In terms of non-traditional security, development is probably the best factor to reduce security threats. In the present era of global diplomacy, small states security mostly depends on development.
The nuclear bomb attack in Japan by America during World War II and later the Indochina war in Vietnam, emergence of Soviet Union as a nuclear state, the Suez Crisis, the Cuban missile crisis were some of the major examples of changing world order which caused threat to the security of small states. Later, the Cold War between America and the Soviet Union and the subsequent breakdown of the Soviet Union, severely hit the security of the entire world.
These circumstances gradually increased the insecurity of small states. After the fall of the Berlin Wall and the changing trend of the world, small states are continuously facing new challenges for their safety.
After World War II, the breakdown of colonial power gave birth to many independent states, but these countries are mostly dependent on developed nations due to their unstable economy and low development progress. This has created an opportunity for developed nations to exercise power over small countries again and play an influential role in their decision making process, which created security concerns of a new dimension. If we think theoretically, security is not only to protect the sovereignty of one country, but to the true independence of a state. Safety is essential in every aspect; financial, social, and political.
Two different types of security can be identified to protect sovereignty and to secure independence; formal or traditional security and non-traditional security. Traditional security generally includes military power, while non-traditional security includes the security of other fields, such as economic, political etc. except military related matters. So, to secure the identity of a small state, there is need to focus both on traditional and non- traditional security issues. Non-traditional security plays a most effective role in terms for small states’ development as well as securing their independence.
To ensure the security of small states, development initiatives play an important role. In today's global world, we see many developing countries giving overt importance to the military sector. Many small developing countries try to multiply their strength by the modernization of the military, accessing weapons used in war, the purchase of fighter aircraft, and increased military facilities. Expenses in the military sector are being increased without spending for the basic needs of people. Also, due to the increase of military power, a country's democratic system can also break down, because the military starts to exercise influence over the government.
If a small state focuses on the overall development of the country by keeping its military power up to date in terms of demand, then the internal security of that state will be assured. At the same time, a small state can mobilize its development progress by ensuring human security. A state can be self-sufficient by bringing economic prosperity, environmental security, self-sufficiency in food, political stability and, through these, it will be able to free itself from the indirect rule of another state, which had undertaken to ensure its proper security.
The example of Japan comes to mind. Japan was once one of the world’s greatest military powers. After World War II, in which the United States bombed Japan, the country revised its state policy and continued to work for internal security and development rather than military power. As a result, Japan has become an economically developed country now.
Singapore, which became independent a few years before the independence of Bangladesh, is now a developed country. They have ensured human security and made themselves self-reliant and safeguarded sovereignty. They have founded a forum of small states, to enable them to express a collective voice.
Thus, the main security lies in three things; stay together, work together for development and fight together to carry development in the next level. The confluence of these act as a safeguard for small states.
The main thing behind development is human security, which the state needs to ensure at any cost. In order to ensure human security, seven issues need to be taken into consideration. These are economic diplomacy, political stability, personal security, food security, health security, communal security and environmental up-gradation; which are the key factors of the development of any country.
If a state can ensure these issues for its people, then that state will definitely be safe. In other words, the main condition of proper security is development. When a country's development is ensured, the issues of human development are ensured, security will also be ensured and other countries will not get an opportunity to interfere in its internal affairs.
(The author is with the ICT Division, Ministry of Telecommunications and Information Technology, Bangladesh. He can be contacted at email@example.com)