Economy and security by Dr. Ramesh Kumar Vankwani

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Recently, a statement attributed to Army Chief Qamar Javed Bajwa emerged. During a meeting with business tycoons in the presence of the government finance team, he is said to have stated that: “National security is intimately linked to [the] economy while prosperity is [a] function of balance in security needs and economic growth.”

The statement resulted in attracting the attention of the national media. Various journalists started analyzing the statement according to their own understanding. Is the meeting of the army chief with the business community a really unusual activity? I was also invited by various TV channels to comment on it.

Exchanging views in TV talk shows, I seconded the statement of the army chief that it is an undeniable fact that national security is entirely based on a strong economy. Political stability, strong defence and peaceful environment are key factors for moving any country towards progress and prosperity. I also mentioned international history and politics in support of my stance.

According to the Hindu ancient philosopher, Kautilya Chanakya, a strong army played a pivotal role for any country’s national security. In the first chapter of his book ‘Arthshastra’, Chanakya emphasized that revenue is the backbone of administration. He further wrote that the presence of treasure is very important for the success of any mission, and that s strong economy guarantees protection from all kinds of threats.

In ancient times, economically stable states dominated over neighbouring countries and in today’s era, such states are using economic power to influence the international community on various issues. In the modern age, the US designs national policies with a focus on economy and national security. Understanding the close association of both factors, frequent coordination between the political leadership and the Pentagon is normal activity there.

After the end of the cold war, the United States focused more on those factors that affect people directly as compared to military concerns. However, the 9/11 tragedy was also a turning point for the economy and homeland security of the US. Being a global superpower, the US is achieving economic and military targets by providing a business friendly environment.

To ensure close coordination between political, commercial and military institutes, an informal alliance – the Military-Industrial-Congressional Complex – was also formed. According to a report, the US States spends nearly $650 billion on its national security which is more than the combined defence budget of China, Saudi Arabia, India, France, Russia, United Kingdom and Germany. Many countries like China, Israel, Iran, and India are also following in the footsteps of the US in order to focus on national defence.

Being a patriotic Pakistani citizen, it is part of my belief that love for our beloved motherland must be an important aspect for us and there should be no compromise on national security. We must not forget that the business community used to have interactions with army chiefs in the past too.

In my view, the recently-held meeting is an attempt for the success of the Bajwa Doctrine, aiming to keep Pakistan on the path of success and prosperity. I would like to remind that around two years ago, the present army chief had also clearly said in a ceremony, held at Karachi, that the economy has an impact on all walks of life; strong economies have to face aggression and tackle challenges to national security. It is the best time to keep economic growth and stability as a top priority and for a bright future, there should be consistent economic policies.

Therefore, we should appreciate the army chief for taking the business community and the government finance team into confidence regarding the emerging challenges for national security. Various proposals were obviously discussed on the occasion. I believe that this meeting will have positive impact on our economy in near future and uncertainty for business investment will be ended. The practice must also be continued in future.

The government should also accelerate the process of consultation with all stakeholders. To establish a suitable environment for investment, the government must consider valuable suggestions by the business community during the policymaking process.

For the first time, the political and military leadership are on one page. If the present government also succeeds in winning the confidence of the business community, then no worldly power can stop Pakistan from emerging as an Asian Tiger.

The writer is a member of theNational Assembly and patron-in-chief of the Pakistan Hindu Council.

Twitter: @RVankwani

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