Saturday, 9 February 2013


The Issues, Challenges and Implications of the SUA Convention
Paper presented by
Dr. Geeta Madhavan Ph.D
Visiting Professor
Tamil Nadu Dr. Ambedkar Law University

In human history the seas have performed the twin roles:of being a medium of communication and trade and a rich natural resource of the living and non living. The dual function of the seas has stimulated a legal regime for the conduct of nations. In the 15th century States were in favour of appropriation or exercise of exclusive rights over large expanses of sea and the Papal Bulls of 1493 and 1506 partitioned the oceans of the world between Spain and Porugal.1The Spanish monopoly of commerce in the West Indies was challenged by other emerging sea powers and Elizabeth I affirmed the freedom of the seas in answer to Spanish protest to Francis’ Drake’s expedition.2  The 17th century nurtured the principle of mare clausem (closed sea) as claimed by England, Denmark, Spain, Portugal, the Papacy, Turkey and several other States. This concept

popular during the 17th century, which regarded the seas as being national territories was swiftly replaced in the 18th century by the Dutch sponsored principles of freedom of navigation and fishing. Grotius favoured this principle whereby the oceans as res communis were to be accessible to all nations but incapable of appropriation.3 This doctrine of the open seas suited the early exploration and expansion policies of the European States and irrespective of their motive for adopting the principle, it adhered to States because it was sensible and pragmatic concept of shared use of the seas. Thus the two stated principles of Grotius were :
(i) that the sea could not be the object of private or state appropriation:
(ii) that the use of the high seas by one state would leave the medium available for use by another.4 
Although the concept of territorial waters became firmly established as a principle under early international law; the developing international law regarding the high seas did not seek to interpolate the concept. Instead the development of the law of sea concentrated on the lines dividing the territorial waters and other recognized zones and the high seas leading to a rich compendium in international law. In this manner, the laws relating to

seas have been in constant motion for several decades seeking to converge conflicting concepts.
The four major Conventions on the Law of the Sea of 19585 reiterated accepted principles of international law as well as set down new rules for state maritime practice. The subsequent large and complex 1982 Convention on the Law of the Sea6 (UNCLOS) was the result of the Conference that lasted from 1974 to 1982 and involved numerous political, economic and strategic factors. It came into force on 16 November 1994 and provides the template for an effective international maritime security regime. Several significant issues were covered viz. setting limits, navigation, archipelagic status and transit regimes, exclusive economic zones (EEZ), continental shelf jurisdiction, deep seabed mining, the exploitation regime, protection of the marine environment, scientific research, and settlement of disputes. The basis for State jurisdiction of the seas in the capacity of costal, port or flag State are set out along with the rights and duties of a State and state soveregnity and sovereign rights over the seas and its resources. Principles  and norms essential for the maintaing security and safety of the seas are provided in the form of   navigational rights, responsiblities of the flag State, right of visit , hot pursuit and  counter measure for piracy .

The freedom of the high seas is to be found in Article 2 of the Convention of the High Seas7 which provides :
The high seas being open to all nations , no State may validly purport to subject any part of them to its soveregnity. Freedom of the high seas is exercised under the conditions laid down by these articles and by the other rules of international law. It comprises , inter alia, both for costal and non-costal States:
(1)     Freedom of navigation;
(2)     ) Freedom of fishing;
(3)     ) Freedom to lay submarine cables and pipelines;
(4)     ) Freedom to fly over the high seas.
These freedoms and others which are recognized by the general princilpes of international law shall be recognized by all states with reasonable regard to all States in their exercise of the freedom of the high seas.
In international law the freedoms of the high seas granted to States  is subject to the maintenance of order on the high seas . Therfore, it becomes incumbent on the States to ensure that all illegal activities committed on the high seas are subject to the jurisdiction of the States based on international legal principles of jurisdiction.The basis  for the maintenance of order on the high seas has rested upon the concept of nationality of the ship and the consequent jurisdiction of the flag state over the ship. Since early times the freedom of the high seas and the concept of jurisdiction have both been severely harmed  by the menace of piracy . In the present times the maritme security regime  has severly been threatened by both the rise in incidents of  piracy and the violent and illegal activities of terroists and other non state actors. Piracy has been identified as being committed by opportunistic fishermen, common criminals on the sea and members of sophisticated Asian syndicates. Although there is not sufficent evidence there is enough   reason to believe that these non state actors are being used by terrorist organizations  for their purposes of smuggling arms and for narcoterroist activites.  The time has therefore come to critically  examine these issues and study the relevance of  exiting international legal norms to curb and counter the illegal maritime activities.
Piracy is strictly defined in international law and declared in the 1982 UNCLOS 8as
(a)     Any illegal acts of violence,detention or any act of depredation , committed for private ends by the crew or passengers of a private ship or private aircraft directed : (i) on the high seas ,against another ship or aircraft or against persons or property on board such ship or aircraft; (ii) against a ship, aircraft,persons or property in a place outside the jurisdiction of any state;
(b)     Any act of voluntary participation in the operation of a ship or of an aircraft with knowledge of facts making it a pirate ship or aircraft;
(c)     Any act of inciting or of intentionally facilitating an act described in subparagraph (a)or (b).9
The opinion of Judge Moore in the Lotus case10 explains piracy further :
“………….Piracy by law of nations ,in its jurisdictional aspects, is su generis. Though statutes may provide for its punishment, it is an offence against the law of nations, and as the scene of a pirate’s operation is the high seas , which is not the right or duty of any nation to police , he is denied the protection of the flag which he may carry , and is treated as an outlaw, as an enemy of all mankind- hosti humani generis - whom any nation may in the interest of all capture and punish.”
The conclusion that can be reasonably reached regarding piracy is that the two components of the crime of piracy are:
(a)    the violent act must be committed by passengers or the crew of a ship against another ship:
(b)   the violent act must be committed for private ends.
This leads to the understanding that  while criminal acts motivated by greed , hatred or vengance are acts of piracy , similar violent acts committed only for political ends will not be conidered piracy.This opinion prevailed till the gruesome incident  of the Italian cruiser Achille Lauro in 1985. The crew and passengers of Achille Lauro were held hostage on the high seas against the release of 50 Palestinians detained by Israel. Consequent to this  incident the U.N. General Assembly by Resaoluton 40/6111 included a paragraph requesting the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) to recommend appropriate action. Italy put forward a proposal to negotiate a convention against maritime terroism which was later co sponsored by Austira and Egypt.. The IMO on its own initiative, in November established a working group to study possible international measures to ensure passenger and crew safety especially in ports..This led to the adoption of a set of “Measures to Prevent UnlawfulActs Which Threaten the Safety of Ships and the Security of Their passengers and Crews”.12 A Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against the Safety of Maritime Navigation (hereinafter refered to as the SUA Convention) was concluded in Rome and opened for signature on  March 1988

