Nuclear Weapons | Report

Beyond Boundaries in South Asia: Bridging the Security/Development Divide With International Security Assistance

June 2012


Underdevelopment and “soft security” challenges, including money laundering, small arms and light weapons proliferation, and drug trafficking, together conspire to undermine the significant strides South Asian states have made in the last two decades. These trends clearly demonstrate that additional work is required to promote increased security and more inclusive growth patterns across the region.

While these are the security and development issues that dominate domestic and regional dialogue, among Western audiences, “hard” security concerns, including the proliferation of nuclear weapons (especially to nonstate actors) and terrorism, absorb much of the discourse on South Asia. It was against this backdrop that the UN Security Council passed Resolutions 1373 (2001) and 1540 (2004). Promoted as part of a broader tapestry of formal and informal mechanisms to prevent terrorism and proliferation globally, the resolutions were seemingly ill-connected to the more pressing challenges facing much of the world.

The reality is that the capacity needed to prevent weapons of mass destruction (WMD) proliferation and undermine the conditions conducive to terrorism is intimately connected to the capacity needed to fulfill economic, development, and human security objectives of national governments throughout the region. Thus, there exists a strong link between implementing Resolutions 1373 and 1540 and overcoming higher priority challenges of South Asian states. This realization offers a unique opportunity to capitalize upon “dual-benefit” assistance that leverages long-term international security and human security and sustainable regional development. As such, our first objective must be to better understand the priority concerns of partners across the Global South.