THE CULTURE OF MILITARIZATION IN SOUTH ASIA – BOTH ARMIES’ NEW RECRUITMENT IN NEPAL
COMMENTARY ARCHIVES, 23 March 2009
by Bishnu Pathak and Devendra Uprety
1. The Setting
South Asia is facing complexities due to a growing trend of militarization, exceeding that of political or ideological indoctrination. Military culture not only prevails in security forces and mainstream political parties, but is spread in the form of identity politics throughout class, group, community, institution, and so forth. This cultural force exists not only for political and ideological reasons, but also for armed, violent, and criminal means of subsistence. Due to interests of cultures, languages, regions, and religions, the secessionist movement succeeds widely in the complex diversity of South Asia. In the not so distant past, Pakistan seceded from India owing to differences of religion, and Bangladesh from Pakistan, in turn, due to language, with both adopting violent approaches.
The British sowed the seeds of the secession of Pakistan before leaving India, but only identity and ego based politics are to blame for Bangladesh’s separation. The Kashmir armed violence is no less a means to weaken India’s footing as a superpower than a genuine fight for freedom. The spokesperson of the Afghan President is no more than a muscle-man who runs the strongest private security company there. Sri Lanka’s secessionist group is not only functioning as a political force there, but leads the world’s most successful suicide bomber campaign to assassinate potential political leaders in the region. Since the Comprehensive Peace Accord held on November 22, 2006, Nepal’s disaffected groups have mushroomed into 69 armed and semi-armed groups with violent and criminal modes.
The emergence of such groups exists mostly in the Southern plain, known as the Tarai or Madhes, near the porous border with India. Many of them have no goal beyond a separate Madhes nation. They do not yearn for peace, progress, and a prosperous Nepal, or conflict transformation by peaceful means, but for their vested interest.
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