Terror Challenges in Asia, The Trillion Dollar Market

Glob­al spend­ing on Home­land Secu­ri­ty now stands at about $200 bil­lion annu­al­ly. But with bud­gets in Asia now set to increase by 30 per­cent in its tril­lion dol­lar plus mar­ket, where Chi­na, India, Japan and Sau­di Ara­bia are close­ly fol­lowed by the South East Asia tigers, the mes­sage is clear: Asia is already almost as big a mar­ket as the Unit­ed States, which accounts for one third of the world’s Home­land Secu­ri­ty expen­di­ture. But unlike the US, it’ll be a mis­take to look at the secu­ri­ty sit­u­a­tion in Asia as one con­stant. Asia has many geostrate­gic regions, each with its own pecu­liar­i­ties, pre­sent­ing chal­lenges that are either indige­nous or insur­gen­cies that sur­vive on cross bor­der sup­port.

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The indige­nous insur­gen­cies and some­times con­flicts with com­mu­nal divides have their roots in poor gov­er­nance and cor­rup­tion, eth­nic inequal­i­ties and sense of per­se­cu­tion by the State. In India, these can be seen in the Maoist move­ment across Cen­tral India and the trib­al insur­gency in North­east India, where­as in Pak­istan it is the Shia-Sun­ni divide, the Balooch insur­gency and the Pash­tun dis­af­fec­tion in the NWFP (Af-Pak region). Russia’s Chechen prob­lem and China’s bat­tle against dis­con­tent in Xin­jiang, as well as the Kur­dish prob­lem across Iran, Iraq and Turkey all fall in these cat­e­gories. These require a com­bi­na­tion of police cum mil­i­tary oper­a­tions while adher­ing to the min­i­mum force dic­tum to con­tain the prob­lem, backed with imag­i­na­tive­ly deliv­ered pack­ages that address the core griev­ances of the locals, employ­ment, edu­ca­tion, hous­ing and roads.

The sec­ond chal­lenge is posed by Proxy wars and Trans-nation­al threats. This is some­times even used as an instru­ment of pol­i­cy by cer­tain coun­tries, such as, Pakistan’s sup­port for cross bor­der groups that oper­ate in Kash­mir that has added momen­tum to the fail­ures of New Del­hi poli­cies, or Islamabad’s sup­port to the Tal­iban groups in Afghanistan. Like­wise, Israeli sup­port for the Jun­dul­lah to under­mine the Iran­ian gov­ern­ment and the Iran­ian sup­port for Hezbol­lah in Lebanon, or more recent­ly the anti-Bahrain and anti-Sau­di groups in the Gulf, are promi­nent exam­ples.

Final­ly trans-nation­al ter­ror groups either linked with or inspired by Al-Qae­da — from Philip­pines to Iraq- have inspired their cadres with rad­i­cal Islam. While Osama bin Laden has been elim­i­nat­ed and Al-Qae­da may be in tat­ters, but his lega­cy con­tin­ues to moti­vate sui­cide bombers from Pak­istan to the Gulf States. The chal­lenge they pose is still not insignif­i­cant and most dif­fi­cult to counter. A heady cock­tail of these threats have made Asia the fastest grow­ing Home­land Secu­ri­ty mar­ket. And Secur­ing Asia 2012, a unique ini­tia­tive, to be held in Lon­don from 25th to 27th June at the QE-II Cen­tre, will not only show case the tech­nolo­gies and train­ing method­olo­gies that Asian coun­tries need, but will bring togeth­er, for the first time, the buy­ers and the sup­pli­ers under one roof, to equip Asian coun­tries for their bat­tles ahead.



Maroof Raza is a well-known across com­men­ta­tor on mil­i­tary and home­land secu­ri­ty issues, espe­cial­ly on tele­vi­sion, as he appears fre­quent­ly on TIMESNOW, India’s lead­ing tele­vi­sion news chan­nel. He also writes for the edi­to­r­i­al pages of the The Times of India and The Hin­dus­tan Times now and a reg­u­lar col­umn in the month­ly mag­a­zine he pub­lish­es, “Salute”.