together  with an accompanying  option protocol, the Protocol for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Fixed Platforms Located on the Continental Shelf, called the Rome Protocol.
In October 2000, a suicide attack took place on  U.S. Navy guided missile destroyer USS Cole at  the  Yemeni port of Aden killing 17 sailors. In 2002 there was an attack on  Limburg , a double hull tanker carrying 397,00 barrels of crude oil from Iran to Malaysia in the Gulf of Aden off Yemen . Both the incidents underlined the need for the intenational community to adress urgently  various issues of maritime terroirsm.
Before we delve deeper into challenges of the maritime security regime it is necessary to  examine the reasons for the possibilty of a violent catastrophic maritme act ; albeit not        causing  high human casualty it will still have  grave economic effects on global trade . Post 9/11 the hardening of air and land targets in the form of increased secutiy of vulnerable targets on land and the heightened security at airports will lead to the possibility of terrorist organiations seeking newer and  softer targets . The high seas may be explotied by these organisations and other non state actors for various illegal activities as it is imposiible to provide constant and consistent security on the high seas. The maritime domain lies open to those who seek to cripple economies and cause severe global repurcussions.This is specially true of the growing Asia Pacific economies. For instance China, Japan and South Korea constiutte nearly 78% of ther global order book in

terms of tonnage. This increased trade flow and the growth of regional navies would not have gone unnoticed by the actors of maritime terorism. The continued rising demand for energy has made the sea routes of transpotration extremely vulnerable as has been seen by the attack on Limburg. With the growing energy demands the sea routes will see not only an increase in traffic that will make it more difficult to provide security for but also the bigger ships which will offer larger targets .Sufficent intelligence is available about planned  attacks on the American naval vessels at Changi Naval Base in Singaopre and about the Hizbollah reconnaisance of the Straits of Singapore for possible acts of terrorism. Suicide  attacks on commercial and military vessels also cannot be ruled out . The LTTE by its consitent and successful suicide attacks  on the Sri lankan Naval vessels has exposed the vulnerability of  bigger crafts when attacked by small swift converted crafts . There also arises the possibility of hijacking of commercial vessels, pasenger ships and oil tankers  in the high seas for the purposes of suicide missions, for  hostage taking , for ransom or for  smuggling wepons, WMDs  and other illegal activities. Ships carrying flammable materials or chemicals could also be hijacked and used to destroy other vessels. In March 2003, the Dewi Madrim, a chemical tanker off the coast of Sumatra, was boarded by pirates from a speedboat. They were armed with machine guns and they  disabled the ship's radio, took the helm and steered the vessel, altering speed, for about an hour. It is evident that the terrorist organisations are well aware of the vulnerabilites of the vessls on the high seas and have not precluded the possibility of

future attacks on them. Therefore , two main challenges are placed before the maritime security regime
(a)    the safe passage of goods and passengers
(b)   to ensure that the sea lanes remain open for the free flow of goods and resources
The SUA Convention was the result of the initative of Professor Ferrari Bravo following the Achille Lauro incident which was joined by Austria and Egypt. A draft modeled on the Hague and Montreal Conventions13was submitted at the International Maritime Organization (IMO). The SUA Convnetion does  not deal so much with the suppression of such acts as with apprehension, conviction and punishment of those commiting them. The Preamble stating the purpose of the Convention reads
….urgent need to develop international co-operation between States in devisingand adopting effective and practical measures for the prevention of unlawful acts against the safety of maritime navigation, and the prosecution and punishment of the perpetrators,
Article 3 in great detail enumerates the various offences that committed unlawfully and intentionally come under the purveiw of the Convention. Article 13 of the SUA Convention requires States to cooperate in the prevention of the offences against the safety of maritime navigation.

