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Trans-Border Migration: Bridging the Gap between State and Human Security

26 April 2021


Trans-border migration was not considered a severe threat in South Asia in the immediate aftermath of Partition in 1947, at least until the passport system was introduced in the early 1950s as the phase was marked as a period of political transition in the newly independent states of India and Pakistan. Indeed, the debate on trans-border migration heightened only in the past few decades and today, this phenomenon is regarded as a massive security challenge for the modern nation-state. The ‘mixed’ and massive flow of people out of one South Asian country to another, exerts pressures on the recipient country’s resources and tests the limits of its governance systems. Very often the undocumented migrants are perceived to be ‘illegal outsiders’ and ‘encroachers’. They are faced with economic and identity crises which, multiplied manifold, accumulate to a serious humanitarian emergency. This paper problematises the phenomenon of migration—both legal and voluntary, and illegal and forced—against the dichotomous perspectives of ‘state security’ and ‘human security’.


Anasua Basu Ray Chaudhury
Anasua Basu Ray Chaudhury is Senior Fellow with ORF’s Neighbourhood Initiative. She specialises in South Asia, energy politics, forced migration and women in conflict zones.

Ambar Kumar Ghosh
Ambar Kumar Ghosh is Research Assistant at ORF Kolkata. He is currently working on the project ‘Understanding Public Perception: India and China.’


india neighbourhood indian foreign policy occasional papers strategic studies great power dynamics