Chapter 5 Contemporary South Asia Class 12 Political Science Notes

Chapter 5 Contemporary South Asia Notes for Class 12 Political Science is given on this page that will make you aware of the all the topics and ensure consistency in the preparation level. NCERT Solutions for Chapter 5 Contemporary South Asia will help you get a deeper understanding of various topics. Revision notes will be make sure that a student has understood the specifics of every chapter in clear and precise manner.

Chapter 5 Contemporary South Asia Class 12 Political Science Notes

Chapter 5 Contemporary South Asia Class 12 Political Science Notes

What is South Asia?

• South Asia usually includes the following countries: Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The various countries in South Asia do not have the same kind of political systems.

• Pakistan and Bangladesh have  experienced both civilian and military rulers. Nepal was a constitutional monarchy but democracy  has been established there. Democracy can also be seen in Bhutan and Maldives.

The Military and Democracy in Pakistan

• After Pakistan framed its first constitution, General Ayub Khan took over the administration of the country and soon got himself elected. There was popular dissatisfaction against his rule.

• After this, General Yahya Khan took over the control. During Yahya’s military rule, Pakistan faced the Bangladesh crisis, and after a war with India in 1971, East Pakistan broke away to emerge as an independent country called Bangladesh.

• After this, a government was formed under the leadership of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto from 1971 to 1977.

• The Bhutto government was removed by General Zia-ul-Haq in 1977.

• General Zia faced a pro-democracy movement from 1982 onwards and an elected democratic
government was established once again in 1988 under the leadership of Benazir Bhutto. After this, she had to face competition from the Pakistan People’s Party and the Muslim League.

• In 1999, the army stepped in again and General Pervez Musharraf removed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

• In 2001, General Musharraf got himself elected as the President.

• Since 2008, democratically elected leaders have been ruling Pakistan.

Factors that have contributed to Pakistan’s failure in building a stable democracy:

• The social dominance of the military, clergy, and landowning aristocracy has led to the frequent overthrow of elected governments and the establishment of military government.

• Pakistan’s conflict with India has made the pro-military groups more powerful.
• The lack of genuine international support for democratic rule in Pakistan has further encouraged the military to continue its dominance.

Democracy in Bangladesh

• Bangladesh was a part of Pakistan from 1947 to 1971. The people of this region resented the domination of western Pakistan and the imposition of the Urdu language.

• After the partition, they began protests against the unfair treatment meted out to the Bengali culture and language.

• Sheikh Mujib-ur Rahman led the popular struggle against West Pakistani domination. He demanded autonomy for the eastern region.

• In 1970 elections, the Awani league under Sheikh Mujibur Rahman won all seats but the government dominated by the West Pakistani leadership refused to convene the assembly.

• Under the military rule of General Yahya Khan, the Pakistani army tried to suppress the mass movement of the Bengali people. Thousands were killed by the Pakistan army.

• The government of India supported the demand of the people of East Pakistan for their independence and helped them financially and militarily.

• This resulted in a war between India and Pakistan in December 1971 that ended in the surrender of the Pakistani forces in East Pakistan and the formation of Bangladesh as an independent country.

• Bangladesh drafted its constitution declaring faith in secularism, democracy and socialism.

• In 1975 Sheikh Mujib got the constitution amended to shift from the parliamentary to presidential form of government. He also abolished all parties except his own, the Awami League.

• Sheikh Mujib was assassinated and a military rule was established under Ziaur Rahman. He was
assassinated and another military takeover followed under the leadership of Lt Gen H. M. Ershad.

• Mass public protests made Ershad step down in 1990. Elections were held in 1991. Since then representative democracy based on multi-party elections has been working in Bangladesh.

Monarchy and Democracy in Nepal

• Nepal was a Hindu Kingdom in the past but later changed into a constitutional monarchy in the modern period for many years.

• The king accepted the demand for a new democratic constitution in 1990, in the wake of a strong pro-democracy movement.

• During the nineties, the Maoists of Nepal were successful in spreading their influence in many parts of Nepal.

• In 2002, the king abolished the parliament and dismissed the government, thus ending even
the limited democracy that existed in Nepal.

• In April 2006, there were massive, country wide, pro-democracy protests. The largely non-violent movement was led by the Seven Party Alliance (SPA), the Maoists and social activists. The pro-democracy forces achieved their first major victory when the king was forced to restore the House of Representatives that had been dissolved in April 2002.

• In 2008, Nepal became a democratic republic after abolishing the monarchy. In 2015, it adopted a new constitution.

Ethnic Conflict and Democracy in Sri Lanka

• Sri Lanka has retained democracy since its independence in 1948 but it faced a serious challenge from ethnic conflict leading to the demand for secession by one of the regions.

• After its independence, politics in Sri Lanka was dominated by forces that represented the interest of the majority Sinhala community.

• The Sinhala nationalists thought that Sri Lanka should not give ‘concessions’ to the Tamils because
Sri Lanka belongs to the Sinhala people only.

• From 1983 onwards, the militant organisation, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) has been fighting an armed struggle with the army of Sri Lanka and demanding ‘Tamil Eelam’ or a separate country for the Tamils of Sri Lanka. The LTTE controls the northeastern parts of Sri Lanka.

• In 1987, the government of India signed an accord with Sri Lanka and sent troops to stabilise relations between the Sri Lankan government and the Tamils.

• In 1989, the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) pulled out of Sri Lanka without attaining its objective.

