Contemporary South Asia

South Asia, which includes India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Maldives and Nepal, is a focus of global attention. The political system of Pakistan is the culmination of both military and democratic rule. In spite of various attempts democracy didn’t really last for long. Pakistan has been ruled by the military for a relatively large portion of the time since its independence in 1947. Failure of Democracy has led to the prolonged periods of military rule. Bangladesh is at crossroads in its march towards democratic order. It was a part of Pakistan (1947-1971) and emerged as an independent nation only in 1971 after the Indo-Pak war. Indian government had supported their demand for independence. The country was born out of a long democratic movement initially aimed at achieving autonomy for the rights of the majority population of Pakistan. However, almost the entire population of Bangladesh was drawn in an armed struggle. In 1991 the country was freed from the clutches of military rule and the peoples’ sustained struggle for democracy has at last triumphed. In 1990, Nepal made a dramatic political transition from a traditional Kingdom to a modern constitutional monarchy. In 2006, due to pro democracy protest, the House of Representatives were restored. However, transition to democracy is incomplete. After independence, the Sinhala community dominated politics in Sri Lanka. The neglect of Tamil concerns led to militant Tamil nationalism. LTTE started demanding a separate country for the Tamils of Sri Lanka. Despite the conflict it has maintained a democratic system. India-Pakistan Conflicts are culmination of both the governments’ suspicion of each other. Indian government has been blaming Pakistan government for using a strategy of low-key violence by helping the Kashmiri militants. They fought four wars. India’s relations with Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, on the one hand reflects a close understanding with all but on the other the fear of smaller countries that India wants to be a regionally- dominant power cannot be ruled out. The South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is an initiative of South Asian states to evolve cooperation through multilateral means. More Keywords: - SAFTA, Maoist, Seven Party Alliance, Constitutional Monarchy, LTTE

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