Monday, 12 January 2015

Supporting non state actors, Kamran James

Supporting non state actors, Kamran James

It is true that in “international relations there is no permanent friend or enemy; only national interest is supreme”. However, in the international state system it is equally important that states always use appropriate, internationally recognised, acceptable tools, tactics and strategies to achieve their national interests, objectives and goals. Their actions must be justified and legitimate, in accordance with international law. However, unfortunately, history shows that sometimes states have violated the sovereignty of others in the name of their own national interests or ideologies. Not only non-state actors but sometimes the attitudes, behaviours and acts of independent and sovereign states support and promote the non-state actors’ agenda and motives that usually destabilise regional security and international peace.

When these militant groups become very powerful they start dictating to the state’s machinery on domestic and foreign policy issues, undermining state institutions — rather hijacking — so as to promote their own agenda based on hatred, terrorism, extremism and fundamentalism. However, such a strategy is a potential threat to the international state system, unacceptable in international relations and against international law because it has dangerous and long-term consequences, of the kind the present world is facing.

An important aspect here is that nation states should not disturb the international political order. They should not be a destabilising factor in regional security or international peace because it will lead the international state system towards mutual destruction. No doubt, terrorists are the biggest threat to international peace and order. They are now using guerrilla tactics to paralyse the state machinery. They are targeting important strategic assets of different states and are even dreaming of overthrowing the current regimes of modern state systems that have modern, liberal democracies. They have gone so far as to threaten the world with nuclear attacks. Nation states having nuclear arms, instead of funding or training various so-called “friendly armed militant groups” or armed groups to fulfil their own so-called national agendas, should use diplomatic channels to normalise their relations and promote regional and international peace and security. Otherwise they will lead the civilised world towards complete destruction.

As a case study in the South Asian regional perspective, a strong, modern, democratic India and Pakistan is in the best interests of both the neighbouring nuclear states and will lead the South Asian region towards political stability, economic development and regional stability. No doubt, the UN and other international organisations are contributing in promoting international peace and security but, at the same time, several human rights violations in various parts of the world, especially in South Asia, remain a great challenge for the international community, the UN and other international human rights watchdogs.

Although India and Pakistan have long, outstanding disputes like Sir Creek, Siachen glacier, water disputes and the core issue of Kashmir that have yet to be settled, after 9/11, 7/11, the Madrid attack and Mumbai attacks, India and Pakistan should come closer to each other and initiate a dialogue process addressing the spectre of terrorism and extremism. Now both countries have to find ways in which to help, assist, guide and advise each other in sharing intelligence and how to evolve a counterterrorism mechanism and joint intelligence-led operations in South Asia to ensure their sovereign, independent status as members of the UN.

Now, both India and Pakistan should recognise that extremists or fundamentalists cannot serve their national interests or agendas and that they are the common enemies of both countries. Both nations should not let militants take over the peace process. It is time for India to realise that democratic Pakistan is surely in its best interests and the rest of the world. The blame game will not serve the interests of India in the region. Now it is the turn of India to start a positive and constructive dialogue process with Pakistan, especially in the changing international scenario.

Among the root causes of international terrorism and extremism are poverty, injustice, economic disparities and severe human rights violations in various parts of the world. Now, after 9/11, reconstruction and redesigning of international organisations, especially the UN, is vital for the solution of long standing issues like Kashmir and Palestine. It is true that after 9/11, 7/11, Madrid and Mumbai, international terrorist organisations are challenging the authority and legitimacy of nation states and using guerilla war tactics against an organised international state system because they cannot launch conventional war against the regular, organised standing armies of a recognised international state system. These militant groups are a serious threat to international peace and security

In the South Asian regional perspective, serious responsibility lies with two neighbouring nuclear states, India and Pakistan, to respect each other’s territorial borders and sovereign status for regional stability and for international peace and security. Only India and Pakistan can change the future discourse of South Asia.
The writer is an assistant professor in the department of Political Science, Forman Christian College
Daily Times, Lahore, Pakistan, January 13, 2015   

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