1. Wars Beyond the Armed Forces: Colonialism and Militarization of Ethno-national Conflicts in Contemporary South Asia
Radha D'Souza [+]
University of Westminster
The destinies of South Asian people are necessarily entwined such that a democratic and stable India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Nepal and Maldives is contingent on the emergence and consolidation of regional peace movements against war and militarization within each South Asian state. The necessity of regional peace movements in South Asia is something more than conventional “internationalism” or universal humanism or conscientious objections to war. The intertwined destinies of the people of South Asia are linked to a specific historical legacy of British colonialism. South Asia had a pivotal position in the architecture of imperialism past and present due to its geopolitical location, the trajectory of the formation of each state in the region, and the hiatus between “nations” and “states” in South Asia. Theoretically, this chapter will argue that: (a) the state-centric framework for understanding internal militarization is inadequate as problems of internal militarization in each state are deeply entwined with external imperialist geopolitics; (b) the form and substance of colonialism must be distinguished and engaged with, as colonialism is much more than a temporal characteristic of the nineteenth century empires; and lastly (c) critical scholars and activists must pay greater attention to the international legal order which is a structuring mechanism for reconstituting imperial/colonial relations. The chapter will consider the continuities and changes in militarism in South Asia by juxtaposing key features of South Asia under the imperial system led by the British empire and the UN system led by the American empire since the end of World War II.