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Strategic Posture Review: Pakistan

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Given domestic economic weaknesses, security competition with India and an antagonistic relationship with Afghanistan, Pakistan has traditionally sought external alliances with strong powers and pursued an offensive security policy. Nevertheless, there has been a dawning realization in Islamabad that a new approach is necessary, and as a result, Pakistan’s foreign and defense policies are undergoing important transformations, including a normalization of relations with neighbors and a renewed focus on domestic security threats.

With a low growth rate, high inflation, budget deficits and unsustainable debt, economic weakness is the single biggest challenge for Pakistan. A major energy shortage, which both results from limited economic development and causes further economic losses, is another pressing problem. Meanwhile, Pakistan’s primary security threats now come from unconventional actors, such as insurgent and terrorist groups, who form a motley crew of tribal rebels, criminal groups and national and transnational Islamist militants. By extension, then, radicalization and extremism remain real risks within Pakistan. To a lesser extent, India also poses a security threat with the modernization and expansion of its nuclear capabilities, its Cold Start Doctrine (CSD) and its support for nationalist separatist forces within Pakistan. ...

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