IASbhai Daily Editorial Hunt | Redefining South Asian Region | UPSC
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EDITORIAL HUNT 94 :“Redefining South Asian Region | UPSC“
Swatahsiddha Sarkar is the Director of the Centre for Himalayan Studies, University of North Bengal, Darjeeling, West Bengal
In border claims, reimagining South Asia’s boundaries
In the backdrop of troublesome territorial assertions, the ‘entity’ needs to be rethought of as a region of regions
SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 2 : INDIA & ASIAN NATIONS RELATIONS
South Asia needs to be rethought, not as a region of states, but as a region of regions.. Critically Analyse-(GS 2/3)
- Current Political trends
- Patriotism vs Regionalism
- What is state centrism ?
- TRENDING DIPLOMACY : It is now gravitating towards a confrontational trend of popular politics.
- ADDRESSING STATECRAFT : It is pertinent to look at our South Asian mentalities as to how such disputes are “handled” rather than “addressed” within the given dispensation(usual requirement) of South Asian statecraft.
STATE AS SOLE ARBITER
- STATE CENTRIC POLITICS : One of the major problems of South Asian politics is that it has to flow from within a state-centric paradigm.
- STATE DEFINES NATION : It is the state that articulates, defines, and represents “national” interests in negotiations with other states.
- BOUNDARIES Experience suggests that states in South Asia consecrate political boundaries as the “natural” shield even in the arbitration of South Asian affairs.
- FASHIONABLE STATECRAFT : This “realist” fashion of statecraft happens when territorial boundaries are valued more than lives, livelihoods and the well-being of the people located at the edges of nation states.
- MISSING JINGOISM : “Patriotism” looms large as and when inter-state relationships are viewed through the statist lens, although “jingoism” might be missing.
- TERMINOLOGY BIASES : Basically, the term “region” seems to be a contested idea in a South Asian context as none of the South Asian states has ever recognised and respected the idea of regional identity .
- SOUTH ASIAN GROUPS : One must understand that South Asia is perhaps the most natural regional grouping of states around the world.
LIFE HERE IS FLUID
- SOUTH ASIAN LIFE : Essentially at the edges of the nation state, is bound to be fluid because the boundary, which confirms the territorial limits of a nation state, is at the same time the affirmed threshold of another nation state.
- LIVING AT THE EDGE : In a certain sense, the people living at the edges of nation states within South Asia do not actually belong to any of the two nation states.
- PLURAL DIFFERENCES : Inclusivity bring coherence to borderland ontology; they defy the logic of singular, unifying, exclusive identities that the nation states privilege.
IMPACT ON COOPERATION
- STATIST PARADIGM : Administrative treaties and tribunals represent them as spatial categories; but as lived spaces, they hardly fit into the protocols of a statist paradigm.
- CULTURAL BONDS : This is crucial especially when we know that as countries, both India and Nepal not only share cultural and civilisational backgrounds but also an “officially” recognised porous border.
- ENDANGERED FUTURE : They are going to endanger the future of other regional experiments such as the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) or the Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal (BBIN) sub-regional initiative.
- REALISING TOLERANCE : There is every likelihood that South Asian countries would remain busy in making tall claims of regional cooperation while closing all doors of mutual tolerance.
- REALPOLITIK : Region and regional identity are not just issues of “realpolitik” in South Asia; rather, the need is to “officially” accommodate this rather naturally drafted way of doing politics, if we are genuinely concerned about South Asian geopolitics.
SOURCES: THE HINDU EDITORIAL | Redefining South Asian Region | UPSC