NUST Institute of Policy Studies (NIPS) organised a webinar on “The Regional Impact of Emerging Great-Power Dynamics” here at the university’s main campus on Wednesday. The webinar brought together veteran diplomats, senior security analysts, academics, experts, and scholars to deliberate on the key aspects of the Sino-American strategic competition and its impact on the region.
Experts at the webinar were of the opinion that the United States and China may have entered the first phase of a strategic competition from which it would not be possible for both to withdraw easily if the strategic consensus both in the US and China hardened irrevocably in favour of its continuation till the strategic defeat of the other. They considered that the regions of Asia Pacific, Central Asia, the Middle East and South Asia, would experience the effects of escalation of competition with particular intensity.
Former Vice Chief of Naval Staff and former Ambassador of Pakistan to Saudi Arabia, Vice Admiral Khan Hasham Bin Saddique, HI (M), (Retd), stated that the strategic neologism of the Indo-Pacific was aimed at containing China’s increasing maritime power, especially its enhanced Anti-Access/Area Denial (A2/AD) capabilities. He stated that over 60% of China’s trade by value was seaborne, adding that in view of the strategic importance of Malacca Strait and South China Sea, Indo-US alignment and the Quad of Australia, India, Japan, and the US remained a serious concern to China’s peaceful development and global peace.
Former Defence Secretary, Lieutenant General Naeem Lodhi HI (M) (Retd), identified hybrid warfare to be a strategic tool of choice in the new great-power competition. He warned that the effects of the utilisation of hybrid warfare activity would be felt acutely in South Asia, especially in Pakistan. He considered that China-Pakistan cooperation would continue to forge ahead, but will have to contend against hybrid warfare’s intense horizontal escalation that utilized multiple instruments of power for exploiting and creating vulnerabilities in multiple domains.
Former Foreign Secretary, Ambassador Riaz Khokhar stated that India had completely ruled out the resolution of Kashmir dispute. He held that this behaviour was partly caused by the encouragement India derived from its partnership with the US. He said that this had created a catch-22 for Pakistan.
Prominent amongst other participants were Lt Gen Muhammad Masood Aslam (Retd), former Ambassador to Mexico; Lt Gen Tariq Waseem Ghazi (Retd), former Defence Secretary; Vice Admiral Waseem Akram (Retd), former Ambassador to the Maldives; Prof Syed Hussain Shaheed Soherwordi, Chairman Department of International Relations, University of Peshawar; and Dr. Vladimir Kozin, a senior Russian academic. Experts unanimously considered that it will be easier now rather than later for the US and China to come to a mutual understanding on how to craft a modus vivendi that could spare both of them and the world another cold war.