500+ participants / 80+ speakers / 20+ panels


Security and Development: A Contextual Exploration

October 31, 2022 by BSC

Panelists discussed the implications of security and development policies in the context of fragile and conflict environments. The panelists provided diverse perspectives on the security-development nexus (SDN) and how policies can be adapted in conflict-prone and post-conflict contexts. Panelists agreed on the need for security and development policies to be appropriately tailored to their respective local contexts.  

Esha Banerji, a research intern at the East Asia Centre of Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defense Studies and Analyses, discussed the implications of India’s Agnipath scheme on its security environment. There are numerous challenges to India’s security landscape, including an aging military, social inequality, and a tenuous relationship with China and Pakistan. Agnipath is a four-year program that trains youths aged 17-21 to create a “young, agile, and tech-savvy armed forces.” Bajeri noted Agnipath “gives push to inclusivity and is the key to the success of convergence in the security sector.” Agnipath eliminates outdated practices of selectively hiring male soldiers from certain races or castes. Agnipath benefits civil society at large: around 75% of recruits will join the private sector after their training.  

Aleksandra Krstic, associate professor in the Faculty of Political Sciences at the University of Belgrade, focused on the changing portrayal of migrants in Serbian media. She identified three key framings of migrants: as threats, administrative concerns, and as victims of intergroup conflict. Analysing data from 2015 to 2020, Krstic noted that the portrayal of migrants evolved from victims of war to victims of their own intergroup crimes. Images in Serbian media portrayed migrants as both vulnerable groups and as security risks from a domestic perspective. Serbian border authorities were often not portrayed as saviors of migrants (as they are in other countries, such as Italy). Rather, they were depicted as strong protectors of domestic order.   

Jaynisha Patel, project leader for Inclusive Economics at the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation, discussed the role of formal institutions in creating access to scarce resources in Mali, Kenya and Mozambique. Patel suggested mapping the power dynamics in the context of economic development could help to identify leverage points that could improve the prospect of long-term sustainable development. In Mozambique, with the discovery of natural gas, Patel suggested that building horizontal social capital between historically disparate groups was paramount to breaking the cycle of insecurity and development in rural areas. Addressing water scarcity in northern Kenya, she argued that natural resources were often used by political elites as a bargaining chip at the expense of local populations.  

Zedněk Rod, a research fellow at the University of West Bohemia, described his work investigating the effectiveness of NATO’s Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs) in Afghanistan. According to Rod, PRTs are “special civil and military units that are supposed to foster security and development.” After speaking with over 30 individuals from security and development backgrounds, Rod arrived at some basic conclusions. The PRTs of various NATO allies struggled to define clear goals. Some prioritized security, others development. There was a lack of coordination among various PRTs. PRT personnel lacked cultural and civic training and failed to understand local interests. Rod, relating his work to the broader context of the SDN, concluded that SDN ultimately fails in implementation because of a failure to consult local interests and experts.