I was invited to give the inagural address at the two-day seminar on " IBSA and the human security challenges" at the Institute of Social Sciences New Delhi. This "cafe com laite ( coffee with milk) alliance" of India, Brazil and South Africa fascinates me.
I gave an overview of the experience and experiments and success and failures of India, Brazil and South Africa in dealing with various human security issues.
political security- India's democracy is vibrant and mature and . South African democracy, the youngest, has the luxury of a kind of one party rule, while coalition governments and politics has come to stay in India and Brazil. While India is a role model for success of democracy amidst the linguistic, religious and other diversities it has to pay a price in terms of separatist and insurgent tendencies and terrorism. But the other two dont have this problem.
security of life- better in india, while South Africa witnesses crime and violence. Brazil has the worst problem, aggravated by drugs and guns.
Economic security-Indians and South Africans have enjoyed macroeconomic stabilty but Brazilians had to face uncertainty because of hyper inflation, change of currencies and volatile exchange rates. But now Brazil has also become economically stable, secure and predictable.
Poverty- India's poverty in terms of scale and depth is the worst.
food security - Brazil, with its vast fertile land and water resources could be useful for India's food security.
energy security- Brazil's ethanol initiative should be emulated by india for energy security.
health security- all three countries face HIV/AIDS crisis. They can collaborate in the search for new medicines and make use of the core competence of India in pharma industry and technology.
cultural and mental security- Indians had to carry excess baggage of 5000 yr old civilisation, caste and the complex created by foreign invasions, conquests and colonisation. Indians are now becoming confident, proud and assertive. South Africa is also emerging from its apartheid past. Brazilians are free spirited and fun loving and proud people.
regional security- India is surrounded by instability but the other two have no regional problems. Brazil has succeded in neutralising Argentina through mercosur.
global security- The three countries have been successful in G-20 issues and are aspiring to become UNSC permanent members and contribute to global security.
Prof George Mathew Director of the Institue welcomed the guests and Prof Ash Narain Roy conducted the proceedings. The building of the Institute is impressive. The Instt is planning to do more IBSA related activities.
Delegates from Brazil and South Africa had come for the seminar.