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Preface to Special Issue and Contents

Author: Managing Editor

Category: Strategic Studies


Borders have traditionally been seen as the physical boundaries that separate nations. However, in a globalized context with ever increasing interactions between societies, perceived social, cultural and economic borders are also being transcended by communities and peoples. We also find that the historical constrct of borders, though contested in prevailing geopolitical scenario, hold portent lessons to address the issues that geopolitical aspirations are creating in the modern world. This Special Issue in seven papers examines borders from historical, cultural and strategic perspectives.

Full Text:

Globalization has changed the traditional concept of borders. Bilateral, regional and multilateral agreements between nations, international human rights regime and the geopolitical realities of a multi-polar world are creating environments in which national perceptions on borders are increasingly challenged by conflicting interests.

Though we are witnessing America's attempts at walling Mexico out in an open attempt to check immigration, such an attempt underlines an anxiety over protecting its borders in the globalized economic context. Elsewhere, China's vigorous pursuit of BRI reveals an ambitious attempt to expand its virtual border as a sphere of influence beyond its physical borders.

In Europe, despite continuing their dialogue to resolve border disputes through other mechanisms, member nations have come together as EU to facilitate a borderless interaction between peoples and economies for common progress. While BREXIT may impact EU in economic terms, connectivity through seamless communicative networks is predicted to stay owing to obvious advantages derived from it.

In SE Asia, ASEAN has hugely been successful in bringing common economic cooperation and exchange, despite simmering border disputes among members and in common with China over South China Sea.

South Asia stands in contrast with EU and ASEAN as the only region of the world where borders still remain attracted to traditional notions, resulting in overt and covert conflicts. Even though regional mechanisms like SAARC exist to amiably resolve issues, other than bilateral agreements, South Asia continues to witness conflicts inside the region as well as outside, between India and Pakistan & India and China, specifically. The sea frontiers between India and Sri Lanka, though has not led to open conflict, remains the fodder for jousts in both the countries internal politics.

In Americas and Africa, we witness a mix of both the Western and Eastern contexts with reference to borders. Apart from the Falklands War of 1989, no open conflict has erupted to contest over physical borders. Perhaps, internal political stability or the lack of it prevents disruptive conflicts.

In all these generalized assessments, the necessity for economic cooperation for national development appears to be driving the forces of international politics within and beyond their physical borders.

Apart from the physical connotation to borders as manifested in contestations through all means, socio-cultural borders within societies are also witnessing contests and change. Historically marginalized communities are attempting to straddle the barriers to integrate themselves into what we may say ‘main stream’ society. Their struggles hold important lessons for creating a world that holds equality and equitability in opportunity as fundamental to human society.

In erstwhile colonized world, the physical divisions created in the interest of the Empire continue to influence geopolitics in concerned regions. However, revisiting the historical compulsions for drawing physical divisions may yield lessons for addressing the very geopolitical challenges created by that history.

Keeping these perspectives in mind, to appreciate and enhance our understanding of borders in a multidimensional construct, EJSSS is happy to bring out a SPECIAL ISSUE focused on India that looks into Borders from strategic, maritime, social and cultural perspectives.


In this Issue, scholars from across academia and practitioners deal with the under mentioned dimensions:

  1. Geographical Borders – how they evolved and the contests for them, security of physical borders, boundary disputes
  2. Maritime Borders – disputes, vulnerability for internal security, historical connectivity, trade and geopolitical and geostrategic implications
  3. Social & Cultural Borders – Societies, connectivity and contest
  4. Border Management and Threats to Internal Security – Human trafficking, arms smuggling, cross-border terrorist networks, narcotics, illegal immigration, etc.