The Cold War Game in South Asia’s Security Complex: The Role of Great Powers

Date01 June 2011
Published date01 June 2011
Subject MatterArticle
The Cold War Game in
South Asia's Security Complex:
The Role of Great Powers
Krishnendu Mukhopadhyay*
This article attempts to explore the dynamics of great power penetration
within the South Asian Regional Security Complex during the cold war
period and how the patterns of penetration affected security interactions
between the two principal sub continental members of the complex-i.e.
India and Pakistan. It should be clearly stated at the outset that the
exploration of the chief attributes of the complex and it's broad contours in
this article along the lines indicated above, closely follows Barry Buzan's
pioneering work on Regional Security Complex Theoiy (R.S.C.T) and the
main conclusions of the study are framed in the light of the central
theoretical parameters of Buzan's work. United States, erstwhile Soviet
Union and China have been designated as Great Powers in the study.
In his 2003 work Buzan (along with Ole Waever) defines "regional
security complex" as "a set of units whose major processes of
securitization, desecuritization or both are so interlinked that their security
problems cannot reasonably be analyzed or resolved apart from one
another" (Buzan and Waever
44) security interdependence, therefore
is the core organizing dynamics behind the formation of regional security
Before moving further it is important to articulate the basic outlines of
the complex. The South Asian regional security complex is inhabited by
seven states: India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and
Maldives. During the Cold War period, the Soutli Asian complex was
separated from the neighbouring Middle Eastern and South East Asian
security complex by two 'insulator' states: Afghanistan and Burma. The
existence of these two states acted as geographical barriers preventing any
substantial securitization dynamics across regions. Though inhabited by
seven states, South Asian regional security complex is primarily developed
* Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, Purash-Kanpur Nandi
Mahavidyalaya, Howrah, West Bengal.

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