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  • Cooperative Security Framework for South Asia

    Cooperative Security Framework for South Asia
    • Publisher: Pentagon Press

    This volume brings together views of some of the most eminent scholars and security analysts from South Asia on the challenges and prospects of a cooperative security framework (CSF) in the region. The objective of the volume is to generate debate on CSF and forge a consensus on the issue at the Track-II level. The contributions critically analyse such frameworks in different regions and explore whether it is possible and practicable in the South Asian region.

    • ISBN 978-81-8274-705-0,
    • Price: ₹. 995/-
    • E-copy available

    Ravi Ranjan asked: What could be the implications of the proposed US-China consultations on South Asia for India? Are we seeing formation of G-2?

    Ashok Kumar Behuria replies: US-China consultations on South Asia are on for quite some time. The fourth round is coming up later this year. They are discussing all issues including India-Pakistan relations. There have been even indirect offers to mediate if it was agreeable to both the parties.

    However, there is no cause for concerns as far as India is concerned. Both China and the US understand that all outstanding issues between India and Pakistan should be resolved bilaterally and at the most they would play the role of facilitators. Both the countries have on different occasions asked Pakistan in the past to join India in a dialogue rather than seek their mediation in the event of any crisis.

    As far as other issues in South Asia are concerned, there is, one believes, a tacit recognition of the preeminent strategic position of India, which is duly backed by a realisation that any attempt either to hurt the strategic interests of India or change the power equations would be counter-productive; it would upset the regional power balance and threaten regional peace.

    Moreover, for China, the American attempt to undertake a regular dialogue on South Asia will both comfort China for the importance it receives from the US, and help China moderate its approach towards South Asia.

    There is disquiet at certain levels in India about the growing Chinese footprints in the neighbouring countries especially because of the temptation of these countries to use China as a balancer against India, wrongly perceived as a hegemon. However, in view of the shift in India-US relations in the recent years, US-China dialogue can be used as a forum to transmit Indian concerns to China regularly. On the whole, India should keep a close eye on the discussions in the forum, establish a healthy line of communication with both the countries, and communicate its concerns in a free, frank and uninhibited manner.

    Anakha asked: What are the major security/geo-strategic challenges in South Asia, and what implications it has had on India's security environment?

    Smruti S. Pattanaik replies: Major security and geo-strategic challenges in South Asia can be attributed to fragile democratic structures, weak and unstable governments, growing radicalisation, uncertainty in Afghanistan, and increasing Chinese influence in South Asian region which traditionally is considered as India’s periphery. India shares border with each of the countries in South Asia except Afghanistan.

    Fragile democratic structures and erosion of democratic institutions pave way for extra constitutional intervention (military intervention) and political instability. Ability of the governments to deal with governance issue remains limited. Ungoverned spaces are exploited by non-state actors to challenge the state. The resultant political instability does not remain confined to the boundaries of nation- states and its spill over effect is often felt in India. Ethnic overlaps, porous border and shared ethno-cultural linkages often make conflicts in the region transnational in character.

    Growing radicalisation has emerged as a major challenge in south Asia. Almost all the countries are afflicted with the problem of religious radicalisation. For instance, growing radicalisation in Pakistan not only has implications for Pakistan’s own stability, but also for India and Afghanistan. Some of the militant groups have been able to engage in terrorist attacks against India and Afghanistan through trans-national networks and linkages many a times sponsored and facilitated by state actors. Similarly the problem of radicalisation in Bangladesh threatens its societal and political fabric with serious implications for India. Nexus between the fundamentalist, criminal elements and state actors was apparent in the Chittagong arms haul case where ten truck loads of arms was unloaded for insurgent groups operating in India’s north-east. In Sri Lanka, the rise of ultra-nationalism has made resolution of ethnic conflict extremely difficult. The assertion of rights by various ethnic groups and demand for federal representation in Nepal has made the peace process complicated. In Afghanistan, the post-2014 situation remains uncertain. The strengthening of Taliban as a political force would have consequences beyond the region. India has major economic investments in Afghanistan and remains concern about the rise of Taliban.

