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Anarchy, Community of States and “Talibans”

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The Taliban’s re-accession to power in Afghanistan is approaching an anniversary. Representatives of the extreme ethnic movement entered Kabul unopposed on August 15, 2021. The previous day, the Taliban methodically took control of important logistical and infrastructure hubs, towns, and provinces. It’s time to reach some initial judgments. Let’s examine the Afghan instance within the larger framework of world events occurring via the lens of political theories and schools of international relations (IR). What direction is Afghanistan heading towards under the Taliban? What changes have been made to the international and regional relations system? What about terrorism as a player in international politics?

A report on the state of terrorism in the globe was issued on the eve of the UN Security Council and contains material that has been meticulously vetted regarding the activities of Al Qaeda and the militant Islamic State (IS). The following document is the 30th report of the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team, which was established in accordance with UNSC Resolutions 1526 and 2253. The report’s findings are depressing, but they also support the theories of experts who foresaw an increase in global terrorism following the Taliban’s takeover of power. The statement in the paper reads as follows: “Al Qaeda and IS’s danger remains strong in conflict-hit regions and the bordering nations, however both of these terrorist organisations might seek to strike in non-conflict areas.”

Conflicts, instability, and contradictions abound in the contemporary world. In the Eastern and Asian areas, where there is a systemic tension of competing potentials, this is particularly true. As a result, the situation is considerably more stable and the conflicts are primarily of an internal political nature in the western portions of the world. Given the functioning institutions, these contradictions can be resolved through democratic plebiscite technologies, or by a change in power, elections, and representative democracy, in which, as political scientist Adam Przeworski wrote, each stratum of society receives its representation (agents in power). In other East and Asian nations, a comparable structure has not emerged. The political system and culture, with a few notable exceptions (Japan, South Korea, etc.), assume a zero-sum game in which the victors of internal political disputes receive everything and the losers are subjected to persecution. Foreign policy frequently functions as a continuation of domestic policy in such a coordinated structure. The governing circles are attempting to increase their influence in international politics and on the external circuit. This explains why tensions occasionally get worse right before elections campaigns. 

The present multilateral system of international relations is unquestionably facing severe challenges as a result of current conflicts. Although the conclusion of this catastrophe is yet uncertain, the serious ramifications for geopolitics, the world’s system of trust, and the global economy cannot be overstated. Contrarily, compromise inclinations are rising in the western half of the world notwithstanding all the difficulties of the current situation. Since it has been at war for the last two thousand years, the West is especially sensitive to the need to preserve peace and stability. In fact, the so-called community of states—theoretical ideas being developed by the English School of International Relations—is becoming stronger after a number of decades. This community is small, segregated, and sparse. It consists of nations that share a same culture, set of principles, and conception of the world order. The most wealthy, powerful, and technologically advanced are forming (or strengthening) a power structure that exists for itself, for itself, and in accordance with its own norms.

Attempts to export values, modernization, and institutions sometimes have conflicting outcomes, as practice over the last few decades has demonstrated. It is clear that they do succeed occasionally. In fact, there are instances where the community of nations has been repopulated with individuals who have, in a short period of time, made significant strides in their own development and carried out—to use the jargon of political theory—an accelerated, occasionally violent modernization with above- or below-average levels of social and political legitimacy. There are, however, other instances where the modernization hypothesis did not succeed and, on the contrary, had detrimental effects. Two instances that can be considered extremes and that are located at the opposite poles of the vertical are offered in the literature in their most generic form: Japan and Afghanistan. We will now discuss Professor Samuel Huntington’s legacy once more. He gained widespread recognition for “The Clash of Civilizations“, a book that was incredibly vivid but also a little questionable, rather than for his classic works on political philosophy.

