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Winter Workshop on Sources of Conflict in South Asia: 2004

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Winter Workshop on Sources of Conflict in South Asia: October 2004
2004-10-10
Kathmandu, Nepal
The Sixth RCSS Winter Workshop was held at Godavari Village Resort, Kathmandu, Nepal, from 1 to 10 October 2004. This residential workshop was devoted to nontraditional sources of conflict in South Asia. The themes included:

• Terrorism
• Human Security Issues
• Governance
• Gender and Security
• Migration

The objectives of the workshop were to train young scholars in South Asia to evolve alternate approaches to prevention, management, and resolution of conflicts in the region. Continued interaction and communication among the network of professionals and scholars is a sine qua non for future peace in the region, to which RCSS is committed.

Prof. Sridhar Khatri, Executive Director, RCSS, explained the structure, design, and content of the workshop. He said that the themes for this year were derived from grants given by Ford Foundation to five different institutions in South Asia under Phase II of its project on Non-Traditional Security Issues. The other organizations collaborating with RCSS in the workshop and their areas of study include: Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies, Dhaka (Human Security); Women in Security, Conflict Management and Peace, New Delhi (Gender and Security); Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, New Delhi (Governance, Democracy and Human Development); and Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit, Dhaka (Migration).

The keynote address was made by Ambassador I. P. Khosla, while the themes were discussed by the faculty members along with their presentations. Ambassador Khosla mentioned that most human security issues can be better understood in the dispersal of power from the State and its linkages with the organs utilizing such power. He maintained the need to concentrate more on implementation of research already done in the sphere of non-traditional security. His contention was that there is an overwhelming number of studies done and data available and over reporting of issues, whereas there remains an under resolution of the issues. He said that the task for young scholars is to delve deep into the concepts and define them, but deal with the root causes, and find prescriptions.

He linked the approaches to improve the security of the people with gradual dispersal of power from the State to other actors, such as NGOs, civil society groups, etc. About hundred years ago there was a “triple concentration” of power internationally with colonialists, internally with Governments, and within Governments with the small elite, he said. It has, however been replaced by a gradual leakage of power.

This phenomenon has also affected the trade unions and labour movements, which once exercised tremendous influence on governments. For example, the Indian liberalization programmes of the early 1990s could not be challenged by the weak trade unions. He also stated that the “over-towering bureaucracy” has expanded and it had led to a dispersal of power. The bureaucracy has two basic roles, first, it is an arm of the government; and second, as it expands, it becomes representative in its character by “developing local links”.

As a result of the dispersal of power from the State, it is no longer possible for the State to preserve, consolidate and enhance power over its own people through coercion, laws and institutions; the state is now called upon to improve the lives of its people by focusing upon denominators like life expectancy, health, education, the environment, etc. The state is also expected to give away power to local bodies. The response of the State in the face of such erosion of authority has been attempts to “recoup some of the losses”. This is done through promulgating ideologies such as ethnicity, religion, and language. It has attempted to promote homogenizing projects like that of nationalism. It has also tried to focus more on economic indicators such as GDP, FDI and foreign exchange reserves.

However, overreliance on such indicators, Ambassador Khosla cautioned, can be highly erroneous. He defined terrorism as a discourse about State and about accumulating more power in favour of the State. It is yet to be defined in a comprehensive manner. The power to tell who is a terrorist lies in the hands of the State. He pointed out that the State is not in favour of providing definitions to the term. This workshop can attempt to arrive at a definition, he said.

The root causes of terrorism are about deprivation and poverty, and generally, it is a result of a “mismatch between the flow of power upwards and downwards”. The human security discourse is one result of a decentred State. “Security, i.e. defence against external and internal enemies, has gradually come to mutual and cooperative security,” he said. In a dispersed State, security is being managed by many groups.

The human security debate has been an international debate, and has been a continuing one. The idea about the modern State is about its permanence. The debate, however, happens at a below the- State-level, a factor which the State is yet to internalize. Its absence is visible in the budget and plan documents.

In fact, the State can reclaim some of its power by focusing more on human security. Ambassador Khosla outlined two approaches to governance. One can be an attempt to construct an index, which is relatively easy, given the fact that there is no dearth of data and information. The second approach is to take the aspirations of the people into account. It is a long and complicated process. “What are people’s goals in terms of well-being, security, income and prospects, often they don’t really know.” There is, thus, the danger of popular aspirations being distorted by the culture of consumerism.

