Evolving geopolitical dynamics, emerging technologies and shifts in strategic thought

By Our Correspondent
December 07, 2023

Islamabad:The Institute of Strategic Studies, Islamabad (ISSI) held its flagship event the Islamabad Conclave-2023 on the theme “Pakistan in a Changing World.”

On the first day of the event, on December 6, 2023, the Arms Control & Disarmament Centre (ACDC) hosted Working Session-I themed “Evolving Geopolitical Dynamics, Emerging Technologies and Shifts in Strategic Thought.”

The emerging global landscape was marked by evolving defence partnerships, military build-up, expansion of alliances, collapsing existing arms control regime, nuclear modernization, militarization of outer space, cyberspace, artificial intelligence, and biotechnologies," stated General (r) Zubair Mahmood Hayat NI (M), former Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC), in his keynote address.

ISSI DG and former foreign secretary Sohail Mahmood speaks during the event of the Islamabad Conclave-2023 on the theme “Pakistan in a Changing World on December 6, 2023. — ISSI website

The global equation was being framed between democracy vs. dictatorship, good vs. bad, moral vs. immoral, and superior vs. inferior beings. In a classical strategic sense, it was a recipe for disaster. The great power competition, lack of strategic leadership at the global level, unilateralism, and demolition of human rights have given birth to the liberty to use force for the achievement of ends. In this context, the concepts like de-coupling, de-risking, and building strategic resilience were taking shape.

Earlier in his introductory remarks, Malik Qasim Mustafa, Director ACDC, stated that new global and regional arms races have picked up paces as states were developing lethal and advanced weapons and their delivery means. States were investing in disruptive emerging technologies. States were in a race to develop hypersonic delivery systems. Major Powers were adopting offensive military postures and developing war-fighting doctrines.

Ambassador Tehmina Janjua in her remarks on “Shifting Geopolitical Dynamics: A Global Perspective,” stated that that the shift from a bipolar to a multi-polar system, the emergence of block politics, delocalization, transboundary challenges like climate change, development of emerging technologies, ever-changing geography of innovation, and a sharp turn to right-wing populism in many countries were the major geo-political shifts. Natural disasters, food insecurity, aggressive state behavior, spiraling regional conflicts, and arms race were major outcomes of these major geo-political shifts.

Air Cmdre. Khalid Banuri, former Director General, Arms Control and Disarmament Affairs (ACDA), Strategic Plans Division (SPD), on “Emerging Trends in Strategic Thought and the Role of Emerging Technologies, stated that the militarization and consolidation of emerging technologies by major powers was making the global landscape more complex, unpredictable and imbalanced. Within the violent political and economic context, there are greater chances of human error, data distortion, and machine failure that would make future warfare more deadly, intense, blurry, and unpredictable.

Dr. Naeem Salik, Executive Director, Strategic Vision Institute (SVI), on “Strategic Stability in South Asia: A Regional Perspective,” said that the strategic stability in South Asia has always been tenuous. There is a structural problem in South Asia due to a huge disparity between the largest and smallest countries in terms of size and resources. Recently, the new Indian construct of Southern Asia, adopted by the West, has changed the dynamics of strategic stability in South Asia by dragging China into an existing Pakistan-India equation.