Perspectives on South Asian Security

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This paper probes into various economic and historical perspectives of rice economy and culture in this region, and shows that self-sufficiency in rice production is paramount to its domestic food security, and thereby proposes that emphasis should be given on increased rice production which is decelerating amid the upsurge of modern economic sectors.

Despite unprecedented economic progresses in past three decades, millions of people remain food-insecure. The Green Revolution has immensely influenced various aspects of food security in India, tripling its food grain production between and [ 1 ] and thus halving the percentages of food insecurity and poverty.

South Asian Security: International Context

This book is a collection of speeches and lectures delivered by political luminaries, practitioners and noted scholars on South Asian security at the Institute of. Editorial Reviews. From the Inside Flap. This book is a collection of speeches and lectures Perspectives on South Asian Security Kindle Edition. by Shanthie .

According to the World Food Summit , food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life. And thus achieving self-sufficiency in rice production is an effective way to promote national level food security. Indeed, this analysis considers the many supporting facts. Firstly, the countries in this region share significant similarities in terms of livelihood, diet, culture, lifestyle and socio-economic status and are characterized by widespread poverty, undernutrition and low literacy rate.

Thus, it assumes implementation of a somewhat identical measure to face an issue as local and as global as food insecurity. Secondly, it is a developing region and the economy is chiefly agrarian. No other sector of the economy is likely to bring a sustainable level of food security for the fast growing population as effectively as the rice industry is doing at present. Last but not least, natural disasters, political corruption, malgovernance and transnational crime are rife in South Asia and continue to cripple development issues and opportunities.

No significant interventions are possible in such cases to ameliorate the condition of food security, irrespective of production status. This study focuses on five South Asian countries including India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Pakistan and main data sources are from their ministries of agriculture. The reason why India and Bangladesh appear more frequently in the analysis is mainly because they rank among top five global producers and the two largest producers and consumers of rice in South Asia, and also because their rice consumption plays a vital role in the rice economy of South Asia and the whole world.

Shows that India is the major exporter of rice in South Asia selling about 98 million tons in Pakistan is the only other exporting country but the volume is much lower compared to India. Source: United States Department of Agriculture [ 12 ]. Shows the trend of rice import by Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka. Bangladesh is highly dependent on import from others countries and the biggest importer of rice in South Asia.

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India and Pakistan are the only two self-sufficient countries in rice in the region. For Nepal, agriculture has the biggest share in total GDP comparing to the other four countries but shows that contribution of rice to GDP is comparatively lower. Shows the percentage share of rice in total agricultural output in three different regions of the world. Share of rice is on the decline since butit is still the chief agricultural product in Southeast and South Asia. Shows that Bangladesh has been the highest rice yielding nation since in South Asia. All the countries except India have shown an increasing yield since while Bangladesh has undergone a sharp decline.


Many micronutrient supplementation projects have been carried out, but to no avail. Inadequate calorie intake hampers proper micronutrient metabolism. Though dependence on rice on the scale seen in South Asia is nutritionally undesirable, it is also true that rice is still the most affordable way for these people to maintain a sustainable calorie intake. Trend of per capita rice consumption. Nepal and Sri Lanka show a similar rice-eating habit.

Southeast Asian Perspectives on Security

India, being the largest exporter is the fourth largest rice consuming nation in South Asia. Pakistan is the country least dependent on rice as wheat is the staple food for most of its population. The population in South Asia is predicted to exceed six billion by the end of the century and may face a severe food shortage unless production can keep pace with the increased demand.

Also, there are many crucial problems including water scarcity, decreasing size of agricultural land, inadequacy of agrochemicals, power shortage and poor infrastructure. Yet there is a ray of hope shed on the future of rice by biotechnology which ensures greater productivity.

Additionally, subcontinental soil is suitable for rice and production per unit of land is considerable. However, the demand for food is only rising and is being met by constantly diminishing resources. To boost production, increasing amounts of fertilizer and pesticide are being used and aggravating environmental and ecological problems. Thus the need for a sustainable intervention to these urgencies necessitates innovation in rice technology and development of varieties which are not only high yielding but also can be produced in more eco-friendly ways.

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The development of high yielding varieties HYVs and bio-fortified, disease-, insect-, flood-, drought-, saline-, herbicide- and stress-resistant rice has opened a new era in the history of rice and will boost rice production in near future. Genetic engineering has offered rice cultivars resistant to herbicide, salinity and drought.

Malnutrition, being a widespread problem in this region, requires an immediate intervention which may be very effectively addressed by bio-fortified rice. Rice bio-fortified with iron and zinc can protect against certain deficiency diseases and people who have no access to commercially marketed fortified foods and supplements will greatly benefit from it. The Chinese infrastructure investments and security cooperation in the region have fostered apprehensions in India about encirclement by China. India seems to be caught in a catch in South Asia.

On the one hand, the religious, linguistic, and ethnic ties bind India with the region. On the other hand, those ties separate India from its neighbors with regard to nation-building.

Such structural links, and their effects, are difficult to address. Hence, India will hardly be able to overcome resentments in the neighboring countries and to counter the advantages that China enjoys in many South Asia countries in politics, economics, and security. In the regional context, both countries are cooperating on initiatives like the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar corridor BCIM , and China has also promised to make large scale infrastructure investment in India. But these joint collaborations should not obscure the fact that India is structurally in a weaker position in South Asia compared to China.

But it remains an open question how far the growing dependence on China will be a better deal for South Asian countries in the long term perspective. Free Download: PDF. However, nothing of the sort happened, worst, the region was prey to several wars. In the meantime, the dominant state narrative developed on the basis of ultra-nationalism, which was a populist tool used to drive the larger populace.

South Asian Security: International Context

You have often made an appeal for a federal South Asia, through a process that would not be top-down, and would come from the local scale. How do you think this could happen in practice without the participation of states, given the obstacles to direct contact between people? Does it mean that South Asian regionalism is mainly a question of scale? To begin with, a federally devolved India and Pakistan will benefit the far-flung people of these two countries, which in my view cannot countenance a centralized state administration in the long term.

Changing South Asian Security Dynamics: Mr. Shahab E. Khan

This will also help to tackle the asymmetry in Southasian regionalism created by the size of India, in terms of population, land area, economic and geopolitical power, and geographical centrality. Going down a by-lane in Peshawar or Indore, to be hit by the aroma of the same spices, to find the similar dirt and distress, perhaps can also be described as similar sensibilities. How all this translates in the relationships between individuals and communities is the display of empathy, the ability to look at issues from the point of view of the other protagonist.

Are there symbolic icons in the construction of South Asia? What seems to you to operate as cementing vectors? Could you tell us more about this? We should understand the penumbra of identities where the various sub-regional entities meet. We should think of people at the local government level as contributing to the Southasian sensibility. Amidst all this, we should also mark the divide or differentiation between Northern Southasia and Southern Southasia.

The north is where the wars are fought. North Southasia is where there is need for more Southasian sensibility than South Southasia. Do you see any major differences between activists from different countries that contribute to the emergence of Southasianism?

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What are the main obstacles to their actions? What is missing is Southasian scholarship to back up the activists, and we therefore spend a lot of time trying to build Southasian regionalism through the SAARC formula, but with limited success. I would add that the average activist in India may have a Southasian sensibility but does not need to act on it as much, because India is already large enough to encompass much of Southasia as a region—the visceral need of the Southasian for regionalism as a link to shared history, demographic diversity and geographic spread is more easily available to the average citizen of the Indian nation-state.