The SUA Convention in the same manner as the other anti terrorism Conventions has at its core the principle  under international law the application of the maxim aut punire aut dedere (extradite or prosecute) i.e. the offender must be punished by the State of refuge or surrendered to the State which can and will punish .
The SUA Convnetion Article 11 (4) provides that
the offence set forth [in the Convention] shall be treated, for the purpose of extradition between State Parties ,as if they had committed not only in the place in which they occurred but also in a place within the jurisdictoin of the State Party requesting extradition.
The Convention therefore clearly defines the offences constituing piracy and obligates certain States and authorizes other to establish jurisdiction, and places  an  obligation on the State in which the offenders are found either to extradite them or submit them to its authorities for prosecution.
The SUA Convnetion also has a vast geographic application and its provisons permit effective legal action against those commtiing maritime terrorism.14 If limitations were placed on its geographical scope: if acts such as muder had been omitted from the definiton of the offences  or the jurisdictional provision to extradite or prosecute had been narrowed- the Convention would have been seriously hampered . Limiting the jurisdiction to the flag State and the State of nationality of the offender or obliging the

State in which the offender is found to extradite or prosecute would have reduced the impact of the Convnetoin. If the State of nationality of the offender and the flag State were to show disinterest or unwillingness in prosecuting and if they would be the only ones to have jurisdiciton or a right  to extradition the offender may go unpunished . This would defeat the very purpose for which th eConvention was crafted.
 Even thogh exisitng rules of international law set a different basis for jurisdiction unless jurisdiction is extended as the SUA Convention effectively does,  international terrorism cannot be countered. In this sense the Convention goes beyond the principles of customary international law. In this contexrt the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI),   a an initative of the United States in May 2003 for maritime security 15 can be seen as a mere duplication of certain principles of the SUA Convention ; those provisions that go beyond the Convnetion are a direct contravention of well established rules of international law that severly erode the princilpes of territorial sovereignity and territorial jurisdiction of the seas.The school of thought that support the PSI therfore, require  to converge the principles as laid downin the  SUA Convention with well established principles of international law to apprecite the ambit of the Convnetion : and if the intention be  to plug any perceived lacuna then the  thrust  should be towards extending the principles not directly contravening them. The multilateral Convnetion ( as contrasted with the unilateral “intiative” ) has as its aim the intention to deter and punish acts of maritime terorism and provide jurisdictional basis that is required for a State whose fundamental interest are threatened by terrorists as also  to invest in the States the right to

prosecute the perpetrators of the acts. Thus Article 6 of the SUA Convention confers widest jurisdiction on the States over terrorist actions.
Protocols to the United Nations Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Maritime Navigation  (SUA Protocol) is a definite move to address the issue of maritime terrorism. On October 14 2005, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Diplomatic Conference in London adopted two treaties with significant nonproliferation, counter terrorism and ship-boarding provisions.  These treaties are Protocols to the UN Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Maritime Navigation (SUA) and its related Protocol on Fixed Platforms.  The SUA and the Fixed Platforms Protocol are two of the twelve UN Conventions16 that deal with different forms of terrorism.  The new Protocols are intended overcome the lacuna in exiting international law regime in the worldwide fight against terrorism.
The SUA Protocol17 provides the first international treaty framework for combating and prosecuting anyone who uses a ship as a weapon or as a means to carry out a terrorist attack, or who transports terrorists or cargo destined to support weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programs by ship.

This pact also establishes a mechanism to facilitate boarding of ships suspected of engaging in these activities in international waters. The new nonproliferation language strengthens the international legal basis to impede and prosecute the trafficking of WMD and associated delivery systems and related materials on the high seas in commercial vessels by requiring state parties to criminalize such transport.  These offenses are consistent with existing international nonproliferation treaties.
The SUA Protocol explicitly provides that the rights, obligations and responsibilities of States under international law  -- including the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), and the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) -- are not affected. This new counter terrorism language specifies how a ship or fixed platform could be used criminally.  The SUA Protocol also criminalizes the transport of fugitives who have committed an offense as defined by the existing twelve U.N. Terrorism Conventions and Protocols. Further, the ship boarding provisions create a full set of procedures and protections to facilitate access to any vessel suspected of being involved in a SUA offense.
The Protocols resulted from more than three years of intensive negotiations.  They were opened for signature on February 14, 2006; the SUA Protocol entered into force 90 days after the twelfth country (three countries in the case of the Fixed Platforms Protocol) signed it without reservation as to ratification, acceptance or approval (or deposits an instrument to that effect).
The new nonproliferation offenses strengthen the international legal basis to impede and prosecute the trafficking of WMD, their delivery systems and related materials on the high seas in commercial ships by requiring States parties to the Protocol to criminalize such transport.  These transport offenses are subject to specific knowledge and intent requirements that ensure the protection of legitimate trade and innocent seafarers.  The nonproliferation offenses are consistent with existing international nonproliferation treaties, and the SUA Protocol explicitly provides that the rights, obligations and responsibilities of States under international law -- including the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), and the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) are not affected.
The new counter terrorism offenses criminalize the use of a ship or a fixed platform to threaten or intimidate persons, States or international organizations, including when:
(1)   explosive, radioactive material or a biological, chemical or nuclear weapon is used against, on or discharged from a ship or fixed platform;
(2)    certain hazardous or noxious substances are discharged from a ship or fixed platform; or
(3)    any other use is made of a ship in a manner that may lead to or causes death, serious injury or damage. 

