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  • Author: Frank Umbach
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies (NTS)
  • Abstract: China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is officially neither a Chinese “Marshall Plan” nor a geopolitical master strategy. At present, it involves 84 countries, rising from 65 countries in 2015, and 15 Chinese provinces. Over the last year, the number of countries being concerned or ambivalent about China’s motivations and strategic objectives behind the BRI have increased. Despite officially supporting China’s BRI, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) also warned last April, that China is supporting unneeded and unsustainable projects in many countries, leading to heavy and unpayable debt burdens. In ASEAN, Chinese investments are welcomed but there are also misgivings about the BRI’s strategic objectives which may constrain ASEAN’s policy options. As China is presently and will remain the single most influential country in global energy markets in the next decades, it is not surprising that its infrastructure plans of building railways, highways and ports are often interlinked with China’s energy and raw materials projects abroad and its domestic energy policies. This paper analyses the energy dimensions of the BRI and its strategic implications for its wider economic, foreign and security policies in Southeast Asia, South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Energy Policy, Military Strategy, ASEAN, IMF
  • Political Geography: China, South Asia, Central Asia, Middle East, Asia, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Frank Umbach
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies (NTS)
  • Abstract: As ASEAN’s energy demand is likely to increase by almost two-thirds in the period up to 2040, the regional oil and gas resources in the offshore zones of the ASEAN member states will become even more important for enhancing the energy supply security of both the individual member states as well as for ASEAN as a whole. Accordingly, access to and political as well as physical control and security of these offshore energy resources will receive even more governmental attention. In context of China’s Belt and Road Initiative as well as South China Sea policies and its energy dimensions, they can fuel already existing maritime competition and conflicts in the South China Sea, the Bay of Bengal, the Indian Ocean and the interconnecting sea lanes and regional choke points. This paper analyses the question to what extent are energy security concepts and challenges are interlinked with maritime policies, particularly in regard to the unresolved overlapping claims in the South China Sea and the perceived intensifying naval competition in the Indian Ocean. It also highlights the strategic implications of ASEAN's rising energy demand and growing exploitation of its offshore maritime energy resources for future regional cooperation, enhanced competition and potential strategic rivalries as well as conflicts.
  • Topic: Security, Energy Policy, Oil, Gas, Maritime, ASEAN
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, Indian Ocean, South China Sea
  • Author: James M Dorsey
  • Publication Date: 03-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies (NTS)
  • Abstract: China’s increasingly significant economic and security interests in the Middle East have several impacts. It affects not only its energy security but also its regional posture, relations with regional powers as well as the United States, and efforts to pacify nationalist and Islamist Uighurs in its north-western province of Xinjiang. Those interests are considerably enhanced by China’s One Belt, One Road initiative that seeks to patch together a Eurasian land mass through inter-linked infrastructure, investment and expanded trade relations. Protecting its mushrooming interests is forcing China to realign its policies and relationships in the region. As it takes stock of the Middle East and North Africa’s volatility and tumultuous, often violent political transitions, China feels the pressure to acknowledge that it no longer can remain aloof to the Middle East and North Africa’s multiple conflicts. China’s long-standing insistence on non-interference in the domestic affairs of others, refusal to envision a foreign military presence and its perseverance that its primary focus is the development of mutually beneficial economic and commercial relations, increasingly falls short of what it needs to do to safeguard its vital interests. Increasingly, China will have to become a regional player in competitive cooperation with the United States, the dominant external actor in the region for the foreseeable future. The pressure to revisit long-standing foreign and defence policy principles is also driven by the fact that China’s key interests in the Middle East and North Africa have expanded significantly beyond the narrow focus of energy despite its dependence on the region for half 1 China has signalled its gradual recognition of these new realities with the publication in January 2016 of an Arab Policy Paper, the country’s first articulation of a policy towards the Middle East and North Africa. But, rather than spelling out specific policies, the paper reiterated the generalities of China’s core focus in its relations with the Arab world: economics, energy, counter-terrorism, security, technical cooperation and its One Belt, One Road initiative. Ultimately however, China will have to develop a strategic vision that outlines foreign and defence policies it needs to put in place to protect its expanding strategic, geopolitical, economic, and commercial interests in the Middle East and North Africa; its role and place in the region as a rising superpower in the region; and its relationship and cooperation with the United States in managing, if not resolving conflict.