Huntington was a brilliant theorist in his early years, and he was the first to postulate that rapid modernization would only succeed if solid political institutions were established. Barrington Moore, a professor at Yale University, once declared that “no bourgeoisie, no democracy.” Huntington rephrased that statement as “no political institutions, no modernization.” Both luminaries in political science were correct in their own ways, and their findings were supported by a large body of actual data. Moore published “Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy in 1966, detailing his conclusions, while Huntington published “Political Order in Changing Societies” two years later. Political and social science’s episteme assumes a conflict between competing theories and hypotheses, as well as disagreements over which elements and premises should be taken as gospel. But in this instance, we may conclude that the two researchers complimented one another and systematized the development of what neorealism thinker Kenneth Waltz had dubbed “Man, the State, and War” a few years previously. Scientists express and attempt to analyze precisely what Waltz said, yet they come to different results.

It appears that thinkers, scientists, institutions, and international organizations will continue to lead efforts to identify the fundamental and consistent processes underlying human growth. We regret this; it’s a really terrible situation. In actuality, we observe escalating disagreements between many nations and communities. There are more advantageous conditions that must be met. This deviation from the global paradigm of identifying issues and resolving them collaboratively appears to be transient and, moreover, transient in nature. There are other causes for this, too. First off, no viable and practical alternative to the modernization theory (which has many various implications and sorts), institutional theory (which is also quite varied), or John Ruggie’s idea of embedded liberalism was offered. Furthermore, the economic, technical, and social achievements of nations and countries over the last few decades have been made possible by, or at the very least unwittingly facilitated by, devotion to the tenets of the aforementioned clauses. When a result, the disagreement will lessen as the concepts’ detractors eventually resume executing these programs in their largest and most generic form. 

The theoretical concept of anarchy, which is stated in the article’s title, is another significant part of the issue. This idea, in general, is what many scientists who research IR, from various schools and ideas, believe about. Realists, neorealists, English School adherents, constructivists, and others now acknowledge the anarchy of international relations. Anarchy, in essence, separates a person’s existence inside a state from the life of a state. Within states, there is a supreme authority that sets limitations on the acts of units and provides a semblance of law and order. This power is legal in Max Weber’s ideal kinds. In terms of international relations, the situation is different. All states are officially equal; they have all been sovereign since Westphal’s time in 1648 and have all been national since the time after the Napoleonic Wars. There is no absolute power over states. Hence, the claim that international relations are anarchic. On this, realists and neorealists conclude their analysis. However, English school scientists and later constructivists continue it and reach remarkable results that have the potential to, if not “win,” at least contain the anarchy in the future.

Why does preventing anarchy make sense? According to conservative theorists or advocates of radical sovereignty, nations are sovereign and autonomous, and anarchy is the best thing to have occurred to them since the fall of big empires and the creation of international systems. Despite the fact that the most accomplished IR student sometimes overlooks this reality, the solution to this issue is simple. The objective of the scientific field of international relations is to triumph over anarchy. This is the thesis I want to emphasize. In the UK, the development of IR as a scientific field of study started during the interwar years. The USA received the palm a few while later. These specifics are quite intriguing and illuminating. First of all, IR is a top-tier science, and secondly, the world’s most developed nations provide the most cutting-edge innovations, ideas, hypotheses, and solutions. 

The United States saw the fastest ascension to superpower status following World War II. Implicitly, Woodrow Wilson, a man who worked tirelessly to establish institutions that shielded the globe from a Second World War disaster, was the one who came up with the notion of creating a new scientific field, which had previously been a component of Political and Social Science. These efforts, it must be said, have failed. The objective of IR, which is to prevent conflict and triumph over the factors that lead to it, may be fixed in them. So, according to my argument, science strives to prevail and quell chaos.  

But how can we control chaos? I can be taken lightly if I claim to know the solution to this query. I don’t think anyone has an answer to this issue from a utilitarian or theoretical standpoint that takes into account the diversity of the globe. If the situation were different, nations and countries would respond in a more successful manner. However, some of these attempts were successful. Europe is the most glaring example. According to Max Weber’s developments, the emergence of the EU as a worldwide, regional agency with extensive authority and a neutral, tiresome, involuntary bureaucracy is a major achievement in human political theory. It is difficult to see a battle within or outside of Europe. In actuality, anarchy has been tamed in Europe, which has long served as the epicenter of world affairs and conflicts. The EU has really come the closest to realizing the English School’s idea of forming a community of people rather than a collection of nations. Barry Buzan, a well-known proponent of this hypothesis, says as such. Because of its central notion of an international society, the concept of society has been removed from the state and from having individuals as members. Outside of the EU, there aren’t any other examples in the globe. This might be the only instance.  

