Hon’ble Raksha Mantri, President of the IDSA
Members of the Executive Council
Members of the Strategic Community
Members of the Media
Ladies and gentlemen,
It gives me great pleasure to welcome you all to the 14th Asian Security Conference being organized at the IDSA. We are grateful to Hon’ble Defence Minister of India and the President of the Institute Shri A.K. Antony for agreeing to deliver the inaugural address at the Conference.
Our special thanks for scholars and experts from around who have taken time out to come to Delhi to take part in this conference. Their participation in the conference will enrich its value.
The first Asian Security Conference conference was organized in 1999. In these 14 years the world has changed dramatically. The centre of political and economic power is shifting to the Asia-Pacific region. Several new powers are emerging. India too has changed. What is significant is that the pace of change has accelerated. This trend will continue in future too. Uncertainty has become a norm in the global order. It is interesting to note that even at the 1999 Asian Security Conference non-military security threats were talked about and discussed.
During these years, the Asian Security Conference has tackled a variety of themes. The common objective of these conferences has been to identify the emerging security trends, pin point the drivers of change and to understand how they impact on the global and regional geopolitical environment.
This year’s theme focuses on the challenge of Non-traditional security issues in the Asian context. The concept of Non-traditional security issues is still evolving and not defined precisely. There is, however, a general agreement among scholars and experts that the traditional concept of security, which focuses on inter-state relations, conflict and military issues, is too narrow to fully describe the security challenges of today. It excludes the individual. Human security which focuses on the security and safety of the individual, the communities and societies is the focus of attention.
Human security is concept discussed and propagated in numerous multilateral fora and which takes into account the well being of the individual. Climate change, food, energy and water scarcities, health issues, human and drug trafficking, organized crime, terrorism and a host of other issues are covered in this concept. The traditional concept of security becomes defused when we take into account these factors.
A considerable effort is required to understand the interplay between traditional and non-traditional issues. The first session of today’s conference is devoted to examining the conceptual framework of non-traditional security issues. Other sessions take up the themes of water, climate change, energy security, transnational crime and economic security.
A point to note here is that some of the non-security issues are beginning to have serious geopolitical and geoeconomic impact.
A few examples can be cited:
These examples can be multiplied. A common feature of the Non-traditional security threats is that they are transnational. They affect large number of people; they are not well understood; they are mutually reinforcing and they require wider international cooperation. Many of these issues will be discussed at length by experts and scholars over the next two days.
I am confident that the deliberations of the conference will bring forth new ideas which will enrich our understanding of the challenges arising out of Non-traditional security threats.