14th SDC: Session focuses on geo-politics of China-Pakistan-India relationship

Daily Times, Pakistan, December 15, 2011
Speakers call for development of masses instead building states in the form of military

Say a people-centred security mechanism provides new opportunities for sustainable development

ISLAMABAD: The security and strategic planning issues are mere fears and the policies based on these fears benefit only few lobbies not the masses.

The experts at session on ‘Security and development: The geo-politics of China-Pakistan-India relationship’ said that the bilateral relationships among these three countries primarily revolve around “national security interests,” while ignoring human development.

The speakers at the second day of 14th Sustainable Development Conference (SDC) ‘Re-defining Paradigms of Sustainable Development in South Asia’ organised by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) here on Wednesday, called for development of masses instead building states in the form of military or establishments.

Chairing the session Senator Hasil Bizenjo lamented over persistence of conflicts in the region and their negative implications on people.

He referred to the words of Chinese premier that the countries of the region can become super powers only after eradicating illiteracy, poverty and low health care system.

“Most of the strategic planning has resulted in flaws and failures,” the senator said adding, “20 years back nobody was even willing to listen that religious extremist and terrorists are a threat to Pakistan, they all said these issues belong to Afghanistan only.”

He said that the extremists have travelled to Pakistan, “Can anybody say that it will not travel to India or China.” He said that the strategic planners needed to look into future and devise policies for the benefit of the masses.

While, speaking at the occasion Dr Dibyesh Anand from Westminster University, UK said a people-centred security mechanism provides new opportunities for sustainable development and breaks ground for better inter-state relations.

“These threats based polices are practically non-realistic fears and there is a difference between the state and the citizens,” Dr Anand said.

He spoke at length about the relations between India- Pakistan and China and said that it was based on necessary cooperation and suspicion as a result the potentials of growth and social development has become a ‘backbencher.’

Amna Yousaf Khokar of Institute of Strategic Studies said Pakistan is still following old security dilemma of threats to its territorial integrity. She said Pakistan needs to reprioritise its national policy in view of changing security priorities towards economic wealth.

Zulfiqar Halepoto of Thardeep Rural Development Programme, Sindh spoke over the water issues in South Asia and China.

He said that often research on water in South Asia misses political dimension and urged the governments to include water agenda as part of bilateral negotiations and emphasizing on permanent trans-boundary policies for better water governance.

Whereas, the speakers at a session in the session on ‘climate change concerns and their possible impacts on South Asian Countries’ said that climate resilient low carbon economy, ownership of MDGs, pro poor governance can ensure food security and livelihood of 600 million poor in South Asia.

Bipul Chatterjee of Consumer Unity and Trust Society (CUTS) International, India said food insecurity and livelihood threats in South Asia are due to climate change impacts such as flooding and sea levels rise.

He called for adopting climate resilient measures including low carbon economy to minimize the impacts of climate change.

Naseer Memon of Strengthening Participatory Organisations said 70 percent of population depends on agriculture for their livelihood in South Asia and is prone to disasters. He said regional cooperation in terms of knowledge sharing and technical collaboration is vital for disaster management.

Another relevant session on ‘factors affecting the food security situation in resource constrained Pakistan’ experts said if there is food availability in market, it does not mean that the poor sections of society have access to food.

Citing inconsistent growth trends in supply and demand of food in Pakistan, Umer Malik, of Mehboob-ul-Haq Human Development Centre said access to food and not production is a major challenge due to decreasing purchasing power, insufficient storage capacities and under-investment in agriculture research, land distribution, and agriculture credit distribution. Mehnaz Ajmal of Oxfam GB said there is a need to protect small holding farmers from the impacts of food price inflation and costs of inputs to ensure food security

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