GRM 2010 GRM 2011

Abstract Details

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Security challenges in the Gulf and the Indian Ocean: the Case for an Asian Cooperative Security Alliance
Paper Proposal Text :
As the center of gravity of the global economy shifts eastwards, we are perhaps approaching a point in history when Asian countries—from the gates of Turkey, Central Asia/Eurasia, the Gulf countries, India and all the way to China, need to consider new ways to protect their vital economic lifelines. This might be possible by working out a new sectorial/ collective security arrangement that is in tune with Asia’s economic demands of trade, energy security and investments. Such a new engagement, can, however be articulated only by re-engineering the existing security architecture, where western/ American military presence and influence is preponderant. While the United States will continue to play a significant military role in Asia, it is our contention that such a role need no longer be overwhelming , in the context of the growing economic, financial and military resources available with the countries of the Asian continent themselves. The countries of the region are especially well-suited to keep open through collective security cooperation, the sea lanes of communication and land corridors that transit energy within the Asian landmass. A new pan-Asian security architecture may have to focus on ways to impart security along the recently reinvigorated trade corridors along the New Silk Road and the Sea Lanes of the Indian Ocean that serve the Asian continent.
Some of the areas in which the military cooperation among the countries of Asia is possible are the following:
a) Anti-piracy cooperation in the Indian Ocean.
b) Disaster management including environmental emergencies.
c) Protection of oil and gas tankers transiting across the Indian Ocean through Strait of Hormuz and the Malacca Straits.
d) Counter-terrorism through intelligence sharing.
e) Protection of oil and gas pipelines transiting from Caspian Sea/Central Asia along land corridors into China and possibly beyond.
f) An Asian outreach into trouble-spots in Afghanistan especially after the proposed American withdrawal from the country.
g) The potential and impediments of an expanded Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.
Keeping in view the domestic political sensitivities of the countries involved, collective military co-operation may emerge only if all the countries involved agree not to pursue an ideological agenda such as export of democracy to Asia, or interference in the internal affairs of each other.
Finally, bilateral disputes such the boundary question between India and China or tensions between Iran and the Gulf countries, would have to be collectively addressed by countries of Asia themselves, so that a climate of confidence and trust is built that naturally encourages greater military cooperation among the key principals. This may call for the establishment of a collective body by the countries involved where new ideas regarding politico/security/economic cooperation are institutionally explored so that greater realism is imparted to the powerful vision of a pan-Asian collective security architecture.