The SUA Protocol also criminalizes transport of fugitives who have committed an offense under the other twelve UN terrorism Conventions and Protocols.
The ship boarding provisions establish a comprehensive set of procedures and protections designed to facilitate the boarding of a vessel that is suspected of being involved in a SUA offense.  Consistent with existing international law and practice, SUA boardings can only be conducted with the express consent of the flag state.  In addition to eliminating the need to create time-consuming ad hoc boarding arrangements when facing the immediacy of ongoing criminal activity, under the Protocol the ship boarding provisions provide robust safeguards that ensure the protection of innocent seafarers.
These issue have to be minutely examined in the light of the fact some of the major  waterpassages  although supporting international passage are territoial waters and are therfore subject to territorial jurisdiction. This under international law  raises questions of soverignity that cannot be so easily circumvented. It is for this very reasons that several states have not been forthcoming with support for the United States  Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) . The significant fact that the United States is not a signatory to the SUA Convention and has sought an initiative outside the international legal regime cannot be ignored either.
It becomes imperative for the international community to formulate and implement  robust  intenrnational laws that deter all criminal and violent activities by pirates and

terrorists. Counter terorism measures have to be constructed around the concepts of  detection and deterrence of attacks as well as aimed at mimnizing the damage from actual attacks. For example any attack at  the choke points of sea trafic viz.the Panama Canal, Straits of Hormuz and Straits of Malacca could lead to the shutting down of sea traffic which could throw the entire sea transport system for a lentgh of time that would severely affect the global trade system.
The 2005 Protocol to the SUA Convention added a new Article 3bis which states that a person commits an offence within the meaning of the Convention if that person unlawfully and intentionally:
  • when the purpose of the act, by its nature or context, is to intimidate a population, or to compel a Government or an international organization to do or to abstain from any act:
    - uses against or on a ship or discharging from a ship any explosive, radioactive material or BCN (biological, chemical, nuclear) weapon in a manner that causes or is likely to cause death or serious injury or damage;
    - discharges, from a ship, oil, liquefied natural gas, or other hazardous or noxious substance, in such quantity or concentration that causes or is likely to cause death or serious injury or damage;
    - uses a ship in a manner that causes death or serious injury or damage;
  • transports on board a ship any explosive or radioactive material, knowing that it is intended to be used to cause, or in a threat to cause, death or serious injury or damage for the purpose of intimidating a population, or compelling a Government or an international organization to do or to abstain from doing any act;
  • transports on board a ship any BCN weapon, knowing it to be a BCN weapon;
  • any source material, special fissionable material, or equipment or material especially designed or prepared for the processing, use or production of special fissionable material, knowing that it is intended to be used in a nuclear explosive activity or in any other nuclear activity not under safeguards pursuant to an IAEA comprehensive safeguards agreement; and
  • transports on board a ship any equipment, materials or software or related technology that significantly contributes to the design, manufacture or delivery of a BCN weapon, with the intention that it will be used for such purpose.}
A new Article 8bis in the 2005 Protocol covers co-operation and procedures to be followed if a State Party desires to board a ship flying the flag of a State Party when the requesting Party has reasonable grounds to suspect that the ship or a person on board the ship is, has been, or is about to be involved in, the commission of an offence under the Convention.
Article 2bis broadens the range of offences included in the Protocol. A person commits an offence if that person unlawfully and intentionally, when the purpose of the act, by its nature or context, is to intimidate a population, or to compel a Government or an international organization to do or to abstain from doing any act, uses against or on a

fixed platform or discharges from a fixed platform any explosive, radioactive material or BCN weapon in a manner that causes or is likely to cause death or serious injury or damage; or discharges from a fixed platform, oil, liquefied natural gas, or other hazardous or noxious substance, in such quantity or concentration, that it causes or is likely to cause death or serious injury or damage; or threatens, with or without a condition, as is provided for under national law, to commit an offence.
All international Conventions from the perspective of the rule of law while being comprehensive are also subject to application by a State in accordance with its diplomatic and political priority. However international conventions, like international institutions, are not be evaluated for successes. They reflect the desire of the majority of the global community to deal with issues of great concern to them .The tendency to minimize their importance by constant reference to the lack of precise definition of terrorism takes away from the fact that the twelve international conventions that deal with various forms and facets of terrorism actually provide perfect working definitions of terrorism. The States have to show greater responsibility in enforcing the law in pursuance of these conventions but that in no manner mitigates the principles of international law as laid down in these Conventions. Therefore, to use the ruse of weakness of the Conventions (where in reality the weakness is the consequence of certain States of the international community to pledge themselves to implement them) to initiate principles that violate the basic tents of international law would be a dangerous precedent. Furthermore, adherence

to international law has as envisaged by the UN Charter advanced global security and peace; therefore to create parallel systems on issues already addressed by the global community by multilateral conventions within the international legal regime and approved and accepted by majority of States should not be encouraged.

