South Asia's Weak States: Understanding the Regional Insecurity Predicament

South Asia's Weak States: Understanding the Regional Insecurity Predicament

South Asia's Weak States: Understanding the Regional Insecurity Predicament

South Asia's Weak States: Understanding the Regional Insecurity Predicament

Synopsis

South Asia, which consists of eight states of different sizes and capabilities, is characterized by high levels of insecurity at the inter-state, intra-state, and human level: insecurity that is manifest in both traditional and non-traditional security problems- especially transnational terrorism fuelled by militant religious ideologies.

To explain what has caused and contributed to the perpetual insecurity and human suffering in the region, this book engages scholars of international relations, comparative politics, historical sociology, and economic development, among others, to reveal and analyze the key underlying and proximate drivers. It argues that the problems are driven largely by two critical variables: the presence of weak states and weak cooperative interstate norms.

Based on this analysis and the conclusions drawn, the book recommends specific policies for making the region secure and for developing the long lasting inter- and intra-state cooperative mechanisms necessary for the perpetuation of that security.

Excerpt

T. V. Paul

South Asia, which consists of eight states of different sizes and capabilities, is characterized by high levels of insecurity in interstate, intrastate, and human dimensions. Although most emerged as independent nations in the 1940s, the states in the region have not yet been able to settle their several conflicts—internal and external—while some have become the epicenters of both traditional and non-traditional security problems, especially transnational terrorism fueled by militant religious ideologies. the region also has not developed adequate institutional mechanisms and normative frameworks for solving its myriad security challenges collectively and nonviolently. One result of this is that even when some conflicts are resolved, others emerge in their place, often leading to the continuation of the cycle of violence in other parts of the region.

What explains the chronic insecurity of South Asia? a large set of variables have been presented in the literature for this multifaceted insecurity problem. They include: 1. irreconcilable national identities; 2. lack of political development (i.e., the absence of proper democratic institutions and procedures); 3. weak economies; 4. unsettled territorial disputes; and 5. lack of regional institutions. While these factors can explain a great amount of the chronic insecurity of the region, especially at the interstate level, we still lack a compelling explanation that can cover substantial ground for the perpetual multidimensional insecurity of South Asia. Most of the literature on South Asian security deals with interstate dimensions; there has been a somewhat . . .

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