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Tuesday, February 7, 2023
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Pak Army’s Traditional Role in Nation Building

The Pakistan Army was already involved in the construction and protection of the CPEC since its inception. Effective implementation will have numerous benefits for the country. It will improve the lives of its people. It will boost economic prosperity and strengthen ties with China's neighbors.

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Domestically, the multibillion-dollar Chinese investment in Pakistan to build CPEC is being hailed as a game changer. Fears that forces hostile to both Pakistan and China may sabotage the project temper this optimism. Recognizing the significance of the project for the national economy and connectivity with China and the stakes were so high in the case of CPEC, the Army is directly involved.

Military engineers are hard at work constructing segments of this corridor where no road exists, and the Army also has assumed the responsibility for its security. That was an excellent example of military and civilian integration in a major national project.

Read more: Is Defence Budget worth Pak Army’s contributions?

Traditional Role of Pak Army in Nation Building

The purpose of maintaining regular armed forces is to ensure national security. Military organizations are well-suited to nation-building tasks in addition to ensuring national security. Since the country’s inception, the Pakistan Army has been involved in nation-building. The reason is straightforward. The Pakistan Army emerged from the chaos that was created during the country’s independence in 1947 as the most organized and disciplined institution in the country.

The Pakistan Army has long been involved in national construction projects such as the Karakorum Highway, dam repairs, irrigation canal cleaning, censuses, and elections. The army’s involvement in national projects has effectively become a guarantee of success for these critical enterprises.

The nation-building tasks undertaken by the Pakistan Army can be broadly classified into four categories: infrastructure development, industrial development, disaster relief, and miscellaneous national tasks such as education system development, crisis management, and law and order maintenance.

Read more: Six Pak Army officers martyred in Balochistan helicopter crash

CPEC & Pakistan Army

Without a doubt, everyone in Pakistan wants CPEC to succeed. The Pakistan Army’s commitment to making CPEC a reality strengthens this national desire. THE COAS has repeatedly assured the nation that the Army will see that the project is completed on time. The Army understands that any delay in this project of national importance will only increase the cost and impede Pakistan’s economic recovery. It will also encourage the project’s detractors to intensify their opposition. Army wants to be a part of CPEC for better project management.

Physical construction work protection is important to the Army. For this purpose, two security factions have been established. Nationally significant projects are always fraught with difficulties. CPEC is no different. It faces several grave potential attacks. External threats come from countries and organizations that are hostile to Pakistan’s national interests. When combined with internal threats, this creates an explosive concoction.

There is a consensus that these threats must be addressed collaboratively by Pakistan and China. Pakistan wishes to expand its cooperation with China in areas such as security and intelligence sharing. It also wants data on Chinese workers to better protect them. Pakistan is extremely concerned about the safety of Chinese workers in Pakistan.

Read more: Wajahat Saeed Khan questions Bilawal on role of Pak Army

China’s Stakes in CPEC

China has a large stake in CPEC as well. It is a component of their 13th five-year growth strategy. Its purpose is to give them faster access to markets in Europe, Central Asia, and South Asia. China is approximately 13,000 kilometers from the Arabian Gulf, with a shipping time of approximately 45 days.

The CPEC project will reduce this distance by 80% to 2,500 km. The shipping time will be reduced by 78 percent to 10 days. The majority of China’s trade passes through the narrow sea channel of the Malacca Strait, which can be easily blocked and China’s trade halted. With tensions rising in the South China Seas, this could be a difficult scenario for the Chinese.

The Pakistan Army was already involved in the construction and protection of the CPEC since its inception. Effective implementation will have numerous benefits for the country. It will improve the lives of its people. It will boost economic prosperity and strengthen ties with China’s neighbors. It will significantly increase Pakistan’s geostrategic significance as a regional hub connecting Europe, the Middle East, and Central Asia to South and East Asia.

Read more: Pak Army Generals coming to Imran Khan’s Azadi March

The Pakistan Army sees itself as a guarantor of the CPEC’s success. It is determined to overcome local and external opposition to this historic project in any way possible. The military’s role in bringing CPEC to fruition is unavoidable. The Chinese, too, prefer greater military involvement to expedite project completion. The success of the CPEC would be heavily reliant on high-quality management and increased transparency.

 

 

The writer is a graduate in Strategic & Nuclear Studies from National Defence University, Isd and Post-Grad in International Relations from Istanbul University, Turkey. The views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.