It is creditable indeed for the newly established (January 2013) Strategic Vision Institute (SVI), Islamabad, to publish its first edited book based upon papers presented in its Inaugural Conference, leading to insightful deliberations and discussions on a broad spectrum of issues of vital national, regional and international import and critically important subject: Shifting Dynamics and Emerging Power Equilibrium in South and Central Asia around post 2014. This publication is not a replica of the proceedings of Inaugural Conference of the SVI held on 17 April 2013, but a reviewed, revised and upgraded study based on post-conference research and policy analyses. Papers read and presentations made at the Inaugural Conference were reviewed at the SVI in the light of debate and discussions at the conference, and sent to authors with a request to revise and upgrade their final versions. On behalf of the SVI, we thankfully acknowledge their excellent cooperation and original as well as revised contributions. A couple of these papers offer analyses of India- Pakistan strategic postures and doctrinal dispositions while others focus on the expected power game in the post-2014 Afghanistan, Central Asia and the Caucasian region. It’s an earnest hope that this endeavor will go a long way to promote understanding of the shifting dynamics and strategic power equilibrium around post-2014 in the South and Central Asian regions.
During the Inaugural Conference, establishment of the SVI was highly acclaimed as laying down the foundational stone to inculcate and promote a collective strategic thinking and foresight. The SVI is planned to be a key building block to the development of national strategic vision essential for skillfully innovative policy planning. It is not intended to denigrate the works of other research organizations, but to advance the strategic expertise and proficiency in decision-making and policy formulation process. The rationale of Strategic Vision Institute originate from the imperative of cultivating adequate professional expertise and enhancing strategic foresight to cope with the glowingly complex environments for policy formulation and decision-making process in all fields of national and international politics.
Strategic wisdom comes with a comprehensive understanding of the past, present and future. History is not just an index of the past but also the stepping-stone of futuristic insight. The SVI stands for prudence in dealing with national and international issues, something that can be fostered through scholarly inquest, professional analyses and planning discreet policy alternatives. It is considered imperative to develop collective, multi-institutional and pluralistic decision-making by creating sync among the political, military and diplomatic decision-making echelons with assistance from the academic and media professionals and support of the polity at large.
Immediately after establishment of the SVI, its senior members and academic professionals promptly anticipated major development on the South and Central Asian horizon. The change of guard in China and Pakistan in 2013, and elections in India and Afghanistan in 2014 have been visualized as catalysts of inherently interactive changes that will profoundly impact upon the regional politico-strategic dynamics and power equilibrium in and around the eastern South Asian (ESA) region. Equally significant changes in western South Asia (WSA) are likely to reconstitute its political and strategic scenario. The post-2014 scheduled International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) withdrawal from Afghanistan and the capability of Afghan National Force to maintain law and order is being sanguinely explored. India’s policy to substitute the outgoing regional security architecture in post-2014 is strongly detested by Pakistan. Iran-Pakistan (IP) and Turkmenistan-Afghanistan Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline projects have profound ramifications for South and Central Asia.
These shifting strategic dynamics and emerging power equilibrium in South and Central Asia present challenging scenarios for the politico-military leadership and the strategic decision-making elite. The undercurrents of forthcoming changes are going to be the primary focus of the regional and international security community. In the light of the above, the SVI arranged two sessions for a comprehensive debate and discussion in its Inaugural Conference led by prominent specialists on these highly important regional developments, which has become the basis of this edition.