South Asia Forum alumni re-kindle ties seven years on
8 September, 2011
At the close of the 2004 South Asia Forum, participants promised to stay in touch with one another; not often an easy task given their busy schedules. Seven years on though, they are in touch with updates on their work since their initial meeting.
South Asia Forum IV: the new security agenda in South Asia
Monday 5 – Thursday 8 July 2004 (WPS04-10)
From 2001, we ran four annual South Asian fora for ‘high-flying’ South Asians under 40. The fora had strong participation from both India and Pakistan, at a time when formal relations between the two countries were particularly strained. Discussing issues of common interest in a neutral environment helped develop mutual understanding, diminish suspicion, and promote personal links and ideas on future collaboration.
The 2004 forum’s security focus involved sessions ranging from transborder drug trafficking to regional energy cooperation. The comprehensive programme concluded with a discussion on advancing policies in human security.
Participants felt that the lack of political will had led to South Asian governments losing many opportunities, and continue to do so, by not working together to provide a better life for their citizens. The full report is available.
While the forum for younger generation South Asians ended in 2004, we have a continuing interest in South Asian issues. Later that year we discussed ‘What are the prospects for promoting South Asian regional economic cooperation?’ (WP 762), held in cooperation with the South Asia Centre for Policy Studies, Dhaka. During the pre-election period in Bangladesh in June 2008, we focused on ‘Bangladesh: the prospects and means of strengthening democracy’. A series of conferences have taken place on Afghanistan, and continue to date, including: ‘Afghanistan: after Bonn’ (S05/28) in May 2005; The Afghanistan Compact: one year on (WP 849) in March 2007; ‘Winning ‘hearts and minds’ in Afghanistan: assessing the effectiveness of development aid in COIN operations’ (WP 1022) in March 2010 and ‘Afghanistan 2015: options for the international civil-military presence and transition process’ (WP 1119) in June 2011.
The situation in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas was the focus of three annual events between 2008 and 2010: Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas: towards a more coordinated policy approach in November 2008; Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas: what governance structures are needed and how can these best be underpinned?’ in October 2009; and Advancing policy implementation in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Agencies in October 2010.