Drone warfare in South Asia and beyond

Drone warfare in South Asia and beyond

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Conference on “The Expanding Meaning of Drone Warfare in Southasia and Beyond”, 16-17 April, 2016, Kathmandu
The Hri Institute and Himal Southasian have been deeply concerned about the new method of warfare that has emerged in Southasia over the past decade – viz. the use of drones. Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), guided by satellite and directed by remote controllers, can be said to have been properly inaugurated – and metastasized – in the Southasian theatres of war in Afghanistan and Pakistan.While proponents of this technology insist that they are averting the massive loss of life that would occur with traditional forms of warfare and bombings, those opposed maintain that warfare by UAV constitutes ‘targeted killing’, and their use opens up large areas of international laws of war and international humanitarian law for contestation. The human rights implications of the deployment of drones are significant, and the use of drones has introduced an additional element of instability in the relations between India, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
There has been insufficient discussion on UAV warfare, at the global as well as regional level. Meanwhile, the very countries and societies which have been at the forefront of the international laws of war and peace over the past century are today involved in the practice of drone warfare. The upcoming conference will examine the impact of drone warfare, from the jurisprudential to humanitarian, and the impact on the ground where UAVs are deployed. We aim to arrive at a deeper understanding of how drones have been used thus far, implications for future conflicts, as well as the increasing use for surveillance and curbing of democratic freedoms.
The conference will be of interest to policy makers and society ‘gatekeepers’ in the countries of Southasia, as part of the region most affected presently by drone warfare. The discussion will also be relevant to defense studies researchers, jurists, theoreticians and activists involved with international humanitarian law and the laws of war. Plus, whoever is interested in the spread of drone warfare, including the use by non-state actors.

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