Both conventional and non-traditional security threats can seriously threaten Southeast Asia. Due to the nuclear dilemma in this area, Pakistan has been dealing with several issues that are deeply ingrained and non-traditional security risks in addition to the usual security dangers.
However, due to some issues with this region, the South Asian region continues to be a hot topic at international conferences. There is legitimate anxiety for the whole globe since Pakistan, India, and China are nuclear-armed states with existential territorial issues. Due to the diverse national interests and foreign policy agendas of governments, the South Asian area is severely split internationally.
Additionally, Pakistan is now dealing with the flood crisis and its likely repercussions. According to a UN environment assessment, Pakistan is among the top 10 nations most susceptible to climate change. Global warming and climate change are making the present floods worse. Millions of people have been displaced, and countless have died, leaving the population in ruins. Over $20 billion is the expected damage to the economy. Numerous issues, including porous borders and water security, are non-traditional in character yet have the potential to develop into serious traditional concerns.
First off, Pakistan has issued several population control plans, from Ayub Khan’s continuous motivation programme to the most current one introduced in July 2022, but they have all failed to be put into action. Pakistan’s population of 220 million people continues to grow at a two per cent annual rate, trailing neighbouring South Asian countries like Iran and India, which each have annual growth rates of one per cent. Pakistan is ranked 92nd out of 116 nations with enough data to determine the 2021 Global Hunger Index rankings. Pakistan has a highly significant degree of hunger with a score of 24.7. Pakistan has to deal with challenges from birth control opponents and criticism of its family planning policies.
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Pakistan must fully address this issue since it eventually leads to unemployment and poverty. To solve the demographic issue, Pakistan should be forced to learn from the more traditional Iranians how they overcame the religious test. Pakistan’s failure to tackle this matter seriously will result in malnutrition and hunger crises.
The agricultural industry in Pakistan has been seriously harmed by the water crisis, which has resulted in low crop yields and food shortages. Pakistan could not build dams and store water. Water has continued to be a contentious issue between Pakistan and India. Water security is being threatened by climate change.
Pakistan’s lack of financial resources also prevents the development of its infrastructure. Pakistan only has a 30-day water carryover capacity, which has to be improved. Neighbouring India has a carryover capacity of 170 days, Egypt for 700 days, and America for 900 days. Additionally, our nation continues to have provincial and national conflicts over water allocation, which has had a significant negative impact on Sindh’s agriculture industry. To achieve the objectives of national security for human security, it is imperative to establish a practical framework for water distribution and realistic policies.
In terms of the sustainable development objectives for human security in the areas of health, nutrition, water accessibility, and cleanliness, Pakistan is also falling short. The government ought to be forced to take notice of this and formulate some appropriate sustainability measures. To combat the energy issue, water is a helpful resource for the creation of energy.
Thirdly, the harm that climate change poses to mankind necessitates taking immediate action to lessen the risk. The recent COP 26 decision to establish a $100 billion fund for high climate-risk governments for the construction of resilient infrastructure and green energy programmes to reduce the use of fossil fuels shows that the international community is only doing lip service to the issue. Due to the blame game between the north and south in world politics and the fact that nobody is prepared to meet the demands of the moment, there haven’t been any important advancements that may preserve mankind. Due to their dependence on fossil fuels for both their economic and energy needs, no one is ready to compromise on their national interests or economic indicators.
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Pakistan is currently experiencing the worst effects of climate change, including altered weather patterns that cause flash floods, the displacement of millions of people, and an estimated annual economic loss of $3.8 billion. Despite having the lowest greenhouse gas emissions in South Asia, Pakistan is in danger of collapsing as a result of losses from natural disasters and other problems. The government has given this topic a lot of attention and has established the Climate Change Ministry as well as several other initiatives. The government still lacked the foreign policy justifications necessary for resilient infrastructure technology transfer and required FDI in green energy projects, despite the 100 billion tree tsunami project being the most major endeavour to receive international acclaim.
To address the serious climate change problems brought on by climate change in Pakistan, they must employ diplomacy and the assistance of the Foreign Office. With the assistance of the regional and global communities, the government must create a framework for danger reduction and effective disaster management strategies. With the growth in the population, the percentage of regions covered by forests has substantially decreased since 1947, from 33% to barely 5%, and it is still declining at a pace of 1-2% per year. With the assistance of NGOs, Pakistan has to launch a national campaign to protect forests and organise tree-planting efforts to eliminate this menace.
Large-scale national security threats come from porous borders with Iran and Afghanistan as well as from the illegal export of goods, pilgrims, and refugees. Since the current COVID-19 epidemic in Pakistan was caused by the unrestricted flow of pilgrims from Iran, this problem needs to be treated seriously as it presents a difficult non-traditional security threat to the health sector. Therefore, we must act decisively and seriously to stop the unlawful flow of commodities and people across borders. A severe traditional security danger to Pakistan might result from an existential border conflict with Afghanistan. Afghanistan poses the greatest threat to terrorism since there are terrorist organisations there, which is of significant concern to the world community. Furthermore, Pakistan places great importance on Afghan political stability since it may benefit Pakistan’s economic growth through commerce with central Asian nations and a variety of energy-related initiatives to address Pakistan’s energy challenges.
Due to foreign policy and regional concerns, Southeast Asia is severely split on political issues. The only organisation that serves as a platform for interstate collaboration in SAARC. Due to the member nations’ tense relationships and continued division over many topics, this organisation is generally ineffective and unable to produce significant accomplishments. Additionally, pandemics and environmental catastrophes are tragedies that might have an impact on politics and cause instability in nations. These are the significant issues that might cause soft security risks to become serious ones. To avoid the potential repercussions and non-security dangers to the security paradigm, collaboration is necessary. There should be a structure involving intellectuals and state specialists to improve state collaboration and close gaps using different strategies.