  • Topic: Security, Diplomacy, Economics, Imperialism, Infrastructure
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, China, Middle East, Asia, North Africa
  • Author: Iis Gindarsah
  • Publication Date: 06-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies (NTS)
  • Abstract: Indonesia has been increasingly susceptible to recent geopolitical developments. Along with the rapid pace of regional arms modernisation and unresolved territorial disputes, it begins to ponder the impact of emerging great power rivalry to the country’s strategic interests. However, rather than pursuing a robust military build-up, Indonesian policymakers asserts that diplomacy is the country’s first line of defence. This paper argues that Indonesia’s defence diplomacy serves two agenda of hedging strategy — strategic engagement and military modernisation. This way, Indonesian defence and security officials seek to moderate the impact of geopolitical changes whilst maintaining the country’s defensive ability against regional uncertainties.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Diplomacy, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: Indonesia, Asia
  • Author: Maria Anna Rowena, Luz G Layador
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies (NTS)
  • Abstract: This paper focuses on the governance of the security sector in situations of armed conflict and the role of effective governance in conflict management. Specifically, it seeks to examine whether the security sector has helped to advance conflict management objectives in Mindanao, or whether their activities have aggravated the situation. It critically examines the role of the core security sector, namely, the armed forces, the police and the auxiliary forces, the use of which was expanded during the Arroyo administration. Beyond that, it highlights the impact of those elected politicians with authority and oversight over the armed units. The paper uses Maguindanao, a province in Mindanao in the southern Philippines, as a case study.
  • Topic: Security, Military Strategy, Governance, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Asia, Philippines, Mindanao, Maguindanao
  • Author: Pradumna B. Rana, Wai-Mun Chia
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies (NTS)
  • Abstract: This paper argues that contrary to popular belief, in the bygone era, there was not one but two Silk Roads in Asia – the Northern and the less well-known South-western Silk Road (SSR). The SSR connected South/Central Asia with southern China and present day Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). After enjoying a rich history of around 1,600 years, the Silk Roads went into disrepair. Now, for various economic, security, and political reasons, land connectivity is once again making a comeback in Asia. These include the (i) ―Go West‖ and the recent ―New Silk Roads‖ policies of China; (ii) ―Look East‖ policies of South Asia; (iii) opening of Myanmar, a node between South Asia and East Asia; and (iv) growing importance of supply-chain trade. The focus has, however, been mainly on reviving the Northern Silk Road with relatively few actions being initiated to revive the SSR. Mirroring the on-going efforts in the Greater Mekong Sub-region and the Central Asian region, this paper proposes four economic corridors for Pan-Asian connectivity that is to connect South/Central Asia with southern China and ASEAN. The paper argues that the revival of land connectivity in Asia is making Maritime Asia of the past, more continental-based. One implication is that regional institutions focusing solely on Maritime Asia, such as the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), may be losing some of their relevance vis-à-vis say the more continental-based China-led Shanghai Cooperation Organization. The other is that the influence of the West in Asia‘s security may be declining relative to that of China, India, and Russia.
  • Topic: Security, Globalization, Trade
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, India, Asia
  • Author: Tang Siew Mun
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies (NTS)
  • Abstract: The Malaysian security sector is undergoing a major transformation. The Najib administration has broken the mould, implementing a series of reforms that have resulted in the expansion of political space and discourse. Consequently, the polity may become increasingly unstable, unless these reforms are accompanied by the deepening and institutionalisation of the rule of law and the development of a mature political culture. This paper identifies five priority areas for security sector governance (SSG) in Malaysia, namely, independence of the judiciary, advancement of human rights, broadening of political space, rule of law and enforcement, and institutional oversight capacity. The net effect of the security sector reforms (SSRs) is the levelling of the political playing field, which effectively weakens the hands of the incumbents. Herein lies the paradox. The fate and progress of SSR is contingent on a strong government to stay the course of reforms and to prevent a relapse. At the same time, these reforms have the unintended effect of chipping away the Najib administration's political power.
  • Topic: Security, Arms Control and Proliferation, Governance
  • Political Geography: Malaysia, Southeast Asia
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies (NTS)
  • Abstract: Climate change is one of the most pressing issues affecting ASEAN food security. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) projects that temperatures will rise between 1.5 to 3 degrees Celsius by 2100 given foreseeable levels of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
  • Topic: Security, Climate Change, Environment, Globalization, Food
  • Author: Caitriona Heinl
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies (NTS)
  • Abstract: This paper outlines regional level cooperation efforts of the Association for Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to counter serious cross-border cyber threats and identifies where gaps might exist, which require further and urgent consideration. It considers whether more might be done to create a comprehensive approach to cyber security in the ASEAN region. Finally, it aims to fill identified gaps by providing several recommendations for possible future development and implementation to create a resilient regional cyber security regime.