• The Scandinavian countries such as Norway and Iceland tried to bring the warring groups back to negotiations. Finally, the armed conflict came to an end, as the LTTE was vanquished in 2009.

• Despite of the conflict, Sri Lanka has registered considerable economic growth and recorded high levels of human development.

India-Pakistan Conflicts

• After independence, India and Pakistan got involved in issue related to Kashmir. It led to wars in 1947-48 and 1965 which failed to settle the matter.

• In 1971, India won a decisive war against Pakistan but the Kashmir issue remained unsettled.

• India’s conflict with Pakistan is also over strategic issues like the control of the Siachen glacier and over acquisition of arms.

• In 1998, India conducted nuclear explosion in Pokaran. Pakistan responded within a few days by carrying out nuclear tests in the Chagai Hills.

• India and Pakistan also have had problems over the sharing of river waters of Indus.

• The two countries are not in agreement over the demarcation line in Sir Creek in the Rann of Kutch.

India and its other neighbours

• The governments of India and Bangladesh have had differences over several issues including the sharing of the Ganga and Brahmaputra river waters.

• The Indian government has been unhappy with Bangladesh’s denial of illegal immigration to India, its support for anti-Indian Islamic fundamentalist groups, Bangladesh’s refusal to allow Indian troops to move through its territory to northeastern India, and its decision not to  export natural gas to India. 

• Nepal and India enjoy a very special relationship. A treaty between the two countries allows the  citizens of the two countries to travel to and work in the other country without visas and passports.  Areas such as trade, scientific cooperation, common natural resources, electricity generation and  interlocking water management grids hold the two countries together, but there are some differences too.

• India has stopped interfering in the internal and ethnic affairs of Sri Lanka since 1987. Both the  countries share a sound relationship now. Both have signed Free Trade Agreement. India supported  Sri Lanka at the time of Tsunami.

• India enjoys a very special relationship with Bhutan too. The efforts made by the Bhutanese monarch  to weed out the guerrillas and militant from northeastern India that operate in his country have been  helpful to India.

• India and Maldives also have a good relationship. India had provided military support to Maldives in  1969 when a mercenary Tamil soldier from Sri Lanka attacked Maldives.

• Nepal and Bhutan, as well as Bangladesh and Myanmar, have had disagreements in the past over the migration of ethnic Nepalese into Bhutan and the Rohingyas into Myanmar, respectively.

• Bangladesh and Nepal have had some differences over the future of the Himalayan river waters.

Peace and Cooperation

• The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is a major regional initiative by the South Asian states to evolve cooperation through multilateral means which began in 1985.

• SAARC members signed the South Asian Free Trade (SAFTA) agreement which promised the formation of a free trade zone for the whole of South Asia.

• SAFTA was signed in 2004 and came into effect on 1 January 2006. SAFTA aims at lowering trade tariffs. But some of our neighbours fear that SAFTA is a way for India to ‘invade’ their markets and to influence their societies and politics through commercial ventures and a commercial presence in their countries.

• Although India-Pakistan relations are of conflict and violence, there have been a series of efforts to manage tensions and build peace.

• China and the United States remain key players in South Asian politics. Sino-Indian relations have improved significantly in the last ten years, but China’s strategic partnership with Pakistan remains a major irritant.

• The US has had good relations with both India and Pakistan since the end of the Cold War and increasingly works as a moderator in India-Pakistan relations.

Timeline of Contemporary South Asia

• 1947: India and Pakistan emerge as independent nations after the end of British rule.

• 1948: Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) gains independence; Indo- Pak conflict over Kashmir.

• 1954-55: Pakistan joins the Cold War military blocs, SEATO and CENTO.

• 1960: India and Pakistan sign the Indus Waters Treaty.

• 1962: Border conflict between India and China.

• 1965: Indo-Pak War; UN India-Pakistan Observation Mission.

• 1966: India and Pakistan sign the Tashkent Agreement; Six-point proposal of Sheikh Mujib-ur Rahman for greater autonomy to East Pakistan.

• March 1971: Proclamation of Independence by leaders of Bangladesh.

• August 1971: Indo-Soviet Treaty of Friendship signed for 20 years.

• December 1971: Indo-Pak War, Liberation of Bangladesh.

• July 1972: India and Pakistan sign the Shimla Agreement.

• May 1974 : India conducts nuclear test.

• 1976: Pakistan and Bangladesh establish diplomatic ties.

• December 1985: South Asian leaders sign the SAARC Charter at the first summit in Dhaka.

• 1987: Indo-Sri Lanka Accord; Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) operation in Sri Lanka (1987-90).

• 1988: India sends troops to the Maldives to foil a coup attempt by mercenaries India and Pakistan sign the agreement not to attack nuclear installations and facilities of each other.

• 1988-91: Democracy restoration in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal.

• December 1996: India and Bangladesh sign the Farakka Treaty for sharing of the Ganga Waters.

• May 1998: India and Pakistan conduct nuclear tests.

• December 1998: India and Sri Lanka sign the Free Trade Agreement (FTA).

• February 1999: Indian PM Vajpayee undertakes bus journey to Lahore to sign a Peace Declaration.

• June-July 1999: Kargil conflict between India and Pakistan.

• July 2001: Vajpayee - Musharraf Agra Summit unsuccessful.

• January 2004: SAFTA signed at the 12th SAARC Summit in Islamabad.

• 2007: Afghanistan joins SAARC.

• November 2014: The 18th SAARC Summit in Kathmandu, Nepal.
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