Conventionally, the use of military and economic means to influence international actors is contemplated as hard power; however, at times of peace, the diplomatic activities of military are contemplated as soft power as they help in building dialogue between states, and these clear any confusion at the time of crisis. Military diplomacy has come at a critical juncture for Pakistan as the country’s foreign policy is going through ‘a geo-economic pivot’. Pakistan is seeing itself as a melting pot of global economic interests. However, this geo-economic orientation does not in itself imply that Pakistan is softening or retreating from its traditional security concerns. Thereby, military diplomacy is playing a crucial role in promoting national interest of Pakistan and providing for its national security.
Pakistan military has been working as a protagonist for Pakistan’s soft power through its diplomatic endeavors. For instance, Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa official visit to Saudi Arabia recently made headlines as COAS was honored with a highest medal for making “significant contributions in defense cooperation” between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. Moreover, visit to Qatar last month transformed Pakistan-Qatar ties into an enduring partnership. Adding to this, COAS’s visit to China initiated a new phase of military-to-military cooperation between both states. Although the pressure to fall into political blocs given the changing world order and the great power rivalry is there, yet military is maintaining Pakistan’s “non-bloc politics” stance by promoting a broad-based relationship with all the key international players that is anchored in trade, investment, and people-to-people linkages.
In the light of the ongoing economic and political turmoil faced by Pakistan, military can be seen huddling in the right direction that is steering Pakistan’ foreign policy towards geo-economic. The geo-economic shift emphasis on prosperity as a mean to greater strategic end! It implies no substitution of geo-strategy for geo-economics: instead, the latter folds into the former. Therefore, the recent visits of COAS to various states primarily focused on enhancing the bilateral ties. The doctrine of military diplomacy is “More Action; Fewer Words”. Despite all the geopolitical challenges, Pakistan’s military is enhancing economic and defense cooperation with China and Middle Eastern states. Military diplomacy is a significant mean for fostering stable future partnerships.
In a nutshell, the foreign policy architecture of Pakistan can be effectively comprehended in the context of Global and regional environment time to time, and to a considerable extent in the context of domestic environment. Therefore, military diplomacy for Pakistan could not come at a better time than now as the country is faced with a plentitude of geostrategic challenges. Maintaining a neutral stance at time of changing world order and alliances is a matter of moving to and from, not standing still. Pakistan military is making sure of that gracefully.