Islamabad June 18, 2020 – The NUST Institute of Policy Studies (NIPS),
Pakistan’s leading university-based think tank, organised a high-powered
webinar to examine the implications of ongoing China-India standoff on the
security of the region and Pakistan here on Wednesday, June 17, 2020. The
virtual event was attended by former veteran diplomats, former senior military
officials, academics, policy experts and eminent members of the think tank
community. The webinar was chaired by Lt Gen Naweed Zaman, HI (M), (Retd),
Rector NUST & Patron NIPS; and moderated by Dr Ashfaque Hasan Khan,
Director General NIPS and Principal NUST School of Social Sciences &
Humanities. The participants unanimously opined that the current state of
relations amongst major powers had turned the region into a critical zone for
global peace and stability.
Initiating the discussion, Ambassador
Riaz Khokhar, former Foreign Secretary of Pakistan, underpinned the imperative
of peaceful and negotiated resolution of the dispute between the two
nuclear-armed States over Ladakh. He highlighted that although both sides had
declared peace, the standoff had worsened due to casualties reported on Monday
in Galwan Valley. He said that India needs to act maturely and shun the
dangerous tendency on its part to misread Chinese restraint as a weakness.
Air Chief Marshal (Retd) Kaleem
Saadat, former Chief of Air Staff and President Centre for Aerospace &
Security Studies (CASS), said that China was cognisant of Indian intentions,
especially its hostile intent towards CPEC and Belt & Road Initiative, and
that China was fully resolved to checkmate any hostile move by India. He
advised that there was a need for overall preparedness to meet any adverse
contingency in the region.
Ambassador Abdul Basit, former High
Commissioner of Pakistan to India, stressed that the ongoing India-China
standoff indicated that the resolution of Kashmir dispute required the
involvement of a responsible major power like China.
Lt Gen (Retd) Tariq Waseem Ghazi,
former Defence Secretary of Pakistan and former President National Defence
University (NDU), stated that Pakistan should seek a broad understanding with
China in order to deal with Indian recklessness in the region in a way that
would result in time in the resolution of Kashmir dispute on favourable terms.
He also advocated a befitting response to India in case it indulges into any
Vice Admiral (Retd) Khan Hasham bin
Saddique, former Vice Chief of Naval Staff and former Ambassador of Pakistan to
Saudi Arabia, said that Pakistan needed to differentiate its strategic partners
from transactional partners and formulate a comprehensive plan of action based
on this differentiation to meet diverse threats in the region.
Ambassador Aziz Ahmed Khan, former
Ambassador of Pakistan to Afghanistan and former High Commissioner to India,
said that Indian unilateralism in the region was the major cause of the
standoff with China and that Indian attempts to exploit the lack of clear and
consensual demarcation of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) had badly backfired.
Lt General (Retd) Masood Aslam, former
Corps Commander 11 Corps, pointed out that the territorial integrity of China
was a fundamental Chinese priority on which Beijing will never yield. He said
India’s behaviour in the ongoing standoff suggested its domestic disarray and
lack of clear policy of settling border disputes with its neighbours.
Ambassador Syed Hasan Javed, former
Ambassador of Pakistan to Germany and Director Chinese Studies Centre NUST,
highlighted that China can exploit multiple weaknesses of India along the LAC.
He said Indian intransigence could lead to a major conflict in the region, and,
therefore, cautioned a high level of alertness on Pakistan’s part.