- NBR - The National Bureau of Asian Research

Nontraditional Regional Security Architecture for South Asia

South Asia today possesses all the ingredients for a potential geopolitical nightmare. State failure in any one of the region’s most vulnerable countries could prove potentially devastating for stability in the region as a whole. Agreement on traditional security concerns is often hampered by conflicting domestic political and foreign policy priorities of South Asian states. However, there are emerging nontraditional security issues in South Asia that are of common concern to countries across the region. The 21st century is wrought with such “nontraditional” challenges as looming food and water resource crises, the often devastating environmental impacts of climate change, and the threat of pandemic diseases that cut across geographic boundaries. All of these, as witnessed in recent years, have an immediate human impact on South Asian countries, with implications for both future domestic and regional stability. Calamities in any one of these areas bear the very real potential to exacerbate conditions contributing to traditional security threats in the region.

Developing effective mechanisms in the near term for regional cooperation on nontraditional security issues may yield dividends in the long term toward resolving some of South Asia’s long-standing traditional security problems. Under the aegis of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s Asia Security Initiative, NBR is organizing a three year project that will examine opportunities for cooperation on shared nontraditional security concerns as potential building blocks toward developing a viable regional security architecture for South Asia. NBR is leveraging its expertise in alternative futures methodologies for this initiative. Through this approach NBR will inform the policy community with innovative research as well as enhance regional capacity building.


For more information, please contact:

Mahin Karim
Senior Associate, Political and Security Affairs

The Future of South Asian Security: Prospects for a Nontraditional Regional Security Architecture

Mahin Karim (NBR) summarizes key findings and insights from NBR’s three-year project on a “Nontraditional Regional Security Architecture for South Asia.” She examines the nontraditional challenges confronting South Asia and considers opportunities to build a viable regional architecture through cooperation on nontraditional security.

Health Security Challenges in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh

Although Sri Lanka and Bangladesh have achieved public health successes in the last few decades, such as increasing life expectancy and curbing the spread of communicable diseases, several new threats to health security have emerged. A new report examines these health challenges and evaluates their political, economic, and social implications.

Nontraditional Security Challenges in Nepal

Nepal is now redefining itself as a democratic federal republic, following 60 years of phenomenal change. This report examines nontraditional security challenges confronting the country and assesses the implications for the country’s political future, social policies, and overall security in the region.

2011 Phase 3 Workshop: South Asia Regional Security 2025: From Idea to Reality?

NBR convened the third phase workshop “South Asia Regional Security 2025: From Idea to Reality?” on November 8, 2011, in New Delhi, India.

Nontraditional Security Challenges in India: Human Security and Disaster Management

The common nontraditional security threats faced by South Asian states offer India the opportunity to play a leadership role in promoting regional cooperation to enhance the security not only of India but of the entire region. This report examines the present and future challenges to India’s human security as well the disaster management challenges in India.

Nontraditional Security Threats in Pakistan

Pakistan’s most significant nontraditional security challenges, including climate change, increasing population and urbanization, food security, and water security, are examined in this new report by Ali Tauqeer Sheikh, CEO of Leadership for Environment and Development (LEAD) in Pakistan.

Ecological and Nontraditional Security Challenges in South Asia

How do nontraditional security threats in South Asia challenge existing conventional military strategies? Authors of this new report argue that crises such as global climate change and resulting demographic shifts demonstrate that attention must be shifted toward food security, global health, and environmental protection not only for South Asia, but for China, as well.

2010 Phase 2 Workshop: Nontraditional Security Challenges and Opportunities for Cooperation: South Asia – 2025

NBR convened the second phase workshop “Non-Traditional Security Challenges and Opportunities for Cooperation: South Asia 2025” from December 13-14, 2010, in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

2009 Phase 1 Workshop: Nontraditional Security Challenges in South Asia – 2025

NBR successfully launched the project with a first-phase workshop exploring "Non-Traditional Security Challenges in South Asia: 2025" on November 20-22, 2009, in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Read more about the workshop and its agenda.