As a result, international relations have become somewhat more regionalized. In their territories, where their interests and ideals are recognized, nations and countries temporarily bind together. The global West is the most obvious illustration of this tendency. The communities of nations appear brighter according to the patterns of the English school. However, how can we deal with situations that only initially appear to be of a regional or national nature? Specifically, why should the most forward-thinking and powerful segment of the West resolve Afghanistan’s issues? It is far distant, there have been attempts, but nothing has transpired. The most pessimistic analysts will eventually point out that the vast majority of the populace rejected modernization, acknowledged the Taliban’s rule, and is now prepared for archaisation. 

There are actually multiple aspects to this query. The backing of any community is an essential step for responsible participants in international life, it looks like everything is obvious here. The other viewpoint is more realistic. It has to do with the interests of the genuine community of Western nations, which can only be closed in theory to safeguard their own interests. This is impossible in the current digital era. Even distant events that are more or less significant will have an impact on the Western society. A terrorist organisation’s ascent to power in a given nation cannot help but increase the threat of terrorism in the area, the rest of the world, and on a global scale. In reality, the UN study supports this concept. Afghanistan’s security situation is still precarious, and there is a chance that it may get worse. The peace process is still unpredictable.

Al-Qaida is present in at least 15 Afghan provinces, mostly in the eastern, southern, and south-eastern areas, according to the UN study. The Taliban defend Al-Qaida in the Indian Subcontinent from the provinces of Kandahar, Helmand, and Nimruz. Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP), which has been consolidating splinter groups and stepping up cross-border attacks, continues to pose a threat to the area. TTP has grown its revenue through taxes, smuggling, and extortion. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant-Khorasan (ISIL-K) has expanded into other provinces, including Nuristan, Badghis, Sari Pul, Baghlan, Badakhshan, Kunduz, and Kabul, where fighters have established sleeper cells, despite territorial, leadership, manpower, and financial losses during 2020 in Kunar and Nangarhar Provinces. In and around Kabul, where it carries out the majority of its attacks on minorities, activists, public servants, and members of the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces, the group has fortified its positions. The terrible attack on June 8th, which resulted in the deaths of 10 humanitarian deminers working in Baghlan Province and the injuries of 16 more, was most recently attributed to ISIL-K.

As a result, UN specialists keep track on global terrorist organization activity. Let me remind you that, on the eve of the most serious terrorist strikes in history in 2001, the UN also very professionally recognized the possible risk from transnational terrorists. As a result, neither the Western society nor any other government or nation can ignore the threat of terrorism and concentrate on engaging in conflict with geopolitical rivals. Political power never leaves a void; eventually, numerous autocracies, extremist movements, and terrorists strive to fill it. Terrorism should be viewed as a single system with several interconnected or autonomous units, and when this system becomes stronger in one region of the world, its equivalents automatically get stronger in that region as well. As a result, Dr. Elisabeth Kendall of Girton College at the University of Cambridge underlines the expansion of Islamist influence in Yemen.

The Taliban’s ascent to power in the summer of 2021 proved that Afghanistan and the region as a whole have experienced a comparable vacuum. Actually, the US and NATO withdrew from Afghan politics, putting the Taliban in control of all that had been established over the previous decades. Autocracies took advantage of this power vacuum to strengthen their positions and fund proxies, such as the Taliban. The Taliban were sponsored by the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Pakistani military. In reality, they carried out a coordinated special operation and organized the advance of combat troops, the seizure of vital supply lines, and ultimately the liberation of Kabul. Islamabad is currently attempting to exert tight control over the Taliban in order to utilize it to further its geopolitical objectives. 

