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On 15 August 2017, the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute (LKI) hosted a twenty-one member delegation from the National Defence College (NDC) of Bangladesh for a discussion on current strategic issues.
The delegation was led by Major General Shafiuddin Ahmed and comprised senior officers from Bangladesh’s Armed Forces, members of the Bangladesh High Commission, as well as military personnel from Nepal.
LKI’s Research Associate, Malinda Meegoda, delivered a presentation outlining the major security and economic challenges facing South Asia as a region. The presentation focused on three main challenges: the failure of economic integration in the region and other common structural issues; threats to security and the stability of South Asia in the form of the climate crisis; and the dangers stemming from the nuclearization of South Asia.
He argued that despite the failures of the existing South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) framework, the current crises can be looked at as an opportunity for South Asian nations to work towards more regional cooperation (especially in the areas of disaster management, climate adaptation, and Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons). He concluded the presentation by highlighting how some US and Chinese influences have shaped innovative strategic and economic alliances in South Asia.
The presentation was followed by an interactive discussion session, which included questions about the impact of climate change on migration, human trafficking, food security, and traditional livelihoods. Questions were also raised on how smaller nations in the region can benefit from and balance the (often conflicting) propositions and ventures of regional superpowers such as India and China. The discussion was moderated by Barana Waidyatilake, LKI’s Research Fellow.