It goes without saying that Pakistan is presently beset by many internal and external challenges. Undoubtedly, the list is long and well known. However, the national security challenge tops this list. Although the Pakistan army has successfully dealt with the insurgency in Malakand, Swat and Dir, it cannot be stated that all is well in that area because the gains in restoring the writ of the state have still to be consolidated through rehabilitation and reconstruction by the provincial and federal administrations. Certainly, the same applies to Wazirstan. Moreover, the security challenges on the western border have been compounded by the worsening civil war that is beyond the control of the Karzai regime and the US/NATO forces, despite the 30,000 additional US forces despatched to Afghanistan. In this backdrop, the Pakistani president, prime minister and the chief of army staff, in their recent meetings with top officials of the US administration including the US chief of the joint staff, have made very clear the 'Red Lines beyond which the demands of Washington to do more is likely to jeopardise Pakistans national security. Under any circumstances, the deployment of the armed forces on Pakistans eastern or western borders is to be determined only by Islamabad. And that there will be no compromise on Pakistans national security as Islamabad is the best judge to determine the threat perception, both internal and external. For this purpose, the national command authority met last Wednesday to discuss the various national security issues, including the formulation of a clear stance on the Fissile Material Cut Off Pretty. Furthermore, Islamabad is of the considered view that Indias offensive doctrines threaten the strategic stability in South Asia. Director General ISI, General Ahmed Shujaa Pasha, gave a detailed briefing to the Parliamentary Committee on the national security last week in the backdrop of General Deepak Kapoors irresponsible statement that the Indian army was capable of simultaneously defeating Pakistan and China within 96 hours. General Shujaa made it clear that the Pakistan army is well aware of Indias 'Cold Start Strategy and is ready to thwart any Indian conventional or nuclear aggression. In the same vein, the Pakistan National Forum called an emergency meeting of its National Security Special Committee to evaluate this threat and make recommendations to the government for a befitting response to this new challenge on our eastern border. Senior retired officers of the armed forces, i.e. army, navy and air force, participated in this meeting that was presided over by the former Naval Chief Admiral Dastur-Ul-Haq. In this forum, all the participants agreed that the Indian army chiefs statement directly contradicts the US view that Pakistan does not face any threat on its eastern border, and hence can shift its forces to the western border. They suggested that Pakistan has to shape its defence policy and the deployment of its forces in line with its own national priorities. Whats more, General Kapoor could not have made such a statement of engaging Pakistan and China simultaneously without the approval of the political leadership ruling India. Whether any foreign powers were also behind the Indian threat is anybodys guess. Therefore, General Kapoors statement should not be taken lightly. Therefore, the NSSC unanimously recommended that the government should take up with the US administration and NATO allies the provocative statement emanating from the Indias military hierarchy. The so-called irresponsible statement of the Indian general needs to be analysed and its purpose should be determined. The Pakistan National Forum, therefore, urged the government to take the nation into confidence, while the armed forces should plan a suitable response incase the Indian threat ever materialises. The participants fully supported the statements of the Chairman Joint Chief of Staff General Tariq Majeed and Chief of the Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani in respect of Pakistans national security challenges as their top most priority. The writer is the president of the Pakistan National Forum.