The increasing number of deaths due to Kovid-19 and the related social disorder has affected the global society is unprecedented. Over 9,000 deaths have been reported and over two lakh infection cases have been reported. Many public health experts believe that the infection is yet to reach its worst, the next few months will be decisive. Community-wide spread of the virus, like tsunamis around the world, can have horrific consequences. That is why, it has become necessary to strictly implement isolation measures and effective screening protocols.
Its economic consequences are affecting the global recession and stock markets. Corona is also having an impact on the security system and politics. All important aspects of life with Corona are undergoing major fundamental changes. Of course, this epidemic will change global politics again and will also affect India.
Today it can be recalled that former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in his book Perestroika (1987) warned on the extreme state of the Cold War, stating that ‘the new political vision advocates recognizing a common principle that security is indivisible is. There is either equal protection for all or none at all ‘. Although at the time the primary focus was on nuclear weapons and to a lesser extent on terrorism, Gorbachev’s statement in totality is loud and clear today at the time of the global health crisis.
The concept of security, which was drawn parallel to the mass mass destruction weapons (WMD) in the decades of the Cold War, soon changed in the context of the WMD-Terrorism alliance after the horrors of 9/11. Under this, strict security was preferred with military influence. The threat of an epidemic and its impact on human security was handed down to a basket of non-traditional security issues. In terms of policy priority, less attention was paid to raising funds for pandemics and building capacity to fight pandemics.
Now the experiences Kovid-19 has given us to expand and improve the concept of national security are inclusive and are making the issue of human security more comprehensive. Human security is a multilateral and hierarchical concept. Several factors shape human security, including individual genetics, socioeconomic status, nutritional status, and local ecosystem. The clear divide between the rich and the poor suggests that not all humans are equally safe despite radical political developments in the 21st century.
In the 20th century, military considerations and regionalism dominated global security, as the major powers of that time followed this path. Two World Wars in a span of 20 years are a sad testimony to the heavy price paid by humans. More than 90 million people died in these two world wars.
The end of World War II and the nuclear age were born in the backdrop of the tragedy of Hiroshima-Nagasaki. Political scenarios for the main characters of the world had changed. Those who were traditional enemies became mutual partners, such as Germany, France, Britain. They became military allies under the leadership of America. On the other hand, the changing scenario turned the US and Soviet Union partners in the war into a mutually strategic rival after the war. Technological strategic insecurity grew at the same pace as rival countries acquired deadly nuclear weapons. This insecurity was accepted very quickly and the planners also threatened to kill millions of human beings.
In 1965, the then US Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara assured to destroy Adversary (Soviet Union). Even the ability to place or eliminate 10 crore people of hostile society was discussed. It was said that the solution will depend on how capable we are in destroying the hostile society.
Thankfully, nuclear war did not occur, but the techno-strategic profile of nuclear weapons changed geopolitics forever. Gorbachev then relied on the interconnected principle of security and put forward Perestroika, which he and the Soviet Union later had to pay. Yet today Washington and Moscow remain cross-conscious rivals. The presence of deadly nuclear weapons remains an obstacle between the two countries even today, at the same time, the challenge for contemporary politics and security of the world.
Today, special regional political activism has come to deal with the challenge of corona virus. The Indian initiative of dialogue between the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is commendable, but Pakistan’s response can be seen mainly in this dialogue. It also raised a bilateral issue (Kashmir) here. It is clear that even when there is a huge threat to human security, Pakistan is still giving priority to its political compulsion.
Pandemics have caused many tragic stops in the long period of history, when thousands to millions of people have died. There is an immediate challenge for SAARC and the larger South Asian region, including Iran. Today, the entire region has to understand national security in an inclusive manner and will have to overcome the hindrance of military dimension and ideological narrowness. Essentially, inherent regionalism must now accept the priority of human security and Gorbachev’s message should spread worldwide that security is now more inseparable than ever before. The challenge of the corona virus should be seen as a global security challenge and the nascent Indian initiative to develop a collective vision against this epidemic must be sustained.