30. Mar 09 - 3. Apr 09

Security, Peace and Development in South Asia

Bangalore, India


Sister Placida Leenakaduwa holding a placard saying "No War" at a peace rally in Colombo, Sri Lanka, May 2006. Photo: Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai

The International Consultation on Peace, Security and Development in South Asia took place in Bangalore, India, from 30 March to 2 April 2009. It gathered some sixty participants, mostly South Asian church and ecumenical leaders, together with representatives from member churches of the WCC, the CCA and the SACC, as well as ecumenical development and relief and humanitarian aid agencies from the region, Europe and North America.


South Asia, as one of the unique regions on the planet, continues to be volatile and in the grips of an ongoing crisis. Today, a deep sense of anxiety and uneasiness looms over South Asia, stemming from a variety of reasons - poverty, civil war,  ethnic conflicts, terrorism, communal and political violence, religious extremism,  power asymmetry within the region, the arms race, militarisation, gross and systematic violation of human rights and geo-political and strategic changes.  Even though South Asian countries have a common cultural background and shared political experience, these countries are characterised by multi-ethnic societies with striking internal divisions along linguistic, regional, communal and sectarian lines. 


In recent times, the worsening security situation in most countries in South Asia is of serious concern. What we witness in South Asia today is a clear signal of lack of peace and security.  The rise of extremism in most South Asian countries is an ultimate threat to human security. The increasing trend of politics of violence and extremism in South Asia is mainly the result of faulty national policies and the interference of external powers.


The region's vast potential is hostage to unresolved inter-state and intra-state conflicts. In most of the states, the governments have failed in providing good governance and solving social problems such as unemployment, social injustice, and poverty. The political culture in these states has been unable to meet the challenges faced by society from time to time. Growing tendencies of ethnic solidarities, identification with rising religious fundamentalism and ethnocentric cultural aspirations are gaining support, which destroys national unity and integration in different South Asian nations.

Read more:

Press release: Sri Lanka, a "humanitarian crisis exceeding all imaginable proportions"


Statement of the International Consultation on Peace, Security and Development in South Asia