  • Topic: Security, Regional Cooperation, Terrorism, Cybersecurity, Digital Economy
  • Political Geography: Asia, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Lorraine Elliott
  • Publication Date: 02-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies (NTS)
  • Abstract: Migration and displacement are among the range of pressures on people and their communities likely to arise from the economic, social and environmental consequences of climate change. Despite fragmented data, the climate security literature has focused on the potential for climate change-induced migration to trigger social tensions and conflict within states and across borders. A human security approach seeks to ensure that people are placed at the centre of concerns about mobility and migration in response to climate change. This requires more than identifying those who are vulnerable to migration pressures. It necessitates an understanding of how migration and mobility choices are made, how vulnerabilities can be managed in ways that are participatory and responsive to local needs and circumstances, and how local, national and regional policy responses can strengthen the knowledge base and improve collaborative platforms for action.
  • Topic: Security, Climate Change, Economics, Environment, Migration
  • Political Geography: Southeast Asia
  • Author: Christopher G. Baker
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies (NTS)
  • Abstract: The rapid hydropower development in the Mekong River Basin brings with it a growing number of security challenges for state and regional policymakers. While the interrelated challenges range from local, human security issues, to regional-level concerns, all stem from the externalities brought about by hydro-development. This paper analyses the ramifications of the current 'hydropower gold-rush' on and around the Mekong. By specifically examining the non-traditional security concerns of food and water security and how these threaten to drive human insecurity, migration and instability within the region, it is able to challenge the dominant development and economic mindset that continues to encourage development at the cost of livelihoods. Instead of an economic hydro-boom as anticipated by many, continued dam building on the Mekong and its tributaries could result in a non-traditional security disaster characterised by severe food shortages, destruction of livelihoods and large irregular movements of people.
  • Topic: Security, Development, Economics, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: Asia
  • Author: Aries A. Arugay
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies (NTS)
  • Abstract: The militaries of developing countries have often gone beyond the mission of external defence, to perform unconventional roles ranging from disaster relief and economic management to law enforcement and internal security. This paper focuses on development missions carried out by the armed forces of the Philippines and Thailand in and out of conflict zones, and provides an analysis of the causes behind the re-emergence of such missions in recent years. Based on a comparison of the two countries' experience, this paper argues that the military's renewed involvement in development work stems from two factors: their significant role in political succession; and the increasing salience of concepts linking security and development, in particular, the notion of non-traditional security. The effectiveness of such projects could, however, be hampered by the lack of a clear, well-implemented national development framework and by systemic weaknesses in security sector governance. This paper thus argues that, in order to address the various non-traditional security threats in the two countries, security sector reform would have to be implemented and civilian oversight over security institutions improved.
  • Topic: Security, Development, Governance
  • Political Geography: Israel, Asia, Philippines, Thailand
  • Author: Pavin Chachavalpongpun
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies (NTS)
  • Abstract: The concept of Responsibility to Protect (R2P) is relatively new to many Southeast Asians, who have traditionally relied on the state for security and therefore faced a sense of hopelessness when such protection was lacking. While the state represented the only institution ensuring human security for the masses in the past, civil society organisations (CSOs) and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have today emerged as indispensable non-state actors campaigning for humanitarian interventions in situations where the state has failed in the provision of human security. Indeed, CSOs and NGOs are playing crucial roles in advocating and championing the cause of R2P despite encountering extensive obstacles, which range from an overwhelming sovereignty- conscious mentality, and an exploitation of cultural pretexts such as Asian values on the part of the state for a justification of its apathetic attitude toward R2P, to a lack of awareness among the people about the significance of R2P to their own security.
  • Topic: Security, Human Rights, Non-Governmental Organization, Governance
  • Political Geography: Southeast Asia
  • Author: Rizal Sukma
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies (NTS)
  • Abstract: This paper examines the evolution of security sector governance (SSG) in Indonesia, focusing in particular on the effects of security sector reform (SSR) on the management of the secessionist conflicts in the country. It discusses the military's use of force as an instrument of conflict management in the years immediately following Indonesia's Independence, arguing that while it is possible to suppress conflicts through military force, such a strategy brings about several problems. The underlying causes of the conflicts may remain unaddressed, and military impunity could increase. These could lead to rising resentment, and eventually escalation of conflicts, as occurred in Indonesia in the late 1990s. This paper argues that to resolve such conflicts, SSR is vital, and it illustrates this through the case of Aceh as an instance of successful resolution of conflict achieved against a backdrop of reform of the military sector.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Political Violence, Development, Post Colonialism, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Indonesia
  • Publication Date: 07-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies (NTS)
  • Abstract: On 30–31 July 2012, a Policy Roundtable on Asian Non-Traditional Security was held at the Hotel Novotel Beijing Peace, China, with the aim of sharing the research findings of participating institutions. The Roundtable was organised by the Center for Regional Security Studies (CRSS), Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS); the Centre for Non-Traditional Security (NTS) Studies, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS); the National Institute of International Strategy (NIIS), CASS; and the Center for Non-Traditional Security and Peaceful Development Studies (NTS-PD), Zhejiang University.
