Regional Security Implications

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  • Shiv P. Yadav asked: Naxals have created a Red Corridor, a narrow but contiguous strip passing through Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Odisha. What are its security implications?

    Vivek Chadha replies: The term “red corridor” has been in usage for some time both within the media and security circles. In fact, there was a time when the Naxal influence was seen to be spreading from “Tirupati to Pashupati”. This indicated its likely spread between the two famous temples in South India and Nepal. This was at the peak of the Maoist movement in Nepal. However, as events proved, this was an exaggeration of the nature of threat. Similarly, the very concept of a “red corridor” is also an over simplification of the real threat of the Maoist challenge. The critically affected areas of the Maoist influence represent approximately 30-32 districts. Most of this falls in the Dandakaranya which include areas of Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh. This further includes the core area of Abhujmad (See the map given below).

    The security implications of this are:

    • The area straddles different states thereby giving the Maoists a distinct advantage.
    • The Maoists understand that interstate boundaries are fissures which can be exploited given poor coordination between state police forces.
    • The area is heavily forested and has a weak communication infrastructure which enables free movement of Maoists.
    • Pressure in one state allows easy movement into another.
    • There is little influence of routine administration in the area, which allows the Maoists to run their camps, collect taxes, extort money and conduct a virtual parallel government.
    • Differences in policies of state governments to include surrenders, talks and policing strategy are exploited by the Maoists.

    Jitender Singh asked: How can environmental issues have security implications?

    P.K. Gautam replies: The “environment” comprises all entities, natural or man made, external to oneself, and their interrelationship, which provide value, now or perhaps in the future, to humankind. Environmental concerns relate to their degradation through actions of humans. Hence, there is a need to revisit the classic and traditional definition of security in the contemporary world, i.e., the standard answers to questions, such as security for whom, security from what, and who provides security. For example, water/food shortages, droughts, climate change related extreme weather events, and pandemics, cannot be prevented by guns, aircrafts, ships and tanks. Added to it now is the human security dimension beyond just the security of a state.

    A future with rising expectations and populations will strain the ecosystem and natural resources. The UN Secretary General’s High level Panel on Global Sustainability in its report, Resilient People, Resilient Planet: A Future Worth Choosing, released in January 2012, stated that by 2030: “for a population of nine billion - the world may need 50 per cent more food, 45 per cent more energy and 30 per cent more water”. It suggests that there is a need for a new political economy, there is a need to eradicate poverty, reduce inequality and promote inclusive growth, sustainable production and consumption, while combating climate change.

    The fifth edition of the UN Global Environmental Outlook (GEO-5), released prior to Rio+20 meeting in June 2012, “assessed 90 of the most important environmental goals and objectives and found that significant progress had only been made in four.” The UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner, speaking on the occasion, stated that, "if current trends continue, if current patterns of production and consumption of natural resources prevail and cannot be reversed and 'decoupled', then governments will preside over unprecedented levels of damage and degradation”.

    Summaries of resource conflict theories are available in SIPRI Yearbook 2011.  It is important to note that most of these issues are not securitised for then they may be more difficult to address as tools are mostly non-military.  Yet, environmental issues are among the main security concerns today. 

    Udhayan C C asked: What is wrong if India enters into a regional security pact with US, Japan and Australia?

    Shamshad Ahmad Khan replies: There is no problem if India enters into any strategic agreement with these countries. In fact India has signed various “strategic partnership agreements” with major democracies of the world including the US, Japan and Australia. However, these agreements are bilateral and not multilateral.

    Forging a multilateral security arrangement or pact is not on the agenda of Indian policy planners as they think that the countries outside this regional security arrangement might feel that such an arrangement may be aimed against them. This may lead to a security dilemma and will have negative implications for the regional security scenario.