On the one hand, the Taliban’s success was the inevitable result of the situation. It demonstrated that sizable portions of the Afghan public oppose modernization based on a Western paradigm. The tragic events also demonstrated that, despite their extremism and predilection for terrorism, the Taliban in Afghanistan represent the interests of a certain, mostly immobile segment of rural population. The Taliban has also developed into a far more skilled army that has mastered new hybrid techniques for carrying out contemporary combat, such as propaganda, information technology, public relations, and psychological operations. In actuality, the Taliban has evolved into a much wiser organization that employs both soft and hard power technologies. Additionally, there has been a distinct development that has been a feature of the extreme revolutionary forces gaining power. We are discussing attempts to play a multi-vector policy, which is a concrete rationalization of the political agenda. Although there have been no explicit attempts to export this ideology in the past year, this organization is nevertheless dedicated to an extreme interpretation of radical Islam.

The threat to the entire globe, the Western world, and Afghanistan’s neighbors continues to exist on a new level. First, it is clear that the Taliban were unable to establish a functional economic and governmental system in Afghanistan. The Taliban are still a violent, extremist organisation that engages in political terrorism. A complicated state system cannot be created by them, let alone managed. As a result, the Taliban’s rise to power did not resolve the issues facing Afghan society and the government. As reported by foreign organizations, the Taliban’s rule has, on the other hand, exacerbated the poverty that always existed among large portions of the people. No serious famine was reported by the same organizations, regardless of how flawed the US and NATO presence in Afghanistan was or how many errors were committed. Second, the issue is in the area of what political science theory refers to as recognition. The swift, clear, and unwavering victory of the Taliban against the United States and its allies in Afghanistan has served as a beacon and a signal for a vast network of despotisms, extremist political groups, and terrorist organizations. Outside of the Western world, many people saw this as evidence of American waning and decline as well as a lack of cohesion within NATO.

***

I’ll reiterate my opinions and theories to wrap things up. The world is evolving, and it is evolving rather fast. What the relationship system will look like in the upcoming decades is difficult to predict. There are significant changes taking place in the world that may have an impact on several states and countries. It seems that for a while, communities will form throughout the world based on shared interests and ideals. The most prevalent opinion is that democracies and autocracies will likely share these limits. This view has significance, and it is probable that this will be the case. However, it is important to note that the theory of the English school, which aims to “curb” anarchy, which is the objective of IR as a scientific field, will be used to explain the majority of contemporary events, in my opinion. 

The simplest and most popular theory, realism, fixes the fact of conflict in international affairs, but it offers no explanations, doesn’t identify winners and losers, and, most crucially, doesn’t provide any ways to resolve it. The most potent, unified, and cutting-edge pole of power is the collection of nations that make up the Global West. He also had to deal with numerous contemporary issues, such as the Afghan campaign’s failure and the hardline Taliban movement’s stunning win. The position of international terrorists as actors in international relations has been significantly boosted by this element, and they now serve as a beacon for forces in world politics that lack responsibility. 

Afghanistan cannot have straightforward linear answers, as history has demonstrated. Whether we like it or not, the Taliban represents the reality of Afghan society, a byproduct of the country’s long history of violence and constant war. The international community of nations cannot ignore the existing circumstances, let them develop on their own, or continue to overlook the escalating terrorist tendencies in Asia and the East.

Georgi Asatryan, associate professor, Lomonosov Moscow State University and Plekhanov Russian University of Economics.

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South Asia

The Need for Feminist Foreign Policy in India

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As more and more research is being done, there is a definitive link that connects gender equality with international prosperity and welfare; giving an equal opportunity for half the population can’t be just out of moral obligation. It is necessary for the economy and security of a nation. Currently, with resources that are in short supply, the way to maintain a good governance, growth in the economy, health, peace and security is to invest in women and girls. Various countries are promoting gender equality through development, diplomatic and security activities. Countries like Sweden, Canada, France and Mexico have adopted a comprehensive foreign policy that advances gender equality called “Feminist Foreign Policy.” India as a rising great power has to consider a more inclusive foreign policy.

Gender is hardly recognized or given importance when it comes to policy conversations, even though it plays a significant role in peace and security. It is often considered that it side-tracks the main problems with regard to international security and great power competition. However, there is no need for the contradiction between the two. A sign to see how far gender equality is embedded in society is to know the number of women in leadership positions, specifically in departments of security or even the academic study of security where the number of women is less.