  • Topic: Security, Climate Change, Environment, Human Rights, Human Welfare, Political Economy, Natural Disasters, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Israel, Asia, Australia/Pacific
  • Author: Arpita Mathur
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies (NTS)
  • Abstract: Women are a social group vulnerable to food insecurity despite being primary actors in the food chain. The problem of food insecurity among women is especially rampant in parts of South Asia and Southeast Asia. Vulnerability to food insecurity has a definite effect on the health of women and children, as well as social and economic impacts in terms of fewer opportunities for education and greater instances of early marriages. A comparison of indicators used to assess vulnerabilities of women in the two regions shows that the overall situation in South Asia is worse than that in Southeast Asia. The primary securitising actors at the national, regional and international levels have to play an individual and collective role in rectifying the situation. It is equally mandatory for regional groupings such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) to provide a sound systemic environment for individual countries to work towards achieving these objectives.
  • Topic: Security, Gender Issues, Food
  • Political Geography: Asia
  • Author: Lorraine Elliott
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies (NTS)
  • Abstract: The global food crisis of 2007 to 2008 – which was characterised by both volatility in food prices and shortages of food – and the uneven but almost certainly largely negative impacts of climate change have drawn attention to the importance of food security as a regional challenge for the Asia-Pacific. Food insecurity in the region results from the convergence of uncertainties about inputs to food production and economic conditions that facilitate or restrict access to food. Regional strategies to achieve food security need to recognise the need to provide immediate remedial support to alleviate hunger and restore livelihoods, to enhance capacity to anticipate food uncertainties and to strengthen resilience to the impacts of future food disasters. A human security approach seeks to ensure that people are at the centre of regional food security frameworks – not just in terms of concerns over who the food insecure or food vulnerable are, but also in terms of ensuring that policies and programmes respond to local needs and community rights and that food security governance is participatory and transparent.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Globalization
  • Political Geography: Asia-Pacific
  • Author: Ben Shepherd
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies (NTS)
  • Abstract: The Philippines is a country targeted by foreign investors seeking agricultural land. It is promoting itself to them in the hope of securing their business. These investors frequently use food security language to justify their competitive pursuit of scarce agricultural resources in poorer countries on the basis of shoring up their own domestic food supplies. The usual understanding of food security in economic terms of supply, demand and competition largely validates these strategies. Instead, this paper proposes to redefine food security in terms of protecting vulnerable populations from the structural violence of involuntary hunger. By viewing food security in terms of hunger, it becomes clear that the land deals are more likely to worsen than improve the situation for the Filipino rural poor. Rethinking food security this way also offers the opportunity to re-examine the challenges facing Philippine agriculture. This new framing is particularly instructive for thinking about alternative approaches to applying foreign agricultural investment in ways that not only benefit the rural poor and alleviate involuntary hunger but also increase overall food availability, including surpluses for export.
  • Topic: Security, Agriculture, Poverty, Food
  • Political Geography: Israel, Philippines
  • Author: Evan A. Laksmana
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies (NTS)
  • Abstract: This paper seeks to identify and assess key climate insecurities in Indonesia and further explore how they could potentially influence the process of defence reform that has been ongoing in Indonesia since Suharto's downfall in 1998. Key climate insecurities in Indonesia are related to energy and food security, large-scale disasters, drought, changing climate patterns and rising sea levels. Furthermore, this paper argues that given these security implications, the Indonesian National Defence Forces (TNI) has yet to seriously assess and incorporate climate change into its force development plans. Finally, this paper outlines some of the key challenges and prospects for TNI's defence reform process, as it relates to climate change.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Climate Change, Food
  • Political Geography: South Asia, Indonesia
  • Publication Date: 08-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies (NTS)
  • Abstract: The International Conference on Asian Food Security (ICAFS) took place on 10–12 August 2011 at the Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel in Singapore. ICAFS 2011, themed 'Feeding Asia in the 21st Century: Building Urban- Rural Alliances', was convened in the context of complex and multifaceted challenges throughout food systems in Asia. The conference sought to address timely questions relating to these challenges, and foster discussions among a range of stakeholders from Asia's food sectors.
  • Topic: Security, Agriculture, Poverty, Food
  • Political Geography: Asia