During discussions on the presentation, Ambassador Khosla elaborated that even the role of the civil society and NGOs has been distorted by their agenda, “ethnic, religious and promotion of nationalism of a certain kind”. He said that even though the civil society would like to exercise more power, the governments of the day have displayed great reluctance to allow the same. Governments, on the other hand, do not have similar problems in sharing power with private organizations. Another handicap of NGOs, in his opinion, is that “they are not organized enough” and do not have the resources to collect data on a national scale.

The workshop became a “conduit” for the young scholars to engage in more research in the various segments of study to explore fresh resolutions to problematc areas in the field of security studies in the region.

The list of Faculty Members and the topics covered by them in the course of the 10-day workshop are given below.

Non-Traditional Security Issues in South Asia:
Some Key Themes

Overview
Prof. Sridhar Khatri
Terrorism in South Asia
Prof. Abdur Rob Khan
Human Security in South Asia: Discourse, Practice and Policy Proposition Globalization     and Non-Traditional Security Issues in SouthAsia.
Terrorism
Prof. Imtiaz Ahmed
Understanding Terrorism in South Asia (presented by Dr Amena Mohsin)
Weapon Technology and the Reconceptualization of Terrorism (presented by Dr Amena  Mohsin )
Prof. Sridhar Khatri
Understanding and Responding to “Terrorism” in South Asia
Prof. Dhruba Kumar
Understanding “Terrorism” in Nepal: The Marginalization Syndrome
Prof. S. D. Muni
Responding to Terrorism in South Asia
Dr Jehan Perera
The Misgovernance Syndrome in Sri Lanka: From Terrorist War to Negotiated Partnership
Dr Rubina Saigol
State and the Limits of “Counter-Terrorism”: Experience of Pakistan and Sri Lanka
Dr Nira Wickremasinghe
Unthinking the “Terrorism”–”Globalization” Nexus

Panel Discussion

  Prof. Dhruba Kumar, Dr Pancha Maharjan, Prof. S. D.Muni, Dr Rubina Saigol and Dr Nira  Wickremasinghe
Understanding and Responding to Terrorism in South Asia: Some After-Thoughts and Policy Options
Human Security
Prof. Abdur Rob Khan
How are Human Security Issues Viewed in South Asia?
Mr Ajaya Dixit and Mr Dipak Gyawali
A Cultural Theory Perspective on Environment and Security
Prof. Krishna Hatchetu
Human Security Study: Survey and Peoples’ Attitudes
Prof. Monirul Hussain
Poverty Marginalisation and Human Security
Prof. Dhruba Kumar
Nepal Country Paper on Human Security
Mr Jagath Senaratne
Human Security and State Security in Sri Lanka
Panel Discussion
Prof. S. D. Muni, Prof. Abdur Rob Khan and Mr Jagath Senaratne
Human Security in South Asia: Some After-Thoughts and Policy Options
Governance
Prof. Lok Raj Baral
Governance and Security in Plural Societies
Prof. Gopal Guru
Social Insurance and Social Security for Vulnerable Groups in South Asia
Prof. Valerian Rodrigues
New and Old Social and Political Movements and Their Impact on Non-Traditional Security Issues in South Asia
Dr E. Sridharan
Political Systems and Ethnic Accommodation
Panel Discussion
Prof. Lok Raj Baral, Prof. Gopal Guru, Prof. Valerian Rodrigues and Dr E. Sridharan
Governance and Regional Security in South Asia: Some After-Thoughts and Policy Options


Gender and Security

   Dr Sumona Das Gupta
Gender and Security: Exploring the Problematic
Gender and Armed Conflict: The Kashmir Case
Dr Amena Mohsin
Women, Insurgency and the Chittagong Hill Tracts
Ms Rita Reddy
Gender and Peacekeeping: Lessons Learnt from the Experience of South-East Asia
Dr Rubina Saigol
Post-9/11 Terror, Terrorists and Women
The Farmers’ Movements in Pakistani Punjab: With Focus on Gender Issues
Ms Rita Thapa and Dr Ava Shrestra
On the Edge: The Impact of the Insurgency on Nepali Women


