Munir’s reign | Mint

Pakistan on Thursday named lieutenant general Asim Munir as the new chief of its army to succeed general Qamar Javed Bajwa, who retires later this month. That Munir was once Pakistan’s chief of espionage isn’t surprising, and this only reaffirms the grip of its so-called deep-state—which comprises the country’s military and intelligence services—that’s seen to wield control over elected governments in major domains relevant to India, like external affairs. Pakistan’s former prime minister Imran Khan had openly blamed the army for his April ouster, and analysts see Munir as opposed to Khan’s political swing away from the US ambit of influence in the region. His appointment, in that context, could be interpreted as a setback to Chinese designs on South Asia, especially its play for access to the Arabian Sea, the geo-strategic value of which is not lost on either New Delhi or US allies in the Gulf. The turn of events in Pakistani power play would suit the Quad. What India would like, though, is greater space for democracy across the border, which could help normalize our relations. The army, however, looms in the background, and so its disposition remains relevant.

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