Pakistan’s need to have a stable defence capability goes without saying. With a neighbour that has historically been less than compromising, with frequent border clashes and wars, the country’s obsession with armament is an understandable one. Despite this, just how far the state of enmity is allowed to stretch itself is also a matter for consideration, now more than ever.

For a large part, there is paranoia on both sides breeding mutual hatred and a self destructive capability to destroy. The competitive nature of our weapons hoarding and defence comes at a cost. When that cost is borne by the most vulnerable and poor in society, when it literally deprives a hungry man of his food, the entire ideology begins to lose relevance and reason.

Pakistan simply does not need to have as many missiles and aircrafts as India does. Neither do we need a nuclear arsenal that is as big or even bigger than that of India. Of course, the fact of our geography means that defence will always matter, but the limits of it, the extent of it must be called into question.

Ours is a world in a flux; change is inevitable and constant, and one of the things that has profoundly changed in recent years is the nature of national security in the modern world. This is evident from the example of states that have provided their citizens with a better life and have strengthened themselves to a point where they are invincible in every sense of the word.

Pakistan can do well to stop itself from succumbing to the arms’ race. India too faces this dilemma, looking to strike that all important balance between how far it should go to arm itself. Reasonably speaking, we have enough deterrence as it is; Pakistan is after all, a nuclear armed state just as India is. The principle of mutually assured destruction dictates then, that our defence is secure. We should have the sinews of war but not more than we need.

National security must not be confused with supporting and funding militant groups  or forcing the supremacy of one institution over the rest of the state organs. The country is under siege not from India, but from those which we ourselves mothered during the Afghan Jihad. Can we become a stronger country with these evils growing and thriving amidst our streets and squares?

The focus in the country must now be placed on economic and societal renaissance. A country that is united and strong from within makes itself impregnable against all foreign threats and dangers. And this is the kind of defence, and competitiveness, that Pakistan really needs to save itself.