29th August 2019 18:36:18 Hours
“What the IS now does is to operate from where they are and they want their sympathizers to operate and resort to spread of their ideology without moving. On the other hand when you closely analyze their behavioural patterns since 2014 onwards, we see that they are turning to be a growing threat in the South Asian region,” so said Mr Niruthan Nilanthan, Visiting Research Fellow at the Bandaranaike Centre for International Studies (BCIS) contributing to the Session 1 Topic 3 on ‘South Asia Security Landscape’ in the ongoing Colombo ‘Defence Seminar - 2019’ at the Colombo BMICH.
Covering a wide range of concerns, particularly prevailing in the South Asian Region, he confined his area of concern to Geopolitical Factors (State rivalries, Territorial issues), Technological Factors (New domains of warfare, emerging technology), Environmental Factors (Climate change, food security), Non-State Actors (Terrorism, Trafficking).
Explaining geopolitical factors, he cited India-Pakistan - Kashmir, Balakot, (Political Shifts), India-China (Territorial Issues, Balance of Power), Pakistan-China (CPEC), Afghan-Pakistan-USA (Peace Process, Taliban), the Indian Ocean and referring to the Technological Factors, he attributed Space (Anti-satellite tests, Pakistan-Russia pact, ‘space race’), Cyber (Cybercrimes, Cyber warfare, attack-prone region), Social Media (Control of narrative, recruitment, public order), Emerging Technology (Unmanned vehicles, autonomous weapons) to other areas of security concern.
Elaborating on Environmental Factors, Mr Niruthan Nilanthan said that Climate Change (Population disruptions, agriculture, ‘Atlantis’ States), Cyclones (Low-lying coastal regions in India and Bangladesh), Deforestation (Impact on food security), Floods (Over 660 dead and 6 million displaced in 2019), Diseases (Pollution, Lack of Awareness) are among other major environmental issues that are looming threats.
He explained about Non-State Actors and said that Terrorism (Franchise model, polarization of communities, technology), Human Trafficking (150,000 affected every year), Drug Trafficking (Ripple effects from S.E Asian boom) and Refugees have posed a major threat as the region is getting more vulnerable.