The Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, India’s oldest and premier think tank, is hosting the 14th Asian Security Conference on ‘Non-Traditional Security Challenges - Today and Tomorrow’, on February 13-15, 2012, in New Delhi. Over the last few decades, the global security setting has undergone a vast change with the emergence of new threats. Challenges such as the devastating environmental shocks of climate change and its impact on food, water and energy resources, which in turn has implications on the economy of nations, migration, threat of pandemic diseases that cut across political boundaries, trans-national crime, regional and global financial crises were recognised as critical issues with repercussions on national, regional and global security having immediate and long term impacts. Given their potential to exacerbate existing tensions, they have the potential to contribute to traditional security threats. Hence, a blurring of the lines between what constitutes traditional security issues as represented by military concepts and those that are non-military by definition. With emerging challenges to the very survival and well-being of people, groups and states have taken place. Non-traditional security issues are being perceived as critical to national and global security as are war and armed conflict; WMD proliferation and arms race and are being accorded increasing prominence on the policy and research agendas of governments, NGOs, academicians as well as business and international organisations. They are often trans-national in scope, defy unilateral remedies and require comprehensive political, economic and social responses.
The conference has been divided into six sub-themes wherein experts will debate and discuss issues in these emerging security challenges in the non-traditional security area:
This session will discuss what separates traditional from non-traditional security threats and whether a blurring of the lines between traditional, military-based security challenges and non-military, but equally relevant to security issues is taking place. If so, should the approach templates be different and if so, how?
Over the last decade, climate change has emerged from scientific or academic ivory towers and is now being accepted as the single greatest challenge related to human security, energy, economics, health and safety, food production and other security issues impacting directly on the economies of nations. Despite nations taking cognizance of such disasters, the making of effective disaster management policies, which encompass relief, prompt response measures as well as prevention of the same have been slow and require urgent planning and implementation. The panelists will address challenges emanating from climate related issues and will attempt to reach collective response at the regional level.
Through the centuries, the mighty rivers have sustained the lives and livelihood of people in Asia. The combined effects of global warming and weather patterns are expected to lead to set of global warming and weather patters are expected to lead to a set of interconnected calamities. Asia will be particularly vulnerable due to the “exponential function” of rapidly increasing population, growing food demand and dependency on water for irrigation and energy. With the increasing importance of trans-boundary rivers, hydro-diplomacy can be seen as a new framework for regional cooperation, with opportunities for dialogue, consultation and data-sharing both between and within states. On the other hand, control of water can also lead to hydro-hegemony and dominance. The session will explore the dynamics of upstream-downstream rivalry, whether upstream riparians can assert hydro-hegemony and how a comprehensive trans-boundary river water dialogue be structured.
The world has recently been rocked by a series of international and regional events, such as the Fukushima disaster and the Arab Spring that have implications for the world’s energy security. Moreover, lack of timely investment in supply augmentation and massive growth in demand in developing countries along with the threat of resource nationalism have all increased concerns about the long-term security of energy supply for import-dependent states on volatile energy-producing states. Without adequate and affordable supplies of energy resources, attempts to re-emerge quickly from the recent economic recession may also be jeopardised. It is therefore imperative that long-lasting solutions, including access to new and emerging technology across the board, are sought and implemented. The session will examine among others new and emerging challenges in energy security, particularly with reference to the Asian countries, whether technology can resolve the energy dilemma or will it throw up new challenges, and how can Asian countries cooperate in ensuring energy security for the region.
In the face of climate change, rapid increasing populations, water scarcity, soil erosion and the search for energy independence which is converting land hitherto used for the production of food grains to growing fuels are increasing the stresses on the global food system. Though there have been some rather exceptional success stories in Asia and the Asian experience is held up as an example of food security progress from which other regions can gain lessons, some pervasive conditions of under-nourishment continue to plague individuals and communities in pockets throughout the region. The session will look at the determining factors of food insecurity vis-à-vis economic instability, and discuss whether a multilateral approach is viable to address food security issues.
Prior to the Cold War, trans-national crime seen largely as a law and order problem. However, globalization and its associated processes of connectivity have resulted in significant changes in the business of trans-national crime with criminal syndicates adopting more sophisticated methods in conducting their illicit activities, which includes money laundering, drug trafficking, illegal migration, international terrorism, piracy, smuggling etc. Today, no country is exempted from the threat of trans-national crimes and it is posing a serious threat to national and international security and stability, challenging the authority of states by undermining development and victimizing the entire population. The session will look at the impact of globalization on the transformation in the nature of trans-national crimes and the impact of trans-national crimes on regional and national security and discuss whether a cooperative approach can be adopted by the Asian Countries to address trans-national issues.
The advent of globalization has ushered in global inter-dependence where all major powers and their economies are integrated as never before. Unlike the past, every major economy today is dependent on economic and political engagement with the outside world for its continued development and prosperity. However, individual nations may have very different priorities such as what regulations are needed to monitor and stabilise the current Western-dominated financial system and what is the role of global institutions in creating these regulations, given that it is mainly the Asian economies that are increasingly seen as invaluable for sustaining global economic growth, and for the management of regional and global economic and security challenges. The current global climate presents an opportunity for Asian nations to work together with the rest of the world and have a greater say in institutions like the IMF and the World Bank. The session will discuss whether the time has come for the old order to pass the baton to emerging nations, how and whether the global financial system can prevent new crises from occurring and how a new and just roadmap for a new global financial order/system be ushered in.