Trans-border Movements and the States in South Asia


The project interrogates how states produce borders, as much as borders reproduce the states in terms of territoriality whilst ‘deterritorialisation’ (Appadurai, 1990) features the contemporary globalised world. Therefore trans-border movement, what denotes the mobility of people across borders, has become a part of modern state-system as borders both separate and connect the states. Generally border is understood as a form of demarcation, but it opens up the flow of people, goods, and the ideas of legality & illegality. Therefore, borders are dynamic and dyadic in the interface of state and non-state actors involved in border operations. Besides, people migrate from one state to another due to environmental disasters, mounting river-bank erosion, periodic flood & cyclone and devastating earthquake (for instances, Nepal and Pakistan earthquakes), which render them ‘climate migrants’. Consequently the trans-border movement becomes a complex web when the states deal with the movement as an issue of national/regional security, legal/illegal trades, growing militancy, territorisation of regions, and the questions of citizenship. Though borders are called the ‘zones of limited statehood’ (Scott, 2009), the states are present in the borders with unlimited forces, finance, and policies. The states in South Asia could be ideal cases to understand such dynamic and dialectical relations between trans-border movements and the states. This project intends to focus the ways how borders are dealt with from strategic and diplomatic point of view in South Asia; how borders become spaces for people to move from one state to another in search of a better fortune (economic migrants), escaping persecution (refugees) and finding a disaster-free living place (climate migrants); how the states in South Asia address trans-border movements at both policy level and practical fields; how borders are used for illegal trades and informal economy in South Asian states; How refugee issues, illegal migrations, citizenship issues and camp/stranded people are dealt with in South Asian states as consequences of trans-border movement; and how the notions of territoriality of statehood become blurred due to the increasing trans-border movements in South Asia.

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