Redefining South Asian Region | UPSC

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IASbhai Daily Editorial Hunt | Redefining South Asian Region | UPSC

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Dear Aspirants
IASbhai Editorial Hunt is an initiative to dilute major Editorials of leading Newspapers in India which are most relevant to UPSC preparation –‘THE HINDU, LIVEMINT , INDIAN EXPRESS’ and help millions of readers who find difficulty in answer writing and making notes everyday. Here we choose two editorials on daily basis and analyse them with respect to UPSC MAINS 2020.

EDITORIAL HUNT 94 :“Redefining South Asian Region | UPSC

Redefining South Asian Region | UPSC

Swatahsiddha Sarkar

Swatahsiddha Sarkar is the Director of the Centre for Himalayan Studies, University of North Bengal, Darjeeling, West Bengal

      HEADLINES:

In border claims, reimagining South Asia’s boundaries

      CENTRAL THEME:

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

      MAINS QUESTION:

South Asia needs to be rethought, not as a region of states, but as a region of regions.. Critically Analyse-(GS 2/3)

      LEARNING: 

  • Current Political trends
  • Patriotism vs Regionalism
  • What is state centrism ?

      INTRODUCTION: 

Even during this period of social distancing and public lockdown, claims and counterclaims over territories in and around the Kalapani region has embroiled India and Nepal in a political debate.

  • 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.

      BODY: 

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-CENTRISM : within the assumption of a South Asia, has given the state structure the propriety to be the sole arbiter of disputes, if any, among communities and regions falling within the territorial limits of nation states.

  • 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.

CONTESTED IDEA

  • 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.

  Or in other words, they belong to both the states at the same time.#(INDIA-NEPAL)

  • PLURAL DIFFERENCES  : Inclusivity bring coherence to borderland ontology; they defy the logic of singular, unifying, exclusive identities that the nation states privilege.

      IASbhai Windup: 

IMPACT ON COOPERATION

  •  STATIST PARADIGMAdministrative 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.

  REGIONAL CO-OPERATION : South Asian states need to realise the difference between “regional cooperation” merely as advocacy and as an issue that demands self-approval and self-promotion.

  • 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

 

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