NSP and the idea of Uneven and Combined Development

On 14 January 2022, Pakistan formally unveiled its National Security Policy (2022–2026). The complete policy document continues to be classified, but the circulation of its public domain part is unclassified given its scope. Much has already been written and said about the published document, its elements, and its layout. Therefore, the details of the document will not be discussed here; instead, the focus will remain on the rudimentary essence of the National Security Policy of Pakistan. The gist of the whole document lies in the mindfulness of the government and all the policy circles to recognise that economic security is going to shape the foreign policy of Pakistan in terms of economic diplomacy. By placing economic security at the centre of Pakistan’s national security strategy, it has the potential to best serve the country’s important national security interests. This central part of the geoeconomics vision covers economic diplomacy in future. The need to realise the country’s economic potential while ensuring national cohesion, territorial integrity, internal security, and citizen welfare will surely drive the country’s security imperatives in the coming years.

An increasing national resource pie and a redistributive model capable of transferring the advantages of increased resource availability to human welfare are required to achieve economic security within the framework of comprehensive national security, as per the unclassified sections of the document. Common sense has prevailed by implying that conventional security objectives will be met if we achieve sustainable and inclusive economic growth that expands Pakistan’s global economic footprint, decreases Pakistan’s external economic dependency, and enables the country to use the consequent economic power better. We are not living in an isolated world. Pakistan shares a border with both China and India. Both countries have achieved their economic prosperity in a couple of decades. Consequently, they assert themselves strongly in every domain: defence, culture, social and economy.

Uneven” refers to the social world’s unevenness in terms of diversity and distinction. “Combined” refers to the existence of everything at the same moment and in the same place. The term “development” refers to the whole path of human development. Therefore, by combining the three of them, we can truly get the integration of the distinct international world by a common goal: development, be it human or infrastructural.

The substance of the National Security Policy reminds one of Leon Trotsky’s Uneven and Combined Development (UCD) approach. The policy document (National Security Policy) stresses the well-being and dignity of the citizens of Pakistan by securing progress in different facets of life and the economy, which is central to them. Furthermore, the link between national security and foreign policy has led to the current government describing economic diplomacy as the driving force for the future. This essence of the recent policy links it with the UCD, where economic unevenness within the country puts exhausting duress on every facet of life. To overcome it, it was necessary to integrate regional potential by keeping in mind the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in terms of geoeconomics that entails the logic of combined development.

Trotsky’s explanation led him to conclude that the formation of Russian society was not wholly indigenous; rather, it was influenced by the outside world that existed in time and space. Thus, the case of Pakistan has similarities with his idea because CPEC is an external affinity that is changing the internal outlook and process of looking at the country’s strategic culture by placing economic progress at the core. In terms of real existence, the result of his reasoning offers us the concept of “the international”. So, Pakistan is actually stepping through creating networking in the real international world by promulgating her conception of national security. Leon Trotsky’s paradigm correctly provides the prism to see world relations.Uneven” refers to the social world’s unevenness in terms of diversity and distinction. “Combined” refers to the existence of everything at the same moment and in the same place. The term “development” refers to the whole path of human development. Therefore, by combining the three of them, we can truly get the integration of the distinct international world by a common goal: development, be it human or infrastructural.

As world order and the art of doing politics also impacts every country, therefore, right now, world politics is in a state of turmoil. A fierce battle characterises the race for resources and influence among the world’s most powerful nations and their regional allies. The Chinese Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and Build Back Better World(B3W) from Western powers are glaring examples of it. Issue-based partnerships are replacing traditional regionalism as an alternative framework for international cooperation. Because of the speed and volume of today’s geopolitical change, it is necessary to understand global trends and the consequences for national security policy and strategy. Major interstate frictions are likely to remain below the threshold of war in the vast majority of cases, resulting in the continuance of a hybrid approach to conflict. Similarly, new cooperation structures and connectivity projects aimed at tapping untapped markets in Eurasia and Africa will have an impact on future economies.

The future pivots of the global economy will be defined by innovation, technological advancement, capital accumulation, and a young workforce in some world regions. The world around us is moving innovatively ahead by keeping a hybrid approach to the security domain. It is imperative for us that, given farsightedness, we have some framework for future courses of action when it comes to economy and security hand in hand. Lastly, an important strand of this document is that its nomenclature rests on the well-being of citizens, which will assure the relevance of the document to the masses. Thus, it gives a sense of making human security the cornerstone of Pakistan’s national security. The convergence of mindsets holistically in terms of economic revival is a marker of stability in its own way. After becoming the fifth most populous country, globally hosting the youngest population, it is a way forward to include them in nation-building. Likewise, the unevenness of the world, crippling Pakistani economy, and the conception of CPEC have made the official consciousness realise the essence of economic development that can ensure Pakistan’s national security more strongly. Leon Trotsky’s idea of UCD is manifesting its cognitive application in the formulation of the National Security Policy of Pakistan at the governmental level.

Tauseef Javed

Tauseef Javed works at the Centre for Strategic and Contemporary Research (CSCR) as a Research Associate. He is currently enrolled as a doctoral student at Fujian Normal University in Fuzhou, China. His research focuses on international relations, history, and area studies from an interdisciplinary perspective.

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