1 Ian Brownlie, Principles of Public International Law, Oxford University Press 1979 p. 238.
2 Ibid.
3 Mare Liberum, 1609. See also Malcolm Shaw, International Law, Cambridge University Press, 1997 p. 390
4 Mare Liberum, cap.v.
5 The 1958 Convention on the High Seas came into force in 1962; the 1958 Convention on the Territorial Sea and the Contiguous Zone came into force in 1964; the 1958 Convention on the Continental Shelf came into force in 1964; the 1958 Convention on Fishing and Conservation of Living Resources came into force in 1966.
6 The 1982 Convention contains 320 Articles and 9 Annexes.
7 The 1958 Convention on the High Seas
8 Article 101 of 1982 Convention on the Law of the Sea6 (UNCLOS)
9 See also Article 15 of the High Seas Convention 1958.
10 P.C.I.J.,  Ser.A,no.10 (1927),p.70
11 U.N.General Assembly Resolution 40/61 (1985)
12 Meaasures to Prevent UnlawfulActs Which Threaten the Safety of Ships and the Securityof Their  Passengers and Crews, A.584 (14) of 20 November 1985.A Convention for the Suppressionof UnlawfulActsagainst the Safety of MaritimeNavigation was concluded in Rome and opened for signature in march
13Hague Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Seizure of Aircraft 1970; Montreal Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against the Safety of Civil Aviation 1971.
14 Malvina Halberstam, Terrorism on the High Seas: the Achille Lauro, Piracy and the IMO Convention on Maritime Safety, Am.J.Int’l L. Vol. 82, 1988
15 the PSI consists of 15 core countries and 60 other countries that have agreed to participate on an ad hoc basis.
16 (1) Convention on Offences and Certain Other Acts Committed On Board Aircraft (Tokyo Convention) 1963;(2) Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Seizure of Aircraft (Hague Convention 1970); (3) Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against the Safety of Civil Aviation (Montreal Convention) 1971; (4) Conventon on the Prevention and Punishment of Crimes Against Internationally Protected Persons 1973; (5) International Convention Against the Taking of Hostages 1979; (6) Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material 1980; (7)Protocol for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts of Violence at Airports Serving International Civil Aviation- 1988; (8) Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against the Safety of Maritime Navigation1988; (9) Protocol for Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against the Safety of Fixed Platforms Located on the Continental Shelf 1988; (10) Convention on the Marking of Plastic Explosives for the Purpose of Detection1991;International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombing 1997; International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism 1999.
17  Protocols to the United Nations Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Maritime Navigation

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                PhD (Intl Law)

