Given that the complex non-conventional threats in this era of globalization transcend territorial boundaries, the challenges that arise out of them have increased manifold. The severity of the consequences of these non-conventional security challenges, inter alia economic, environmental and health security, have been amplified by the accelerating effects of globalization. In this highly connected world of the 21st century, the speed and movement of people and goods has accelerated and is now without a parallel in human history. COVID-19 has transmitted rapidly all over the world, compelling the states to move towards deeper regional and global cooperation as it can detrimentally affect the wellbeing of the population while greatly affecting the economy of these states, the global economy and the broader disruption of global trade. It requires a comprehensive social, economic and political response as well as the use of military force as part of the emergency measures.
Pakistan is taking coordinated, decisive actions by rapidly responding to the current health crisis and troops have been deployed across the country to assist the federal and provincial administration to ensure the containment of COVID-19. To ensure public safety all points of entry are being manned and monitored, check posts have been established and joint monitoring is being carried out by the troops along with other Law Enforcement Agencies. Apart from assistance in management of quarantine facilities, contact tracking and tracing in order to identify and isolate suspected individuals is being carried out. The resources are being mobilized to ensure the flow of supplies throughout the country. In these challenging times, Pakistan Armed Forces are steadfast in its support for the nation. Chief of the Army Staff, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, has rightly voiced the resolve of Pakistan Army by saying: “Nothing can defeat a responsible and determined nation. Pakistan Army being part of the national effort shall serve and protect the nation as a sacred duty. We shall succeed by being self-disciplined, cooperating, reinforcing each other and thereby synergising various efforts.”
In this time of crisis where states all over the world are mounting a response to tackle this pandemic, Kashmiris in IOJ&K, the people in dire circumstances even prior to the outbreak and suffering threats to their lives, freedom and means of living, are the most vulnerable and greatly at risk. The severity of challenges and the prevalent situation in IOJ&K is a cause of concern with the security and communication lockdown, a crippling blockade of high-speed internet, growing humanitarian crisis, the ever-present sense of danger with people’s lives teetering on the brink, and on top of that the acute shortage of doctors and hospital facilities to fight the outbreak. As our Eastern neighbor, in its desire to recoup goodwill, is trying to craft global responses to the threat of COVID-19, the fact that situation in IOJ&K also warrants a global response by the major multilateral organizations and the urgent need for change in India’s policies for the region, should not be neglected.
Although the human race has come a long way since its inception, environmental changes, such as climate change and global warming, have now became a clear and present danger, and contributing to the constraints already faced by the world. These new challenges have forced us to think in novel ways. These issues can’t entirely be prevented but coping mechanisms have to be devised by all stakeholders including the health, security, military, and humanitarian communities. The time has come to review policies that hinder cooperation on the regional and global level. The focus should be on dialogue and pursuing the policies of peace and deterrence. While maintaining effective deterrence is important, cooperation on all important issues is also required to deal with the emerging challenges.
The effect of disease outbreak on the wellbeing and security of both states and societies is quite severe and the object of security is no longer just the sovereignty and territorial integrity but the people’s survival, health and wellbeing on both individual and societal levels. Countries should develop the capacity to protect their citizens from disease and poverty, however, it requires fullest cooperation of the individuals and states alike. For the attainment of peace and security, the health of all peoples is fundamental. Together we can build a safer future for humanity.
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