Momentous developments are taking place across all domains which are deeply affecting the global, regional, and national security environment. These include accelerating United States-China rivalry, growing Sino-India tensions, deepening US-India strategic partnership, joint strategies concerning South Asia and the Indo-Pacific region and the resultant polarisation. AUKUS, the emerging alliance between Australia, United Kingdom and the US aimed at containing China will not only intensify US-China rivalry but will also negatively impact the nuclear non-proliferation regime. Additionally, continued instability in Afghanistan and uncertain situation in the Middle East makes Pakistan’s balancing act with all these countries far more challenging and precarious. All these trends and developments represent a complex interplay of geoeconomics and geopolitics, with far reaching global, regional, and national consequences. Moreover, rapidly emerging technologies and their diverse military applications are making the international and regional security landscape far more complex, volatile, and delicate. This necessitates an intellectual initiative at the global level to comprehensively map and review such developments, analyse their implications, and explore viable policy options to mutually chart a way forward to help build a more stable world and regional order.
GSTAR is an international policy engagement forum for exploring pressing challenges, emerging from the global strategic environment and technological developments affecting national security and providing inputs on future counterstrategies, especially in the aerospace sector.
The biennial ‘Global Strategic Threat and Response’ (GSTAR) is a unique international forum, initiated by CASS, to:
- Review the most significant global strategic trends and challenges by bringing together national leadership, reputable international and Pakistani experts from think tanks, academia, defence services, intellectuals, and Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs).
- Give an opportunity to Pakistan’s policy leadership to share the country’s strategic vision.
- Voice national security concerns related to global and regional trends with an international audience.
- Contribute towards building a safer world, with support of the global community.
Overarching Theme of GSTAR 2022
With the rise of emergent and resurgent powers, the world is gradually moving away from a unipolar to a multipolar world order, leading to the formation of new alliances and power blocs. Despite growing international concerns about social and environmental issues, the world continues to be dominated by militarily strong and technologically advanced nations, with little or no concern for collectively shaping a global system based on international norms and rule of law.
The formation of new alliances to contain rising powers has led to a major power struggle and creation of complex dynamics, which have changed the nature and level of global and regional threats. Owing to its unique geostrategic location, South Asia has once again become pivotal to this global and regional power struggle. The evolving geostrategic dynamics necessitate well-considered, timely and innovative policy options.
US-China economic competition has transformed to a rivalry between the two. The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), China’s trade connectivity plan with the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as its flagship project though aimed at economic development is also viewed by Western powers with suspicion, which creates challenges for South, West and Central Asian regions and Pakistan.
In addition to geopolitics, economics is also playing a major role in reshaping alliances and power blocs. Therefore, the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QUAD) formed to contain China, could eventually lead to the formation of a treaty partnership like Asian NATO. The rapid and large-scale militarisation and massive deployment of strategic and conventional weapon systems in the Asia-Pacific, and provision of nuclear submarines to a non-nuclear state, has created new challenges for the delicate balance of power in this region and weakened the nonproliferation regime. Moreover, the recent uncertain developments in Afghanistan, expanding Indo-US strategic partnership, tense US-Iran relations and continuously increasing US-China rivalry affect the entire region in general and Pakistan’s foreign, security and economic policies in particular.
Emerging technological developments, with tremendous growth potential as well as military applications, have added yet another dimension to the ongoing great power struggle. Many nations are working individually as well as jointly to achieve excellence and domination through technical / technological prowess, both in the economic and military domains. While export control regimes monopolise sharing of technologies relevant to military applications, the need for a fair, transparent, and equitable international legal framework is essential for ensuring their non-discriminatory access and use as well as avoidance of monopolies and military asymmetries. More importantly, their kinetic and non-kinetic applications have forced states to rethink future doctrines, strategies, and warfare.
Aerospace power, being technology intensive, is the most affected and must adapt along with these developments to remain the most efficient, agile, and leading arm of the military. This, however, necessitates a more dynamic and capable human resource, supported by comprehensive and advanced training regimens, to optimally understand, master and employ these technological innovations for aerospace power application against diverse kinetic and non-kinetic threats.
This year’s GSTAR is spread over two days and four sessions, in addition to the Inaugural and Closing plenaries under the core theme ‘Evolving Global Order: Challenges and Opportunities’ to be discussed by reputed international and Pakistani experts from think tanks, academia, defence services, intellectuals and Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs). In addition to retired Air Force Chiefs from different countries, the conference will be attended by representatives of international as well as national institutions, including foreign strategists, government officials, diplomats, military personnel, and other dignitaries.