC.

Any engagement with India can only be for the sake of form; no substantive results can be expected. India will attempt to create conducive environments for Pakistan to enable it to compromise on Kashmir. This conclusion has also been drawn by the Rand Corporation study, which states, “India will undertake confidence-building efforts with Pakistan in order to enable Islamabad to sell domestically the concessions that New Delhi believes Pakistan will eventually have to make (on Kashmir). India will seek to create a hospitable bilateral environment to help Pakistan achieve this aim.”

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Pakistan’s Compulsions for the Future

The Kargil conflict, or in the broader sense conflict with India, has now to be viewed in light of the ongoing War on Terrorism and its global dynamics; where Pakistan has to face India’s complicity in the proxy war against Pakistan through FATA and in Balochistan and her role in destabilizing Karachi. In this backdrop, Pakistan stands isolated based on the perception of it being an increasingly Islamist state and a breeding ground for terrorists. External threats to Pakistan’s security emanate from an unstable Afghanistan, a perpetually hostile India and backlash of militants due to our being a US ally in its occupation of Afghanistan. Internally Pakistan is politically unstable due to repeatedly discredited elected governments, perpetual price hikes, rampant corruption and endemic mismanagement. There is growing public resentment on account of Pakistan’s collaboration with the US, which is widely seen to be the root cause of domestic insecurity. The Army is generally viewed as the only institution providing a measure of national security, and also as an entity independent of its political masters. Pakistan remains economically vulnerable and dependent on global financial institutions, augmenting the coercive political clout of the US. In such an environment Pakistan’s options are critically limited.

With a large commitment of army on the Western borders and the compulsion to retain troops in Balochistan for its security, Pakistan is not in a position to handle any threat emanating from the East. Due to compulsions of the global war against terrorism, such a threat would only materialize if and when it conforms to US regional design. Matters could get immensely complicated for Pakistan, if Karachi were to simultaneously get destabilized which, with the current deep and protracted ingress of foreign intelligence agencies, is not a remote possibility. Such a scenario has certainly not escaped the all-seeing-eye of those who may need to militarily coerce Pakistan to compromise on any of its critical security interests, like maintenance of a viable nuclear deterrence or to coerce Pakistan into a more dynamic involvement in the US game.

Incapable of ensuring its security against such heavy odds and weary of the capricious nature of its current allies, Pakistan must look elsewhere for it survival needs. China is Pakistan’s only balancing power in the region. It is Pakistan’s critical compulsion to safeguard its current economic engagement with China, which will eventually link Pak-China security, allowing Pakistan a breathing space. This balancing act will require foresight and deft political handling by the government.

A stable Afghanistan is essential to Pakistan’s security. This will not be possible without a constructive dialogue for peace, which is currently suspended. Pakistan’s role can be made more productive if it is seen by all the contending parties to be neutral, instead of the current status of second-fiddle to the US.

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On the Kashmir issue, Pakistan should endeavor to open a dialogue with India so as to pursue a politically more vibrant policy directed towards seeking freedom of expression for the Kashmiris, while negating Indian stance of Kashmir being an integral part of India. It is only Pakistan’s acquiescence which has made this Indian stance internationally palatable. We must seek greater international agreement on this score through diplomacy and media strategy; otherwise, Kashmir would be a lost cause, to the great detriment to Pakistan’s security.

Good governance and public confidence are critical to a government’s ability to take meaningful decisions of consequence. A politically discredited and weak government, in the environment in which Pakistan finds itself, is a sure recipe for disaster. The Army needs to play a more proactive role to promote effective governance. The current sharp division in public opinion on Pakistan’s Afghan policy, despite the massive media campaign, also does not auger well for domestic stability. It is Pakistan’s domestic political compulsion to increasingly adjust to a position of neutrality in Afghanistan.

Zeeshan Shahid Khan has been affiliated with numerous National and International security organizations over the past 20 years. He holds three Masters Degrees and an MS/MPhil in various disciplines including Arts and Sciences of Warfare and Global Business Management from Australia. Apart from being certified as a Nuclear Security Professional from WINS Academy at Vienna, he has also pursued formal education in Uloom ud Deen from International Islamic University with a special interest in Islamic History of Warfare. He has worked as Director of South Asian Strategic Stability Institute University in recent years and continues to write on issues of National and International security and strategy. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Global Village Space’s editorial policy.