According to research, women’s engagement in economics, politics, peace, and security procedures will result in stronger economic development, fewer human rights violations, and peace. Women empowerment is important for a country that aims to promote global security, increase the use of their foreign aid and continue to support stable and democratic allies. In the previous decade, numerous nations have adopted gender mainstreaming in their foreign policy. The critical areas of progress that have systematized gender equality are administration, strategy, and resource management. This comprehensive effort of bringing in gender equality in foreign policy is called as Feminist Foreign Policy. A foreign policy with a political framework focused on the security and safety of the marginalized community can be defined as a Feminist Foreign Policy.

The approach for defining and adopting a Feminist Foreign Policy will vary between counties and regions, depending on their lived experiences. However, that a conversation on Feminist Foreign Policy is an important one is under no debate, happening at a time when gender norms are evolving in our society. In the present-day scenario, there are countries around the world have laws preventing women from carrying out jobs in sectors like mining, manufacturing and construction, and millions of women live in countries where domestic violence is not punishable, gender mainstreaming in broader policy objectives and wider adoption of FFP can shape the future of our civilization.

In India’s foreign aid and assistance gender can be highlighted in bilateral as well as through multilateral institutions, directly impacting the neighborhood, as well as partners in Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe, Latin America, the Caribbean and Pacific and Small Island countries.

In a historic feat, India was elected as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council on June 18, 2020.  Following that, India also became a member of the prestigious UN Commission on the Status of Women in September 2020. India committed to pay attention to its efforts on peacekeeping, peacebuilding and women’s inclusion. In August, 2021 India assumed a month long UNSC presidency where it ended with its first resolution being passed on the Afghanistan situation demanding that the territory not be used for training terrorists. India’s diplomatic framework has embraced tools for soft power. The strategic moves taken up by India can be seen as step towards uplifting women.

A feminist foreign policy would give India a chance to create a beneficial surrounding for peace, remove domestic barriers against women, and also help in building strong bilateral partnerships. With India being surrounded by adversaries along its borders, this approach would also allow India to show itself as a nation that gives importance to various issues; have a better performance in indicators and indexes that are curated to assess the development of countries and gender gap such as the Global Gender Index and Gender Inequality Index; set an example for other nations and contribute continuously towards women empowerment.

It could also be a starting point for an internal shift with regards to India’s domestic context, particularly in terms of preconceived patriarchal gender roles, in which women are seen to be inferior to men. Empirical research has mentioned that for a progressive social and economic development of a nation, gender equality is a requirement. By removing the prevailing barriers that restrict the participation of women and other communities that are marginalized, India would develop a more inclusive policy. Domestic policies need to have a gendered lens that can protect the marginalized. Without having a balance internally, a feminist foreign policy will not sustain.

An FFP will give a major boost to the country’s international relations when its committed to women empowerment and extensively build a stronger partnership with countries that have adopted feminist foreign policy, for example, countries like Mexico, Canada and Sweden or those that are supporters of gender equality. Thus, FFP would allow India to deepen its commitments and make an impact as an emerging power.

Giving importance to human security and gender issues, would put India in a better position to achieve its international power ambitions. India slipped to 140th rank from 112th in the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Index 2020 – 2021. This is primarily due to the lack of political representation, absence of technical and leadership roles, inequal income, reducing women labour force participation rate, lack of proper health care and the literacy ratio gap between men and women.

A major boost for India would be a significantly better performance in the Global Gender Gap Index. This would lead to India becoming a role model for various countries. India can be an example by achieving gender parity in a variety of social indicators that is very important to assess a country’s development.

India’s record on women’s rights—or rather, women’s oppression—makes it far-fetched to quickly and successfully take on an FFP structure. Man-centric qualities are so profoundly instilled inside Indian culture that India has barely figured out how to achieve an adjustment of the arrangement of disparity at home. Subsequently, it does not have the credibility to take up feminist qualities in its international partnerships. An FFP approach may not just help India in cultivating imaginative ways of reasoning, yet in addition permit it to expand upon its traditional perspective on security, work with various representations, and develop strong bilateral partnerships.