The age of global trade systems and interconnectivity and the dependence of a nation on other nations for its growth and international stature  has underlined the fact that the impact of internal conflict of a country is no longer confined to its territorial limits. Conflicts situations have territorial and extra territorial consequences: immediate impact upon the neighbouring countries and indirect import upon the entire region in which the country geographically exists. The conflict situation in some nations have also influenced geo politics to the extent that  the world community has seen it necessary not only to be concerned and search for methods to counter or reduce the  conflict  situations and if  possible diffuse them; also should such need arise , with  international  consensus, censure the ruling establishment of the country. Although the South Asia region has several countries caught in the vortex of conflict, perhaps none faces more complex challenges than Myanmar .Undeniably, Myanmar is a nation fraught with multi layered conflicts which has resulted in instability, reflected not only within its own territory but the consequences of which have deep resonance in its neighbouring countries and the entire region of South Asia.
Consequences of the long lasting internal conflict in Myanmar were examined at a Seminar in Singapore conducted by the Centre for Security Analysis on 26 and 27 May, 2010. The papers presented and the discussions amongst the informed participants highlighted a range of consequences of the conflict which are not widely known. This volume includes the papers and the ensuing discussions for the use of scholars and policy makers. 
The conflict in Myanmar which is complex and multi layered has been variously seen as (a) a conflict between the Tatmadaw and the pro democracy forces, (b) a conflict between ethnic minorities and the ruling military junta of ethnic Burmese, (c) a conflict between the ceasefire groups and other ethnic armies. However, these divisions do not take into account the innumerable related issues that have made the conflict situation more complex and created deep distrust for the ruling establishment among its people. The internal conflict in Myanmar has its historical inception from the time the country freed itself from its colonial shackles. Each successive change in the ruling establishment has pushed it further and further into a deep chasm where ethnic rebels, insurgents and drug lords thrive and by their actions have drained it economically.
In recounting the gradual progression of the conflicts and their eventual crystallization in present form Dr Tin Maung Maung Than underlines two elements that have influenced the policies of the Tatmadaw (the Royal Force).  The Tatmadaw sees the military rulers as the sole guardian of Burmese interest and has identified the military’s  interest as the core national interest thereby justifying its existence and its policies. Therefore, the military response is seen as the legitimate and sole response to contain the internal threats of Myanmar and to deal with possible external ones. This is apparent not only in the state centric policies of the junta but also in the consequent expansion of the military forces, the acquisition of sophisticated weaponry and the constant modernization and reorganization of its defence capabilities. According to the paper, the newer challenges that the military junta may have to face are those that are the fallout of resource exploitation due to the partial opening up of the economy and the increasing demand for a role in policy making by the ethnic minorities. The elections conducted in Nov 2010 did not hold much hope in this context as it did not intend to address the core issues of ethnicity . In its dealing with the  internal conflicts and possible external threats the question arises  whether  the Tatmadaw  will pursue  the policy it has followed  for years and Dr. Than’s conclusion is that it will have to adopt a new paradigm in view of the fact that  its military prowess has not been able to crush the armed insurgent groups. He also holds the view that the elected civilianized executive will have to face the challenge of placating the military that has remained unchallenged so long.
  Consequences of the internal conflict situation in Myanmar extends beyond its borders. The internal conflicts and their transnational consequences form the crux of Kerstin Duell’s paper.  The paper explains that the conflict is not just amongst the various parties pitted against the military junta but also against each other. The conflict in Myanmar has also been identified as a conflict between democratic rights and governance as well as between ethnic rights and self determination. The conflicts are further complicated because of the deadlock that has formed between the ruling military junta and the various groups. The chronology of events leading to the current status clarifies that Myanmar has   three overwhelming problems which have internal and external consequences, and several serious issues that stem from those problems.  The three main problems are :  the prevalent ethnic disunity , economic underdevelopment and the production and distribution  of drugs and narcotics .The other issues that  are detrimental to the peace and growth in Myanmar are lack of governance in some areas , lack of human security, poor public health  and thriving illicit border trade in drugs and humans  leading to the  establishment of  private power lords .Taking into account the military rulers’ reluctance to bring a regime change, there only possibility of  easing  restrictions on Myanmar is  by constructive engagements through regional bodies like the ASEAN .   Sanctions against Myanmar, as apparent from similar situations in other parts of the world, only heaps suffering on the people of Myanmar and does not necessarily put pressure on the military rulers. Opening up the economy will permit countries of the region to access the rich natural resources of Myanmar which in turn would rejuvenate the slow economic growth. Besides, it is clear from the paper that the military rulers, due to their historical past , are always suspicious of foreigners and tend to be seclusive in their policies. They have also used the interest of the two powers in the region viz. China and India to counter balance the excessive influence of one or the other.
Discussion about the effects of the internal strife in Myanmar upon the neigbouring countries involves country-specific studies. Effects on countries that are discussed in detail are Thailand, Bangladesh, China and India.  The paper on the effects of conflicts in Myanmar on Bangladesh by Dr Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury records the official statement of the military government of Myanmar while according recognition to the newly formed state of Bangladesh in 1972 .The statement underscores the recognition as an outcome of the desire of the military junta of Myanmar to “live fraternally as neigbours” with Bangladesh and the establishment of a Border of Peace. The paper explains that the internal conflict in Myanmar has affected Bangladesh in several ways and offers possible ways by which the two countries can co operate to reduce the effects. The crackdown in 1978 led to the exodus of 250,000 Rohingya Muslims into Bangladesh which seriously affected the demography of the country and caused economic and social imbalances. The subsequent crackdown in 1991 further exacerbated the situation with increased influx of refugees. Although ongoing efforts are being made for resettlement, it is pointed out that 21,000 still remain in Bangladesh as stateless person. These stateless people are exposed to various radicalizing influences which have resulted in major security concerns for the                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   region. The paper also proposes that Myanmar should consider resolving   the issues of the Rohingya Muslims with the help of the two major neighbours China and India playing a significant role in the resolution process; as well as the involvement of certain internationally recognized NGOs of Bangladesh who have successfully played a major role in the economic development of Bangladesh. Early implementation of the joint road building project of Myanmar and Bangladesh would also help economic growth in the Arakan region of Myanmar.
