|In Chennai: Workshop on ‘Rethinking Security in South Asia’ (R. Sridhar)
A one day workshop titled ’Rethinking Security in South Asia’ was held at Hotel Ambassador Pallava, Chennai, on December 2, 2000 under the auspices of the Regional Centre for Strategic Studies, Colombo , and the School for Political and International Studies (SOPIS), University of Madras. Thirty eight participants from various academic institutions in Chennai, the armed forces and the media participated in the workshop. Eminent resource persons spoke to the participants on issues pertaining to co-operative security in South Asia and also answered the numerous queries raised by the participants. The workshop was organized jointly by R. Sridhar, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Political Science, Madras Christian College and Dr. V.. K. Padmanabhan, Professor, Centre for South and Southeast Asian Studies, University of Madras.
The workshop was inaugurated by Mr. Mark Larsen, Consul for Public Affairs, US Consulate in Chennai. In his inaugural address, Mr. Larsen emphasised the need to redefine the term “security” and broaden its scope so as to include the threats to the individual human being. He stressed on the need to enlarge the dialogue on security ‘outside the box’ of defence.
Dr. Alexander Mantramurti, Principal of Madras Christian College, delivered the keynote address on Security in South Asia. Pointing out that internal conflicts were the root cause for inter-state conflicts in South Asia, Dr. Mantramurti urged for a more activistic role by the civil society in security issues.
Mr. R. Sridhar, speaking on “CBMs, in south Asia” pointed out the threat of nuclear instability in South Asia and the urgent need for confidence building measures, particularly in the nuclear field, between India and Pakistan. Other speakers were Mr. B.S. Raghavan, IAS (retd) on “Civil Society in South Asia” and Dr. V.K.Padmanabhan on “Human Security and Refugees”.
In Karachi: “Security in the New Millennium: Envisioning South Asia in the Twenty First Century” (Farhan Hanif Siddiqi)
The purpose of the present Workshop, as outlined, was to deliberate on traditional security issues of South Asia with intent of the imperatives forced on the region by the new millennium and the post Cold War era.
Dr. Moonis Ahmar, Associate Professor, Department of International Relations, University of Karachi, in the key-note address on “South Asian Security in the Twenty-First Century: Problems and Prospects”, stated that South Asian security is passing through a transitional phase because of external changes and regional contradictions. Dr. Ahmar stated that as things stand today in South Asia, a qualitative change in the regional security paradigm requires the marginalization of state centric security approach. It would require the restructuring of the approach of the people of South Asia on basic issues influencing their lives.
Five papers were presented during the formal session. The first paper was presented by Ms. Munira Tehsin, who is a student of M.A. (Final), Department of International Relations, University of Karachi. In her paper on “The competing paradigms of security in the post-Cold War era”, she stated that with the onset of the post Cold War era, the definition of security has broadened further by incorporating political, military, social, economic and environmental concerns.
The second paper was presented by Mr. Abdul Sami Shaikh, who is a former student of the Department of International Relations, Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad. The theme of his paper was “Nuclearization in South Asia: Implications and Conflict Prevention Measures”. He stated that the antagonistic relations between India and Pakistan have created an uncertain and unstable environment in the South Asian region.
Ms. Asma Pervaiz Khan, who is Cooperative Lecturer, Department of International Relations, University of Karachi in her paper titled “The politics of NPT and CTBT in South Asia” said that no debate on security in India and Pakistan in the last several years has been so controversial and entrenched as one related to these treaties.
Ms. Tayyaba Tanvir, who is Cooperative Lecturer, Department of International Relations, University of Karachi presented a paper titled “The Kashmir Issue: Perceptions and Mechanisms for Resolution”. Ms. Tayyaba was of the opinion that the Kashmir issue needs to be looked according to new economic and political realities of the post Cold war era, so as to find a meaningful, viable and peaceful solution to the Kashmir dispute with the will of the Kashmiri people as party to the dispute.
The fifth and final paper was presented by Ms. Nasuheen Wasi, Research Officer, Pakistan Institute of International Affairs, Karachi. The theme of her paper was “Comprehensive and Cooperative Security in South Asia”. Ms. Nausheen stated that security is not restricted to military issue alone but is comprehensive in character and includes other elements of national power such as economy, diplomacy, politics, energy, food security and protection against natural calamities.
The formal session was followed by a lively question and answer session. Prof. Dr. Mahtab Ali Shah, Chairman, Department of International Relations, University of Sindh, Jamshoro presented the concluding address. Prof. Dr. Arifa Farid, Dean, Faculty of Arts and Prof. Syed Sikandar Mehdi, Chairman, Department of International Relations, University of Karachi also presented their views on the concept of South Asian security during the session. In the end, we would like to thank RCSS and in particular Mr. Dipankar Banerjee for providing the needed material support in order to make this Workshop possible and we hope that this fruitful collaboration with the RCSS will continue well into the future.
In Sylhet: “Experience Sharing on Defense, Technology and Cooperative Seccurity in South Asia” (Md Nazrul Islam)
During the first session Md. Nazrul Islam introduced a RCSS chapter. He said, though South Asia passed 50 years of post colonial rule but still the domestic security issues and the bilateral and multilateral issues of South Asian countries have not been solved. The RCSS basically a South Asian based non government, not profitable and independent organization trying to create awareness among the young South Asian scholars in this particular field. It is also a South Asian forum for studies, training, and multitrack dialogue & on issues of regional interest. All activities of RCSS are designed with a South Asia focus and are usually participated by experts from all South Asian countries. The centre is envisaged as a forum for advancing the cause of cooperation, security, conflict resolution, confidence building, peace and development in the countries of the South Asian region.
In his address Professor M. Habibur Rahman, vice-chancellor, Shahjalal University, said that, though the existing ruling class has failed to solve the bilateral and multilateral issues of South Asia, he believed that next generation will be able to do this task which will bring peace to the region.
Dr. Abdul Quddus presented a seminar paper on “Indo-Pak Conflict and its Impact on Regional Cooperation in South Asia”. Next speaker was S M Tariqul Islam, an alumni of seventh RCSS summer workshop in Colombo. He said that the workshop gave him close insight to his current research project. Tariqul presented a seminar paper on “Instability, Governance and Security in South Asia: Search for an Alternatives Paradigm”.
Md. Nazrul Islam presented a seminar paper on “Non-Traditional Security in South Asia-A Subaltern Perspective”. He said that as majority people of South Asia lives in a subaltern domain, RCSS should give importance on nontraditional security issues in South Asia, which could ensure the security of majority people in the region.
In the final session Dr. Abdul Quddus was the chair and Dr. Kamal Ahmed Chowdhury, L.T. Ruhul Amin, Advocate Amolendu Dhar and Journalist Iktiur Uddin were the panel speakers. Dr. Kamal highlighted that if we want to realize the present inactive role of SAARC for the solution of contemporary bilateral and multilateral issues in South Asia we must realize the content of SAARC building. Advocate Amolendu said that the political use of religion is the major problem for the insatiable situation in South Asia. The South Asian peoples should create pressure on their political leaders to avoid the use of religion in their political game.