Before adopting a Feminist Foreign Policy, India also needs to bring a change within the policies of the country. It is crucial for women to shape the outcomes and can’t just be receptacles, especially in peacebuilding, reconstruction and rebuilding. There are more women joining the Indian Foreign Service, but the Ministry has to make sure that they are taken up to the highest rank. The thought that women can’t handle challenging issues must be changed.

A feminist foreign policy would provide equal opportunity and basic human rights to women, girls, and other marginalised communities. A feminist foreign policy will aid India’s bilateral and multilateral alliances, as well as its attainment of great power status. For a feminist foreign policy to succeed, a country must first establish gender equality within its borders.

 Gender is clearly a significant factor in India’s development assistance. It must, however, be expanded to include other aspects of economy and security. Gender equality must be implemented within India. More women in government are needed.

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Crisis in Sri Lanka and The India-South Asia Challenges: Way Forward

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Authors: Dr Aditya Anshu and Nipun Tyagi*

Lot of articles and theories which are describing the current state of Sri Lanka and major factors that contributed towards the deteriorating performance of Sri Lankan economy. The ongoing Sri Lankan crisis has been examined by experts from global economic perspective and regional security but India as a country faces multi-faceted challenges, which must be managed sensibly. The approach of India should be balanced and crafted politically as well as diplomatically to protect the strategic Indian interest in Indo pacific region and to counter the influence of China and its expansionist policy.

To believe economist and experts on Sri Lanka, the blame initially was colored upon the COVID 19 pandemic for economic fall and disparity that engulfed the Island nation. It was argued trade has been adversely hit, the foreign remittances from the tourist were near to none, which possibly caters biggest foreign currency deposit. To add, the series of deadly bomb blast in 2019 at Colombo could be direct possible connection towards the decreasing number of tourists in Sri Lanka. Hitherto no expert or possible specialist cared to argue the failure of Rajapaksa brothers far-right nationalist policy of last 10 years was creating a liability trap for Sri Lanka along with creating deep cleavage in peaceful multicultural society.

The ramifications of the ongoing war between Ukraine and Russia are also creating difficulties and is one of the other prominent factors for the sluggish economic conditions of Sri Lanka. The Russia – Ukraine war has further exacerbated the economic calamity of the country as Russia is the second biggest market to Sri Lanka in tea exports. On the other hand, Sri Lanka’s tourism sector is heavily reliant upon these two nations for the tourist arrivals. As a result, the Ukrainian crisis has further created an adverse graph of already ailing economy of Sri Lanka. 

When Rajapaksa-led governments, liaising with extremist Buddhist ideology, entered with full majority in Sri Lankan political regime post 2009. This resulted in the end of over the ground ethnic persecution of Tamil and other minorities community. However, the persecution and intimidation continued in more subtle and systematic way for Tamils and other minority groups resulting division, hate and selective development. Being anti-minority became the symbol of jingoistic nationalism which helped Rajapaksa winning elections for next two decades.

On the Indian domestic front, Congress and other opposition parties are comparing Indian economy and its slothful growth with Sri Lankan crisis and blaming government for inflation, food crisis, rising unemployment and imbalance of economic situations. Significantly, inter-religion conflicts, caste division, income disparity and rising unemployment in India has been severely criticized by opposition parties and civil society groups drawing similarity of parallel class conflicts in Sri Lanka during the period of 1990 till now. The political parties alleged that ruling BJP is adopting the same Sri Lankan pattern to prosecute the minorities and ignoring economic turbulence which can be resulted for crashing Indian economy in the long run. But in view of scholars and academics it would be too early to comment on the opposition political parties assertion on government and about the Indian economy’s performance, nevertheless India needs to seriously monitor the situation with caution that is developing in Sri Lanka on various-fronts.