 Discussions of the effect of conflict in Myanmar in  the paper by Li Chenyang                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           is specific to the conflict between ceasefire groups and the military junta in the region of Northern Myanmar abutting China and its consequence upon the specific area . The activities of the ceasefire groups (and he specifies them as five groups) controlling 50,000 square kms but having influence over 100, 00 square kms and over a population of 1,750,000 range from drugs and gambling to pornography. Referring to the Kokang Event of 2009 wherein an estimated 30,000 Burmese refugees poured into China, serious threats have been posed to security and stability of southwest China. Besides, there lurks the potential of another armed conflict in Northern Myanmar which will have severe impact on the Chinese territory.  Illegal activities in the region has caused major security risk and created some strains in the Sino-Myanmar relations. The overall Sino Myanmar relations and their strategic cooperation tend to get                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      strained with each new wave of conflict.  There is also a negative impact of conflict on alternative cultivation and alternative enterprise which have been created to counter the drug problem. The other points of discussion in the paper are the impact of  the conflict on anti-drug co operation, the worsening drug situation due to illegal border trade and the loss to assets and                                                                                                                                                                           property due to the conflict situation in Myanmar .China’s current and future vital national  interest in Myanmar rests on two major requirements : energy security and building access into the Indian Ocean which have greatly influenced strategic co operation between Myanmar and China.
The paper on the trans border effects of internal conflicts in Myanmar on Northeast                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      India by K Yohme clearly enunciates the emerging concept that political boundaries should no longer  be seen as lines dividing land and people; instead ,  borderlands  should  be recognized as areas of connectivity. Political boundaries should be treated as gateways for economic and social exchanges for the benefit the regions lying on both sides of the border. . Myanmar and the Northeastern states of India viz Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur and Mizoram have direct borders and the effect of the conflict in Myanmar is widely felt within these states. However, the policy of the governments of Myanmar and India has been to view the effect in this region only from a security perspective and this has led to negative transnational consequences. The paper points out that the effects of the conflict, in reality,  go far beyond security concerns and   affect the economic and social ethos of the region.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
The border region between Myanmar and the Northeastern states are very porous and continuous cross border activities take place in the region. In the absence of a clear policy about the region, much of these activities are termed as “illegal” and has led to the alienation of the Northeast states of India and the border regions of Myanmar. The era of globalization and  the  progressive economic thinking by the governments of India and Myanmar has resulted in the launch of new policies to develop the region and support peace in the border areas. Both the governments have entered into cease fire agreement with the ethnic armed groups in the region with                                                                                                                                                   the aim to build social and economic infrastructure and encourage participation of the local people in the development of the region. The region is fraught with several problems : similar conditions existing on both sides of the border has created linkages among the armed groups in                                                                                                    the region and has reinforced the culture of violence and facilitated the creation of support and the establishment of sanctuaries .Illicit drugs and gun trade have led to the proliferation of insurgent groups in the Northeastern states of India. A parallel economy system has evolved in the region creating new and complex problems in the economic and social spheres. High incidence of drug use, the rise in numbers of those afflicted by H IV has caused serious concerns. However, prohibiting cross border movements for social and economic activities would be counterproductive , resulting in the growth of criminal and anti social activities. The recommendations in the paper are effective government monitoring to reduce the negative implications of cross border trade and proper identification methods along with proper monitoring mechanisms which would reduce illegal movements. Infrastructure development in the border areas in the Northeast states should be viewed as building strategic assets.
Thailand has historical and ethnic connections with Myanmar but the unsettled border region and the continuous conflict situation in Myanmar is a cause of deep worry for Thailand. Citing the creation of the Buffer Zone by Thailand, the paper by Pavin Chachavalpong discusses the negative impact of the buffer policy pursued by Thailand. The buffer zone along the border supported the anti Rangoon ethnic minorities challenging the military regime in Myanmar. The financial and logistic support extended by Thailand to the ethnic rebels worsened the situation. Over a period of time the buffer zone that was intended to ensure the security of Thailand’s border  transformed into an area that has created more problems than the existing ones that it was meant to counter. It has become an impediment in the way of fostering positive bilateral relationship between the two countries and created mutual distrust. . The Burmese refugees have also caused  demographic changes in Thailand leading to upheavals in the societal structure of Thailand. The perception of the local population vis a vis the Burmese refugees is that of preferential treatment being accorded to the refugees by the Government. The competition between the local population and the refugees for resources has also caused problems. The illegal immigrants have created an uncontrolled labour market; creating  other problems like cheap labour, bribery, increased number of sex workers  and a host of public health issues. Illegal arms trade, proliferation of small arms, and drug trafficking are other major causes of worry for the Thai authorities. The other issue that is important for Thailand is energy security; therefore, it is imperative for Thailand to maintain good relations with Myanmar. Thailand requires the natural gas imported from Myanmar through pipelines and the electricity from the hydro power the dams of Myanmar but their erratic policy towards Myanmar has resulted in mutual distrust.
