The Southasian military complex – Himal Magazine

All Southasian states are now officially ‘democracies’ with civilian governments in power. This could be viewed as a marker of significant progress, particularly considering that different parts of the region have experienced long periods of military rule, protracted armed struggle and violent transitions of power. Yet, the label of ‘democracy’ disguises problematic forms of militarisation throughout Southasia, even in countries that have adhered to civilian rule. The ostensible presence of democracy draws attention away from the continuing forms of militarisation in the region, and also conceals accelerating military encroachment in society.

Himal’s latest quarterly examines the myriad ways in which militarisation has seeped into the public sphere and mainstream consciousness, from ‘zones of exception’ in India to the military’s political influence in Pakistan and the outsized role of the military in the civilian life of Sri Lanka and the Maldives. In addition to providing thorough analysis of ‘the Southasian military complex’, this issue offers content that explores alternative histories of economic engagement, threats to indigenous livelihood, and the aftermath of communal violence.

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