Perspectives on South Asian Security

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Then by relating it to the current status and future potential, it proposes that reaching self-sufficiency in rice production is the paramount item on the food security agenda in this region. Yet, there has been a considerable improvement in food security steered by the Green Revolution, use of high-yielding rice varieties, increasing investments in agriculture, improved fertilizer use and irrigation infrastructure and the potential for further increase remains high.

Firstly this paper scrutinizes the role rice has been playing in the economy and food security of SouthAsia so far and that it is still the most potential means to improve the food security situation and tackle severe undernutrition as other sectors are, until now, far less furnished to address this issue. This paper probes into various economic and historical perspectives of rice economy and culture in this region, and shows that self-sufficiency in rice production is paramount to its domestic food security, and thereby proposes that emphasis should be given on increased rice production which is decelerating amid the upsurge of modern economic sectors.

Despite unprecedented economic progresses in past three decades, millions of people remain food-insecure. The Green Revolution has immensely influenced various aspects of food security in India, tripling its food grain production between and [ 1 ] and thus halving the percentages of food insecurity and poverty.

According to the World Food Summit , food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life. And thus achieving self-sufficiency in rice production is an effective way to promote national level food security. Indeed, this analysis considers the many supporting facts. Firstly, the countries in this region share significant similarities in terms of livelihood, diet, culture, lifestyle and socio-economic status and are characterized by widespread poverty, undernutrition and low literacy rate.

E. Sridharan

Thus, it assumes implementation of a somewhat identical measure to face an issue as local and as global as food insecurity. Secondly, it is a developing region and the economy is chiefly agrarian. No other sector of the economy is likely to bring a sustainable level of food security for the fast growing population as effectively as the rice industry is doing at present.

Last but not least, natural disasters, political corruption, malgovernance and transnational crime are rife in South Asia and continue to cripple development issues and opportunities.

Southeast Asian Perspectives on Security

No significant interventions are possible in such cases to ameliorate the condition of food security, irrespective of production status. This study focuses on five South Asian countries including India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Pakistan and main data sources are from their ministries of agriculture. The reason why India and Bangladesh appear more frequently in the analysis is mainly because they rank among top five global producers and the two largest producers and consumers of rice in South Asia, and also because their rice consumption plays a vital role in the rice economy of South Asia and the whole world.

Shows that India is the major exporter of rice in South Asia selling about 98 million tons in Pakistan is the only other exporting country but the volume is much lower compared to India. Source: United States Department of Agriculture [ 12 ]. Shows the trend of rice import by Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka. Bangladesh is highly dependent on import from others countries and the biggest importer of rice in South Asia. India and Pakistan are the only two self-sufficient countries in rice in the region. For Nepal, agriculture has the biggest share in total GDP comparing to the other four countries but shows that contribution of rice to GDP is comparatively lower.

Shows the percentage share of rice in total agricultural output in three different regions of the world. Share of rice is on the decline since butit is still the chief agricultural product in Southeast and South Asia. Shows that Bangladesh has been the highest rice yielding nation since in South Asia. All the countries except India have shown an increasing yield since while Bangladesh has undergone a sharp decline. Many micronutrient supplementation projects have been carried out, but to no avail.

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Inadequate calorie intake hampers proper micronutrient metabolism. Though dependence on rice on the scale seen in South Asia is nutritionally undesirable, it is also true that rice is still the most affordable way for these people to maintain a sustainable calorie intake. Trend of per capita rice consumption. Nepal and Sri Lanka show a similar rice-eating habit.

Self-sufficiency in rice and food security: a South Asian perspective

India, being the largest exporter is the fourth largest rice consuming nation in South Asia. Pakistan is the country least dependent on rice as wheat is the staple food for most of its population. The population in South Asia is predicted to exceed six billion by the end of the century and may face a severe food shortage unless production can keep pace with the increased demand. Also, there are many crucial problems including water scarcity, decreasing size of agricultural land, inadequacy of agrochemicals, power shortage and poor infrastructure.

Yet there is a ray of hope shed on the future of rice by biotechnology which ensures greater productivity. Additionally, subcontinental soil is suitable for rice and production per unit of land is considerable. However, the demand for food is only rising and is being met by constantly diminishing resources. To boost production, increasing amounts of fertilizer and pesticide are being used and aggravating environmental and ecological problems. Thus the need for a sustainable intervention to these urgencies necessitates innovation in rice technology and development of varieties which are not only high yielding but also can be produced in more eco-friendly ways.

The development of high yielding varieties HYVs and bio-fortified, disease-, insect-, flood-, drought-, saline-, herbicide- and stress-resistant rice has opened a new era in the history of rice and will boost rice production in near future. At that time, he helped bring four-colour printing to Nepal, and also joined the effort at archiving. He played a significant role in the development of press and media in Nepal in the years after the establishment of democracy in and also involved himself in the Nepali language media.

Subsequently, printing became an industry as many other presses followed his, enabling Nepal to no longer import from other countries—especially Thailand—to satisfy its printing needs, a critical factor during the period of political effervescence in the s.

South Asian Perspectives on the Think Tank Initiative

Dixit follows a family tradition as he comes from a clan of several generations of writers Dixit His last book, Peace Politics in Nepal , deals with issues related to the peace process in Nepal since , notably with regard to the writing of a new Constitution for the country, which is on-going. After almost 70 years of separation between the countries of South Asia, with borders mostly closed to the movement of people and commodities, not to mention recurrent conflicts between states, what is left of the heritage of what could be today South Asia?

When Partition broke the region apart in , most leaders did not believe that this would be so permanent, or at the very least thought that the borders would remain open. However, nothing of the sort happened, worst, the region was prey to several wars. In the meantime, the dominant state narrative developed on the basis of ultra-nationalism, which was a populist tool used to drive the larger populace. You have often made an appeal for a federal South Asia, through a process that would not be top-down, and would come from the local scale.

How do you think this could happen in practice without the participation of states, given the obstacles to direct contact between people? Does it mean that South Asian regionalism is mainly a question of scale? To begin with, a federally devolved India and Pakistan will benefit the far-flung people of these two countries, which in my view cannot countenance a centralized state administration in the long term.

This will also help to tackle the asymmetry in Southasian regionalism created by the size of India, in terms of population, land area, economic and geopolitical power, and geographical centrality. Going down a by-lane in Peshawar or Indore, to be hit by the aroma of the same spices, to find the similar dirt and distress, perhaps can also be described as similar sensibilities.

How all this translates in the relationships between individuals and communities is the display of empathy, the ability to look at issues from the point of view of the other protagonist. Are there symbolic icons in the construction of South Asia? What seems to you to operate as cementing vectors?

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