South Asia Strategic, Security, and State Fragility Program

South Asia Strategic, Security, and State Fragility Program

The courses within this program will impart an in-depth understanding of the strategic and security challenges to the political stability in South Asia with a focus on the constantly evolving religious, social, ethnic, and linguistic identities and political perspectives of South Asia. Moreover, the respective courses in this program will also deliver professional and policy relevant knowledge about the impact of these shifting dynamics on political stability and state fragility; current and potential armed secessionist movements; extreme Left Movements such as Naxalism (i.e. communism) in India; religious extremism and Islamic terrorism; political instability in Pakistan; and the enduring strategic rivalry between India and Pakistan.

Professional Development Course (PDC) List 


India’s Strategic Thinking: Internal and External Security Challenges, Domestic and Foreign Policy Approaches

This five-day course provides an in-depth understanding of India’s civilizational and historical identity, society, culture and demography; political system and economy; internal and external security challenges; strategic thinking, defence preparedness, nuclear posture and military modernisation; and hard power and soft power diplomacy. The course will examine the factors shaping India’s security and foreign policy in its neighbourhood amidst receding U.S. power and a militarily assertive China; the overall challenges that India faces today; and via an interactive learning experience, will assess the implications of India’s rise (indeed return) for the (a) the regional order and (b) the future of Australia-India relations.

5 Days

State Fragility in South Asia

This three-day course examines the concept of state fragility and examines the causal dynamics behind the various challenges with the potential to undermine political stability in South Asia. The course will focus on the challenges that undermine South Asian state stability including Islamic radicalism, religious extremism, terrorism; socio-ethnic-linguistic-tribal divide; far-left movements such as Naxalism in India; economic underdevelopment and the challenges to human security in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Pakistan, Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka.

3 Days

Political Instability in Pakistan: Issues and Regional Consequences

The 2016 Australian Defence White Paper observes that Pakistan is likely to continue to face a range of security challenges as it struggles with an internal insurgency. It is vital that the political system in Pakistan is stable. But since its independence in 1947, Pakistan has struggled to establish a civilian secular democracy as this goal has been hampered by the military takeovers and Islamic radical groups. This three-day course examines the challenges to political stability in Pakistan as it grapples with a range of issues including imminent economic crisis, weak governance, regional disparity, religious minority, internal civil-military tussle, human security and developmental challenges, Islamic terrorism and its strained relations with neighbouring nations. The course will also examine the prospects for civilian democracy in Pakistan, and the risks that an unstable or failed Pakistan poses in the regional context and beyond.

3 Days

India-Pakistan Relations: Security Challenges and Peace-Building Measures

The 2016 Australian Defence White Paper argues that tensions between India and Pakistan, potentially fuelled by terrorist activities, could have a wider regional and even global impact thereby affecting Australia’s national security. Since their emergence as separate nations in 1947, the relationship between India and Pakistan has remained tense and has at times escalated to the point of conflict and even war. Despite many diplomatic, economic, and cultural initiatives to normalise the relationship, both nations are locked in a classic security dilemma. While mutual strategies of the nuclear deterrence have averted any further full-scale Indo-Pak War, domestic political factors have the potential to jeopardise their peaceful dividends in the future. Aside from placing India-Pakistan relations in historical context, the course will examine the policy implications of the shifting domestic and international dynamics for the relationship and the likely challenges that lie beyond the current political deadlock between the two governments

3 Days

Afghanistan-Pakistan Strategic and Security Challenges: An Evaluation

U.S. President Obama envisioned that any U.S. Afghanistan-Pakistan exit would only be undertaken once a reasonable degree of peace and stability was achieved in the region. However, the sub-region continues to face considerable challenges emanating from the Jihadi fundamentalist groups together with great power strategic competition. For India, Afghanistan’s geo-strategic position is vitally important, and its significance also relates to India’s own projection of power and the negation of destabilising and/or pro-terrorist influences from Pakistan. Meanwhile, Pakistan is concerned about an Indian-influenced Afghanistan on its border together with other geo-strategic factors linking to China, Iran, Russia and the United States. The course reviews these considerations together with the interdependent role of energy and resources, tribal factionalism, and the challenge of establishing effective institutions for good governance.

2 Days

South Asia Security Challenges: Foreign Relations, Religious Fundamentalism, and Human Insecurity

The course examines the key foreign policy and security challenges across South Asia including the role and impact of religious fundamentalism, terrorism, and human insecurity. The second part considers how these factors have been affected by strategic rivalry between India and Pakistan and between India and China including Beijing’s String of Pearls maritime strategy and its Belt and Road Initiative.

3 Days