Regionalism and Regional Security in South Asia The Role of SAARC
Zahid Shahab Ahmed evaluates the progress of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC). This study goes beyond economic integration to present a detailed appraisal of cooperation under the overarching themes of economic cooperation, environmental security, human welfare, and cooperation in security matters. According to the author, SAARC is making progress in addressing the myriad of issues on its agenda. The transition from agreements to actions and frequent interactions among the member states has boosted confidence. The progress of SAARC is more evident in the less controversial areas of human security, such as poverty alleviation, health and safety, human resources development, and higher education. Notwithstanding enthusiastic commitments reflected in agreements and action plans, there is a gulf between rhetoric and implementation most notably in sensitive areas relating to traditional security. In the light of the findings of this study, the author proposes that greater cooperation in common human security areas has a potential to pave the way for a cooperation on issues of a ’contentious’ nature, particularly terrorism.
’The study is a most timely and outstanding contribution to the literature on regional organisational mechanisms to promote security and stability. Ahmed is persuasive in making the case for the tremendous potential SAARC possesses in transforming the region to a success story. The book is highly recommended for policy makers, scholars and practitioners exploring opportunities for strengthening SAARC and its role in regional security cooperation, both traditional and non-traditional.’ Saira Yamin, Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies, USA
This is a detailed and well-documented study of a regional organisation with immense potential. In a carefully researched and presented book, Zahid Shahab Ahmed argues that the challenges of nation-building and consolidation of national sovereignty have undermined efforts at regional economic and security collaboration. This book is an excellent contribution to studies of regionalism and the dynamics of South Asia.
Shahram Akbarzadeh, University of Melbourne, Australia
Ahmed has brilliantly woven multiple concepts related to human security together in order to provide an excellent appraisal of SAARC. Ahmed’s holistic approach, which reflects his strong multidisciplinary academic and professional backgrounds, sets a model for many to follow. His careful assessment of various factors influencing security in South Asia, move us beyond the narrow limited views of security, and provides to the readers and to SAARC a diagnostic appraisal of the regional organisation’s performance, and a roadmap for future action.
Amr Abdalla, University for Peace, Costa Rica
Zahid Shahab Ahmed is to be congratulated for regenerating and invoking interest for the empirical mode of investigation in his security-related study".
Mitra, D. 2016, Political Studies Review, vol. 14, no. 1, p.131.
"The book is an engaging read, especially for those interested in South Asia’s progress of and prospects for regional integration. Ahmed voices his thoughts and experiences through this book to restore the broader essence of South Asia and the fruits of his endeavour can benefit policymakers in South Asia to strategize their approach towards South Asian regional cooperation".
Premaratne, D. 2014, South Asia Economic Journal, vol. 15, no. 2, pp. 337-343.
"The book presents a very detailed analysis of SAARC history and its engagement with key issues of concern to developing South Asian economies and societies. It brings to light the complex debates that were responsible for the creation of the SAARC and the initiative of member countries to rise above their differences and work together to create a sustainable South Asian identity. One of the foremost positives of the volume is the author’s firsthand experience at SAARC headquarters in Nepal providing insights beyond formal government speeches and proclamations and giving an insider view of the functioning of a complex and evolving regional mechanism".
Bhatnagar, S. 2014, FPRC Journal, vol. 20, no. 4, pp. 152-157. & Bhatnagar, S. 2015, Journal of Alternative Perspective in the Social Sciences, vol. 6, no. 3, pp. 346-351.
"Zahid Shahab Ahmed’s book is a sincere and honest effort to provide a robust analysis of the challenges faced by SAARC. SAARC has attempted to address various dimensions of human security but implementation has suffered from an ‘‘insufficient political commitment to regionalism’’, which is manifested in inadequate funding and human resources. The book is a valuable addition to the existing literature on the subject and serves as a useful guide to the role and function of SAARC as a vehicle for guaranteeing regional security and human welfare".
Rangreji, L.M. 2015. Asian Journal of International Law, vol.5, no. 1, pp.213-214.
"The book succeeds in providing a wealth of empirical data about the organization’s efforts in human security".
Edquist, K, 2015, Exemplar: The Journal of South Asian Studies, vol. 3, no. 1, pp. 62-65.