South Asia Approaches the Millennium: Reexamining National Security

South Asia Approaches the Millennium: Reexamining National Security

South Asia Approaches the Millennium: Reexamining National Security

South Asia Approaches the Millennium: Reexamining National Security


"This innovative volume offers a comprehensive analysis of the issues surrounding South Asia's precarious security. Going far beyond common considerations of border defense and regime, the contributors rigorously trace the social, economic, and ecological origins of present antagonisms. Although careful attention is paid to state military policies in the post-Cold War era - particularly as governments respond to a growing arms trade and nuclear proliferation - the authors also explore the far-reaching implications of environmental degradation and narcotics trafficking for security in the region, arguing that threats such as these transcend boundaries and local political regimes. Exposing the fallacies of purely geopolitical, state-centric models for considering security issues, the authors highlight the complex historical interplay between state and unofficial actors. Concrete applications of their analysis to specific cases - like the Kashmir dispute between Pakistan and India - demonstrate the importance of confidence-building measures and the inefficacy of "zero-sum" approaches to security. Finally, through its dynamic model of security, this volume offers insights into the emerging significance of new regional identities and relations in the next millennium." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved


This volume has its origins in a project sponsored by the Midwest Consortium for International Security Studies (MCISS). It brought together scholars interested in both the theory and practice of international security, especially as applied to South Asia. The resulting papers and discussions analyzed existing and emerging security concerns in the region, and prescribed policy options. They focused on the evolving understanding of national and regional security in the post-Cold War era and on visible security trends in South Asia as we approach the end of the millennium.

The underlying theme that emerged from the project was that the new kinds of threats currently being faced by the South Asian states call for an expansion of the term security to include not just security from military threats, but also from social, economic, and ecological threats, all of which have emerged as factors affecting the viability of the contemporary nation-state system.

The project participants concurred that the insecurity of nation- states is not a local or self-induced phenomenon, but derives from factors at both the international and subnational levels of the world system. In other words, it is not just states that feel insecure; societies and social groups can experience insecurity too, thereby adding to the overall insecurity of states that preside over them. In this context, it was also suggested that the excessive pursuit of military security by nation- states in the short term can detract from democratic practice as well as the pursuit of socioeconomic development in the long run. This, in turn, by inducing further societal insecurity, can add to the long-term insecurity of the state.

In bringing meaning to the new dimensions of security in South Asia, contributors agreed that a redefinition of security is validated by, among other factors, the increasingly transboundary nature of the problems faced by the South Asian nations. A pointed example of such problems is that of ethnicity: not only do emergent ethnic identities transcend state boundaries, the emergence of a global civil society allows ethnic identities to be communicated transnationally at an ever-

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