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South Asia has been home to amongst the major, and most violent intra-state armed
conflicts of this century. Almost all countries in the region have battled with, and continue to witness inter-group ethnic conflicts, violent sub-nationalisms, left wing and
other (often multiple) protracted insurgencies. India ranks high on the list of internally embattled states, grappling at once with multiple secessionist movements, communal violence and an increasingly powerful left insurgent movement.
Do the growing numbers and intensity of ethno-nationalist and other state-armed group conflicts in the region indicate a need for us to revisit state structures as they
exist in South Asian nation-states today? Do our structures of governance need to be
refashioned to be more accommodative of sub-national aspirations? How can states
effectively address their internal security needs without suppressing the voices of
their poorest and most dispossessed people? How can any of this be practically done
without endangering the state’s ability to at all govern? Are there lessons that South Asian states still struggling to deal with ethnic riots may have to learn from elsewhere across the globe?
The Jamsetji Tata Centre for Disaster Management (JTCDM) of the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) hosts its fourth international roundtable conference to engage with questions such as those posed above. To facilitate discourse amongst diverse
stakeholders, papers are invited from scholars, as well as from members of non-government
and state institutions engaged in research and intervention in conflict and
post conflict situations. The interest in the roundtable is both to share original academic
and other field-based work in the area, as well as to provide an informed and discursive forum to actively explore possibilities for the role of the state in conflict transformation in South Asia.
Janki Andharia, Ph D