Emerging Non-Traditional Threats And Challenges In South Asia – OpEd


With the end of the Cold War threats to national security have become increasingly non-military in nature. Issues such as climate change, resource scarcity, infectious diseases, natural disasters, irregular migration, drug trafficking, information security and transnational crime have come to the forefront.

Following the end of the Cold War, there has been a change in how “security” is understood, leading to the acceptance of non-military, or “non-traditional,” security concerns. A wide range of issues affecting human security fall under the umbrella of non-traditional security (NTS). One definition cannot encompass all the facets of the term “security” in international relations due to its tremendous diversity. The idea of security has expanded beyond its original scope as a result of terrorisms, self-determination and proxy conflicts.

Moreover, Baldwin stats that states have started to pay attention to the foremost dangers other than only conventional and military advancement, such as those posed by poverty, commerce, the economy, human rights, and the environment. Security means being shielded from all threats, whether they are internal or external. State chooses to enhance their power in order to combat the threats posed by current security measures because they feel frightened of them. The escalation in non-traditional are increasing in South Asia rapidly, international community recently witnessed major flash floods that severely affected different parts of Pakistan and India. 

Certainly, South Asia, the home to one fifth of humanity is endowed with abundant natural resources. However, like other developing world, it has so far failed to realize its full potential. In recent years, a significant economic growth has been witnessed in the region especially in India. Nevertheless, even this economic development remained unable to alleviate poverty, diseases, environmental hazards, and unemployment, mainly due to existence of both traditional as well as and non-traditional security threats, which consume major chunk of the limited regional resources. While the political stakes are very high in case of traditional security issues, non-traditional security problems could be resolved through cooperative efforts without encumbering the political and historical baggage. Unfortunately, Pakistan still faces economic challenges and poor infrastructure that resulted mass destructions of damn in province Balochistan few months back. Certain remedies would be beneficial if initiative are conceded by any South Asian state from future non-traditional hazards. 

Firstly, The South Asian region has been going through a string of crises brought on by natural disasters as a result of climate change. For instance, in 2004, a sizable tsunami and a series of earthquakes devastated the Indian Ocean’s coastal region. A few years later, in 2007, Cyclone Sidr wreaked havoc on Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Sri Lanka. In 2020, Cyclone Amphan triggered one of the highest numbers of natural disaster-related emigrations across the world, uprooting around to 5 million people from their homes in Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, and Bhutan. Economic losses and numerous casualties are the results of these catastrophes. Inadequate early warning systems and inefficient post-disaster interventions frequently make the effects worse.

Additionally, the frequency of migration brought on by climate change is rising. The World Bank estimated that by 2050, due to climate change, approximately 140 million individuals would have left their home nations. Migration brought on by climate change not only intensifies tensions and disparities but also affects people’s ability to access basic services like healthcare and education. In actuality, Bangladesh has experienced significant relocation. 860,000 of the 1 million displaced Rohingyas and asylum seekers in several neighbouring countries are in Bangladesh alone, according to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR). Pakistan has also suffered from climate change, on 24 of Aug 2022, disastrous floods of this year serve as a reminder that climate change-related calamities might seriously hamper Pakistan’s development. On November 10, 2022, in Islamabad the extreme heat wave and destructive floods of this year serve as a stark warning that natural disasters brought on by climate change have the potential to seriously hamper Pakistan’s struggling economy, development goals and efforts to fight poverty. More than 8 million people have been left homeless over 1,700 individuals have died as a result of these natural calamities.

Secondly, Southeast Asia remains a hub for the illicit drug gang that controls the Golden Triangle, which is regarded as the second-largest drug-producing region in the world and the top producer of opium. According to the UN, the area under poppy cultivation in Myanmar has increased by three times since 2006 and now measures 150,000 acres (60,703 hectares). Although Myanmar’s economy has expanded to some extent, no major development projects have reached the country’s outlying areas, therefore lucrative industries like poppy growing have persisted. For instance, Vietnam, which has some of the strictest drug prohibitions in the world, serves as a major transit point for heroin and methamphetamine. People are switching from using heroin to amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS), which are smuggled and trafficked from the borders of the Golden Triangle, in nations like China, Korea, and Japan as well as the ASEAN nations.

Thirdly, because of the rise in extremism and terrorist activity, the South Asian region is currently under severe security threat. The paradoxes that result from bad national policies might be connected to the politics of violence and extremist trends in South Asia.

The current problem has been largely caused by the state’s nature and political economy. The interests of a coalition of classes and ethnic groups frequently guide how the South Asian states operate, which has an impact on their development strategies and resource allocation. One of the main reasons for violence in the region is the pace, nature, and dynamics of South Asia’s unequal growth patterns. In addition to these South Asian republics’ failure to modernize, political culture has fostered ethnic solidarity and affiliation with religion and culture. The already unstable situation has taken a dangerous turn as a result of interference by external powers and neighbouring and intraregional entities.

Undoubtedly, the South Asia region faces a variety of non-traditional threats. These threats are taking place by poor political. States could overcome with mutual cooperation and a thorough strategy. The United Nations, partner nations, and all of the SAARC members must be included in a regional strategy that South Asian leaders create to deal with the non-traditional danger. Such a plan might consist of. Issues ought to be represented, and answers ought to be pursued with courage. Threats may be reduced and the region will be stable when South Asian nations come together and work together.

Sughra Jan Muhammad graduated from University of Balochistan, Quetta, in the department of International Relations. Her area of expertise covers traditional non traditional affairs of South Asia.

Sughra Jan Muhammad

Sughra Jan Muhammad graduated from the University of Balochistan, Quetta, in the Department of International Relations.

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