The first and the foremost issue which needs to be handled cautiously will be that of displaced migrants landing on Indian shores. The impact of the Sri Lankan crisis can increase the burden of refuges towards India. It will be very challenging for India to absorb the possible migration from Sri Lankan for food, shelter, and job opportunities; creating clusters in southern cites in which they can be deprived of basic human needs and rights. To cater women and children will not only be tasking for India but also can create a situation like Rohingya crisis. The proximity of Sri Lankan peoples to southern Indian states can help them to enter Indian territories which may disturb the sovereignty, regional stability, and could be the cause of national security of the country. “There is no accurate data on the number of refugees, but India has about 400,000 refugees including 238,222 recognized and documented refugees according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Report, 2021.

The second issue of concern for Indian government is to handle security challenges, regional security, peace and maintenance of law and order in India and South Asia. There are several reports which indicated the presence of Islamic State (IS) and other terror outfits active in southern states of India which can manipulate and employ the poor migrants landing on Indian shores for terror and illegal activities.  Investigation in a series of cases by the National Investigation Agency (NIA), a federal agency to counter terror has revealed numerous times about the strong presence of Islamic State (IS) in the southern states of India.  The Ministry of Home Affairs confirmed in the Rajya Sabha (Upper House) of Parliament on 16 September 2020 about 17 cases registered related to the presence of Islamic State (IS) by in southern States of Telangana, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu resulting to arrest of 122 accused.

There is no doubt that deep set networks for terror finance, extreme ideology and human resources connected with Sri Lanka exist in parts of Southern India. It is already evident after the terror events of 2019 in Sri Lanka and activation of all these will spell potential threat to security of South-Asia in general and India in particular.  The IS and other terrorist organization may take the advantage of internal violence and fragile administrative capability in Sri Lanka and can become serious threats for India’s national security.

To extend further, it would be very dangerous for the country like India to have the political and economic instability in neighboring countries as near as Sri Lanka. This might trigger a ‘domino-effect’ in the region, creating socio-economic imbalance in South-Asia.  The recent political and economic changes in Sri Lanka have created a threat for India’s vision for regional stability and security in South-Asia region.  In 2014 government of India launched Act East policy focusing on boosting economic co-operation, building infrastructure for greater connectivity, improving important strategic & security ties, and Greater focus on defense cooperation with East and Southeast Asia countries. India’s ‘Neighborhood First’ policy towards Sri Lanka had resonated with Sri Lanka’s ‘India First’ foreign and security policy in 2020. Therefore, the role of India becomes very important as well as challenging, to help the Sri Lanka maintain its peaceful internal order and to counter the debt trap policy of China.

Geopolitical experts have also argued that India can make use of this opportunity to revamp its diplomatic ties with Sri Lanka, which have been at distant owing Sri Lanka’s proximity with China under Rajapaksa’s rule. It would be strategically and geopolitically important for India to extend assistance to Sri Lanka during this crisis times for a better and conducive atmosphere in southern Indian ocean area.

Sri Lanka’s economic collapse may be an opportunity for India to swing the pendulum back with massive financial assistance to Sri Lanka. This has been followed up with India’s four-pronged economic and financial assistance approach to Sri Lanka. It includes credit lines for the import of food, fuel, and medicines; currency swaps to boost foreign exchanges; modernization; and holistic investments, in the sectors of renewable energy, ports, logistics, infrastructure, connectivity, and maritime security.

As a friendly and cooperative neighbor, India must carry multiple role and responsibility for Sri Lanka’s political stability, economic recovery, and strategic security where with right-intent diplomatic strategy is the key to determining India’s geopolitical influence in the region to counter interventionist China and its not so friendly policies. We cannot ignore the fact that turmoil in Sri Lanka is always perceived to influence India. That was in a speech by the then US Defence Secretary Robert Gates in the 2009 edition of the “Shangri La Dialogue”, when he said, “We look to India to be a partner and net provider of security in the Indian Ocean and beyond…”. It  is the time for India to come forward and prove it .

*Nipun Tyagi is scholar of Defense & Strategic Studies and Currently looks the International Office at Bennet University, India.