India’s commitment to democracy and human rights for a long time fashioned its policies in the Myanmar context. As pointed out in the paper of B P  Routary, with the formulation of India’s Look East policy, a new approach has been developed by India towards the countries in the region and specifically towards Myanmar. It became apparent that a policy based entirely on a high moral ground and based on India’s own values of democracy to be made applicable to all, does not necessarily serve India’s national interest.  India required that it engage Myanmar in a comprehensive strategic dialogue which would deal with issues that were the common concerns of both countries. Cross border insurgency, arms smuggling and border management are vital to both. China’s greater role in building infrastructure in Myanmar and China's emergence as the fourth largest investor in Myanmar are causes for serious concern to India. Besides providing economic assistance to Myanmar, China has supplied the military junta with weapons and training. China’s apparent interest also extends to accessing energy and natural resources in Myanmar and it seeks through Myanmar to extend its strategic access to the Indian Ocean. Therefore, India has crafted a policy exhibiting greater patience in regime reform and not allowing the internal conflicts and human rights issues to influence its dialogue with the military junta.  There are other sectors viz. power, hydrocarbon and energy, in which India has national interest. The construction for road linking the North Eastern states   of India to Myanmar and India’s comprehensive package for the long neglected North Eastern states fulfills both its commitment to the North Eastern states of India as well as to Myanmar.
When conjoining the conflict in Myanmar with the elements of regional integration and discussing the responses, three broad questions have to be addressed: to what extent does Myanmar’s military mindset interfere with the concept, what investments can the countries in the region make to ensure peace in Myanmar and do such opportunities exist and if they do what are the challenges that they will have to overcome. Anna Louis Strachtan lays great emphasis on regional integration identifying Myanmar as having great potential to be a trading partner between neighbouring countries of the region. A greater responsibility is prescribed for the countries especially Thailand, Bangladesh, India and China by which they can play a positive albeit diverse roles in facilitating conflict resolution. The main factor that is seen as possibly achieving this goal is fostering economic prosperity in Myanmar. The countries in South and Southeast Asia need to pursue greater regional co operation not only as part of national interest but also as part of fulfilling the desire to maintain stability and security in the region. Economic integration in the form of physical connectivity through trade by countries of the region in their individual capacity as well as through the regional organizations would be a positive step in achieving the mentioned goal. ASEAN, SAARC, BIMSTEC, and a progressive ASEAN Economic Community have all been invested with the opportunity of increased engagement with Myanmar. The example of neighbouring countries investing in building infrastructure to promote                 stability and economic growth in Afghanistan exhibits how such enterprise can be successful. There have been setbacks in Afghanistan and specifically for India,  which has had to face destruction of property and death of its personnel engaged in infrastructure building from the elements opposed to bringing peace. Despite that, a proactive role in the movement to stability and peace through investment is a better option than political pressure in Myanmar . A change is desired in the isolationist attitude of the military junta and their mindset of being distrustful of any foreign influence which has resulted in the partial segregation of Myanmar in the region.
Echoing that   benefits will accrue by economic development in Myanmar through increased trade and foreign investment Larry Jagan envisages a movement that will create ethnic integration. Myanmar’s military junta places high emphasis on territorial integrity and therefore they see themselves as the single unifying force in the country. The protective isolationist ideology of the military junta has not benefited the country; therefore,  there should be sincere efforts to integrate the ethnic minorities groups into the political mainstream. Unfortunately, the election of Nov 2010 did not move towards this. The indicators that set out the military junta’s agenda for retaining control was apparent in the election process that has been formulated therefore, subsequent to  the election no real solution has emerged in Myanmar.  A federal structure which would include ethnic minorities has greater chance of ushering transition on the socio-political level. Permitting the ethnic minorities to retain their identity by allowing education to be carried out in their own language is also suggested. 
 Ramu Mannivanan underlines another aspect of the dialogue and reconciliation process. Referring to the Seven -Phase Roadmap, the paper draws attention to the first step of the fulfillment of such a plan which is the holding of free and fair elections. Questions do arise regarding the true commitment of the military junta  to this end  and whether elections would lead to the other steps that are mentioned viz. step-by-step implementation towards a democratic system, convening the Hluttaw (legislative body) and the drafting and adoption of a new constitution. The unwillingness of the military junta to prune its powers and  the Proposal for Reconciliation in Burma (2009) which seems to address the apprehension of the military junta regarding the transition to democracy rather than address the concerns of the ethnic minority groups are some primary concerns  Undoubtedly , rejection of the military’s junta’s right to rule will not solve the present conflict; creation of an environment for dialogue through protracted engagement could be the key to economic and social transformation in Myanmar.
Two events have recently transpired in Myanmar that is significant. First, the nationwide elections which were held in November 2010 , and the other the release of Ms Aung San Suu Kyi , the leader of the National league for Democracy held in house arrest since July 1989. The elections were held in tightly controlled conditions wherein political activity was denied to  certain  parties and individuals. However, the party formed by the military junta was provided with overwhelming facilities leading to total lack of credibility about the fairness of the election and subjecting it to sever criticism from several countries. Although the international community welcomed the release of Ms Aung San Suu Kyi, there is yet much speculation as to her future political role in Myanmar. Meanwhile, the ongoing   clashes between the armed dissidents and the military forces continue resulting in thousands of refugees fleeing from Myanmar to Thailand.
Internal conflict in Myanmar had resulted in wide ranging external consequences in several countries in the region. These consequences have themselves become driving forces in the continuation of the conflict as have been discussed in detail in  the papers of this volume. It is therefore , important that policy makers inside and outside Myanmar have a clear  insight of  the situation   and evolve a series of options in the areas of economic and  foreign policy which influence the social and human spheres.