ISLAMABAD - Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC) Gen Zubair Mahmood Hayat on Friday said that Pakistan would ensure to maintain strategic balance in the region after India’s latest hostile efforts to alter it through an unprecedented military build-up.

He was speaking at a book-launch ceremony hosted by Centre for International Strategic Studies Islamabad (CISS). The book titled Shaking Hands with Clenched Fists has been authored by Dr Asma Shakir Khawaja, Assistant Professor, Department of Peace and Conflict Studies, National Defence University, Islamabad.

The book looks at the Pakistan-India relationship in the context of the various Confidence Building Measures that the two neighbours have so far agreed to.

Gen Zubair in his speech reviewed the regional security situation listing the threats faced by Pakistan especially in the context of latest developments including the first deterrence patrol by Indian nuclear submarine INS Arihant, Indo-Russian nuclear deal for S-400 air defence missile systems and India’s shifting doctrinal posture. He said that an aggressive hybrid war had also been imposed on Pakistan.

Besides, India’s destabilising actions, he said, the world powers providing high-tech military hardware and technologies were also aggravating regional and global security. He, moreover, noted that exceptional access to modern technology granted to India was undermining strategic stability.

“We are fully alive to these challenges. We will do what it minimally takes to restore the strategic balance in the region,” Gen Zubair said. He also said: “Pakistan was determined to maintain credible minimum deterrence against full spectrum of evolving threats while exercising restraint and responsibility in order to preserve regional peace and stability.”

He reminded about Pakistani proposal for a ‘Strategic Restraint Regime’. “It is still waiting a positive response from our Eastern Neighbour”, he underlined.

About the challenge of hybrid war, Gen Zubair said it would be dealt with through a whole of the nation approach. He additionally called for a fair, equitable and non-discriminatory treatment for Pakistan’s application for membership of Nuclear Suppliers Group.

Executive Director CISS Ambassador Ali Sarwar Naqvi said South Asia was a crisis-prone region due to unresolved disputes between India and Pakistan.

These issues, he said, have resulted in trust deficit and lack of communication between the two countries. He said that most of the CBMs between Pakistan and India were developed after some conflicts in 1948, or after 1965 and 1971 wars between the two countries.

He stated that Tashkent Declaration 1966 and Simla Agreement 1972 were two major CBMs between the two countries.

Amb. Naqvi said that failure of some CBMs between Pakistan and India is due to the difference between their respective approaches towards the CBMs. He also stated that the clenched fists are on the Indian side.