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Understanding Current Economic Havoc in Pakistan

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Economic position of Pakistan is incompatible with its economic potential. It has wide range of natural resources encompassing, reserves for chemical, industrial, and textile businesses. It also possesses prevalent network of rivers i.e. support for agro-production and huge potential of hydroelectric energy generation. As well as, it has opulent mountainous ranges containing precious minerals like copper, gold, granite etc. Above and beyond, the country is rich in other economic ignitors like agro-industry, livestock, construction industry, tourism, and small manufacturing industries. Despite such huge economic capability and ingenious global-market-penetration capacity, the country still fails to turn its status as a developed economy.

Surely, one will eagerly strive to dig out the stumbling block that halts economic development in the country. Reason is apparent i.e. archaic, oblivious and biased policy mechanism, comprised of, obsolescent policy framework, egocentric political frat and inapt intervention of transnational entities in policy structure.

Policymaking fraternity in Pakistan seems inept at managing the crisis with prescience due to unawareness of modern-global policy making tools. They appear to be inexperienced in dealing with the colossal economic disorder because of frail strategic approach for resource management and lack of expertise to prioritize best choice during policy formulation. This incompetence, in policy machinery, paves the way for an unending jumble of economic crisis in the state. 

Moreover, the policies in Pakistan remained prey of vested interests of political leaders. The elected public representatives appear to be more focused on personal gains regardless of public welfare. So forth, the country’s political culture is transformed from serving people to tug of war for reigns of governance. This paradigm shift in political role of leaders created an environment of wandering competition between different political groups. On one hand certain political groups have joined together to jolt their common opponent through all possible gambits. On the other hand the latter try to revive its governance control by hook or crook. Resultantly, the economic affairs of the state are ruined by the unsympathetic leaders, who, deemed to fail in addressing the remedies to eradicate the current economic turmoil from the country.

Additionally, the transnational companies cause a severe threat to economic activity in Pakistan. They play a major role in downgrading the policy making process in the country. The companies influence the policy makers to drive the policies in their favor to boost their market share for retaining their decades-long monopoly in open market. This monopolized market structure minimizes the opportunity for new entrepreneurs and creates a gap in demand and supply of commodities. Resultantly, a market in-equilibrium appears in the country which further exaggerates the rise in prices and leave people with minimal choice of commodities.

Consequently, the above perils drowned the country into economic catastrophe. Foreign debt burden, imbalance of payments, high inflation rates, low production and depreciation of currency created a dilemma of muddle for financial institutions of the country. Most of the industries including automobile, textile, stock market, agricultural production and transportation are at the brink of fiasco. The incumbent government is looking feebly towards IMF for bailouts on hard conditions that further will increase debt burden on the ex-chequer of Pakistan. State bank reserves are declining swiftly. Consequently, tax burden on public commodities is increasing day by day. Simultaneously, consistent increase in dollar rate puts pressure on Pakistani rupee. Import of products like Mineral fuels including oil, electrical equipment, iron, steel, pharmaceuticals, Animal/vegetable fats, oils, waxes, plastics, plastic articles, organic chemicals, oil seeds, in short, each and every commodity of day to day utility has become more costly. Down to that an overall inflation is raising its head which further ignites poverty in the country. Moreover, hike in petroleum prices owing to twofold reason i.e. global price increase due to Russia-Ukraine War and IMF conditions to impose petroleum development levy, aggrandized heavy tolls on transportation, food industry and  other economic activities around the country.

 Thus, for a prosperous economic state, it is need of the hour to ponder over the above roots of the current economic turmoil and eradicate the menaces with prudence and efficient manner. Policy makers should adapt modern approaches while policy formulation. They should include most of the options with clarity and succinct way to remove all kinds of uncertainties and to prioritize the best one amongst the chosen ones for implementation. Politics should be for public service not for self-interests. Political groups should reevaluate their vision and endeavor for the country to make it a shining star in the galaxy of the world. Policy implementation should be equitable and equal. Intervention of transnational business groups and pressure groups in policy procedures should be condemned. Market competition must be supported through easy and doable policies for new entrepreneurs. So that, a healthy competition between the entities may be created to maintain market equilibrium and eradicate monopoly of fewer business units.  

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