    Growing Chinese influence in the region is another major concern for India. In many cases, India’s neighbours have tried to play the China card to blunt India’s regional pre-eminence. China-Pakistan nexus remains a major stumbling bloc for South Asian peace. Unresolved border problem with China also adds to India’s anxiety. All these factors impinge on India’s overall security environment.

    Can the South Asian Gas Pipeline Dilemma be Resolved through a Legal Regime?

    South Asian countries, and particularly India, are hydrocarbon-deficient, and given the pace of economic growth in many of these nations, all of them need huge energy resources to sustain their growth. In accordance with their diversification strategies as well as to enhance energy security they are considering alternate sources and means of imports, including via land pipelines.

    September 2011

    Will Cooperative Security Work in South Asia?

    While the cooperative security approach has not succeeded in resolving conflicts in South Asia, it might work when it comes to resolving human security related issues.

    November 13, 2011

    The Terror Challenge In South Asia and Prospect of Regional Cooperation

    The Terror Challenge In South Asia and Prospect of Regional Cooperation
    • Publisher: Pentagon Security International

    This book is an attempt to study the problem of terrorism in South Asia, which has often been perceived as its hub. The contributors to the volume belonging to South Asian region have provided valuable insights on the issue of terrorism and have also suggested measures to deal with the problem. They consider terrorism as a phenomenon that has been harmful to society, economy and polity of the South Asian nations. At the same time, they also point out that there should not be over-emphasis on the use of force. In fact, a calibrated use of force is likely to be more effective.

    • ISBN 978-81-8274-599-5 ,
    • Price: ₹. 695/-
    • E-copy available

    The Other South Asia

    Though Pakistan and Afghanistan still continue to be embroiled in religious and ethnic conflict, the rest of South Asia appears keen to check and go beyond such tendencies.

    June 20, 2011

    Positive Prospects for Limited War in South Asia

    There is sufficient space for India to wage a limited war against Pakistan. Fears of escalation to the nuclear realm are grossly exaggerated by the critics of limited war, who ignore or misinterpret several factors (such as nuclear deterrence and international pressure) that would prevent conflict expansion in South Asia. While the current level of political-diplomatic-military planning in India lacks the capacity to meet the essential tenets of limited war, this can change and the requisite conditions can be achieved through better synergy and collaboration between different spheres.

    April 2011

    Naeem Salik, The Genesis of South Asian Nuclear Deterrence: Pakistan’s Perspective, New York: Oxford University Press, 2010

    On any subject, there are always two stories to tell- or may be more. This book seems to do the same when it comes to the debate over the nuclearisation of the South Asian region. As the title of the book suggests, Brig. (Retd.) Naeem Salik seeks to revisit the history of South Asian nuclear weapons from Pakistan’s perspective. The author feels that the story told, so far, has been obtuse and has worked to the detriment of Pakistan’s interests. In order to create a balance in the literature, the author claims to provide ‘dispassionate and objective analysis’

    January 2011

    Maitrayee asked: Can South Asia be called an independent geostrategic zone?

    Smruti Pattanaik replies: South Asia cannot be called independent geo-strategic zone. Countries of the region have different security and strategic outlook. These are governed by geographical location of each of the countries of the region and state of their economic health impinges on the way that these countries look at various strategic issues. Source of their threat perceptions are not confined to its geo-strategic space of South Asia, it is rather transnational. South Asia also does not act as a coherent geographical entity. For that matter no region can be called an independent geo-strategic zone.

    Politically and strategically it cannot be called as an independent geo-strategic zone. Countries of South Asia do not share a common strategic and security vision. There are two important countries i.e. US and China are deeply involved in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Chinese close defence tie with Pakistan is also aimed at India. Most of the countries have different perceptions on the role of US and China in this region.

    In a globalizing world, independent geo-strategic zone are neither possible nor viable. Interests of the countries are overlapping and they have to pursue an overarching policy that takes into consideration dynamics of international politics.