Panel Discussion
Dr Sumona Das Gupta, Ms Rita Reddy, Ms Rita Thapa, Dr Ava Shrestha and Dr Rubina Saigol
Gender and Security in South Asia: Some After-Thoughts and Policy Options
Migration
Dr Jagannath Adhikari
Labour Migration Experiences: Within South Asia
Prof. Syed Imtiaz Ahmed
Labour Migration and Security: Conceptual Issues
Prof. Lok Raj Baral
Refugees and Regional Security in South Asia
Dr Tasneem Siddiqui
Migration, Development and Livelihoods Labour Migration Experiences: From South Asia
Panel Discussion
Dr Jagannath Adhikari, Prof. Syed Imtiaz Ahmed, Prof.Lok Raj Baral and Dr Tasneem Siddiqui
Migration: Some After-Thoughts and Policy Options
After each session the young participants were asked to  have group discoussions on the themes and prepare reports.
The participants, selected from Bhutan, Bangladesh,India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, were as follows.

BANGLADESH
Ms Sadika Akhter
Research Coordinator, Plan Bangladesh, Dhaka
Ms Kazi Anarkoly
Assistant Secretary, SAARC Wing, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dhaka
Ms Rumana Monzur
Lecturer, Dept of International Relations, University of Dhaka
Mr Kazi S. M. Khasrul Alam Quddusi
Assistant Professor,University of Chittagong
Mr Zafar Sobhan
Assistant Editor, The Daily Star, Dhaka
Mr Mohammad Sahahbuddin
Lecturer, Eastern University, Dhaka
Ms Sawlat Hilmi Zaman
BRAC University, Dhaka

 

BHUTAN
Mr Tharchean
Senior Legal Officer, Ministry of Home and Cultural Affairs, Thimpu INDIA
Ms Anisha Kinra
M.Phil. Student, Delhi University, New Delhi
Mr Anand Kumar
Research Associate, Institute of Conflict Management, New Delhi
Ms Tanya Mohan
Researcher, Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi
Ms Swati Parashar
Research Assistant, Observer Research Foundation, New Delhi
Ms Manika Rakshit
Lecturer, Dhruba Chand Halder College, Chakshin, Barasat, W.B.
Dr Bibhu Prasad Routray
Director, Institute of Conflict Management, Guwahati
Mr Solano Da Silva
Project Member, Lokniti, Centre for Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), New Delhi
Ms Devika Sharma
Research Assistant, Observer Research Foundation, New Delhi
Ms Aisha Sultanat
Research Officer and Ford Scholar, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies, New Delhi

 

NEPAL
Mr Deepak Prakash Bhatt
M.Phil. Student, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
Ms Shobha Shrestha
Peace and Security Officer, Peace and Governance Foundations, Kathmandu
Mr Amresh Kumar Singh
M.Phil. Student, South Asian Studies Department, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
Mr Dhruba Simkhada
Journalist, Himal Media, Lalitpur
Mr Hari Kuma Shrestha
Director, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Kathmandu
Ms Rekha Shrestha
Socio-Anthropologist, Kathmandu

 

PAKISTAN
Ms Aqeela Asif
Lecturer, COMSATS, Islamabad
Ms Maria Saiffudin Effandi
Research Scholar, Institute of Regional Studies, Islamabad
Mr Ikram Ali Ghumro
National Commission for Human Development, Rawalpindi
Ms Nusrat Khurshedi
M.Phil./Ph.D. Student, University of Karachi
Ms Sarah Siddiq
Coordinator, Sustainable Development Policy Institute, Islamabad
Ms Khalida Tasneem
Lecturer, Federal Government Margalla College, Islamabad
SRI LANKA
Lt Cdr A. B. Danapala
Sri Lanka Navy
Ven. Horana Dhamminda Thero
Lecturer, University of Peradeniya
Mr Charita Herath
Senior Lecturer, University of Peradeniya
Mr Harinda Ranura Vidanage
Consultant to the Prime Minister and Visiting Lecturer, University of Colombo
Dr Janaki D. Jayawardena
Lecturer, University of Colombo

   RCSS
Mr S. B. Atugoda
Associate Director
Ms Minna Thaheer
Programme Officer

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