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Changing the security environ

The Centre for Security Analysis will be inaugurated on August 7 in Chennai, to bring the region's security needs in military and non-traditional spheres into the national and global mainstream, writes VISA RAVINDRAN.


The interdependence of economics, society, politics and military security is the key to national security in the 21st Century.

"What boots it at one gate to make defence,

And at another to let in the foe?"

John Milton — Samson Agonistes

AT the commencement of the 21st Century we stand on the threshold of what futurologists termed the Powershift Era, when change is swift and complex, knowledge replaces "the mindless fist," communication technology has catapulted us into a 24-hour society that never sleeps, and a globalised planet with transnational boundaries makes us at once interdependent and wary of each other.

Threat perceptions also change, transcending mere defence of territory to identifying other areas of conflict within nations that could explode into threats to human security. The idea of non-traditional or comprehensive security has begun to be widely accepted and the importance of deterring existing threats and preventing new threats has been well recognised.

The tradition of independent think tanks and policy analysis groups in the field of non-traditional security is of very recent origin in India with the result that State and Central governments have formulated, implemented and rationalised polices without the public being provided alternate policy options.

Analysis has been mainly done by the media, and with the few think tanks that do exist being closely linked to the Government through financial and personnel policies, alternate policy analysis and choices have rarely received extramural inputs from public discourse. An article in the Military Review by three analysts of the Foreign Military Studies Office (FMSO) says that military planners must now consider various "ill-defined dangers" which are "shaping and defining security environments worldwide." The article

(www.cgsc.army.mil/milrev/englishmayjun97/

turbivil.htm) identifies technological developments as changing the very nature of war (RMA: revolution in military affairs first used in the Gulf War — Operation Desert Storm) and responses to this being influenced by the opinion that general nuclear war in the post-cold war scenario is extremely unlikely.

Tectonic shifts in regional balances, new conflict dynamics among civilisations and new environmental and ecological changes, insurgencies and separatist movements supported by drug trafficking or other crimes, heavily-armed criminal gangs and paramilitaries assuming control over substantial areas or enterprises, illegal immigration and threats to the integrity of national borders, arms trafficking and illegal trade in strategic materials, severe industrial and natural disasters, environmental damage, famine and public health threats are mentioned as some of the elements disturbing the stability of nations in future battlefields, "global in nature and non-nuclear in threat."

Some well-known think tanks are the Kettering Foundation in the U.S., a non-profit corporation and research foundation that devises and tests strategies that will strengthen the role of citizens in governing themselves, the Progress and Freedom Foundation that studies the use of digital technologies by government and commerce and whose Aspen Summit focuses annually on "the big picture" regarding these issues and attracts leading commentators, policy experts and policy makers like Peter Huber and Alvin Toffler. The John Glenn Institute for Public Service and Public Policy seeks to engage students in high quality public service and dissemination of "pragmatic policy research", while the Japanese National Institute for Public Service and Public Policy is an independent policy research institute aiming to find answers, through research, to various complex issues facing contemporary society.

Since there are few think tanks in India, most of them in Delhi, and government-funded, the need to create and sustain a policy analysis group in another part of India was keenly felt. Since Southern India's contribution to the country's economic, social, cultural and political fields is of a high order but its participation in the security discourse of the nation marginal, it has been decided to locate the Centre for Security Analysis (CSA) in Chennai to bring the region's security needs in military and non-traditional spheres into the national and global mainstream.

The Centre will create awareness of security issues, develop security perspectives from the southern region, encourage and build capacity through fellowships to carefully-selected individuals and evolve through Round Table meetings, seminars, workshops, research publications and guest lectures, a tradition of public awareness on security issues. The CSA will be the focal point for this work in the southern region comprising Tamil Nadu, Pondicherry, Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. It is now a registered NGO and will be inaugurated by the Governor on August 7 this year.

The globalisation process coupled with the primacy of economic security lends urgency to the need to synchronise the economics of security and the security of economics and optimise sustainable development, investments and security with a human face. The interdependence of the economic, societal, environmental and political components of non-traditional with traditional military security is the key to national security in the 21st Century.

As the non-traditional security concerns of peninsular India are linked to the South and Southeast Asian regions, CSA will provide a platform to bring together scholars and security studies institutions in India and the South and Southeast Asian regions in wide-ranging, common security discourse analysis. CSA will highlight the multi-level and multi-dimensional interplay of security themes including areas like human security, pluralism, diversity, and gender perspectives in conflicts, transactional dimensions of terrorism, environmental issues and the impact of migration and refugees on security with an eye to elaborate and emphasise through research and analysis, their impact on the State, society and security policy.

Lieutenant Gen. (retd.) V.R. Raghavan, Director Delhi Policy Group, New Delhi and former director-general of military operations, Mr. M.K. Narayanan, Director, ECASPIL, Chennai and former director, Intelligence Bureau, and a group of seven others including academics, journalists, lawyers, media and gender studies specialists and a scientist are the founding members of this Chennai centre which, it is hoped, will grow into an active and influential nucleus for the articulation of India's total security concerns and its integration into the global mainstream.

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