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Assignment – I
Q 1. Explain the Geo-Political importance of South Asia in current World Order.
South Asian region has started figuring prominently in the post cold war period. Earlier this region was neither strategically significant for big powers nor it offered any economic advantage to them. But after the demise of the cold war and advent of globalization it has become increasingly significant in international politics. Two important factors -high growth rate achieved by the countries like India and expanding market have made this region attractive for big powers. Moreover acquisition of nuclear weapons by India and Pakistan,its geopolitical position and growing terrorism make it strategically important in contemporary global order. Further increasing Chinese engagement with this region also impinges upon the interests of global powers like U.S. and Russia.So in recent years one witnesses involvement of extra regional powers in this region for accruing their strategic and economic benefits In recent years South has a better growth experience.
After decades of sluggishness it has recorded a higher rate of growth in comparison to other regions of the world. Additionally the enormous size of the market,capital accumulation,huge labour make it a viable economic region. But despite improving economic scenario this region is beset with enormous challenges. Intra regional conflicts strategic discord in bilateral relations complicate the strategic environment with global implications.
South Asia has been most open through the Indian Ocean. For the greater part of its history, the prosperity and security of the sub-continent has been as dependent, maybe more so, on its maritime dimensions as on the continental order. The Indian Ocean is not a closed ocean, not landlocked like the Mediterranean, the Aegean, the Black Sea, or the seas near China around which other civilisations grew. Thanks to the predictable monsoons, the Indian Ocean did not have to wait for the age of steam to be united, unlike other oceans. Deep water sailing probably developed here first.
The maritime domain, by definition, is a positive-sum one, and water transport has historically been easier and cheaper than that by land. For a great part, therefore, southern Asia is maritime. As a consequence of this geography, throughout history, southern Asia has been an autonomous strategic unit that was also part of a larger multiverse – connected but separate from the universes of the Levant and Persian Gulf, Central Asia and Persia, the Southeast Asian maritime kingdoms and East Asia. And throughout history, southern Asia was most prosperous and stable when its external connections to these regions flourished alongside its internal strength. This is very different from North-East Asia or northern Europe or North America, which were relatively isolated in history and unconnected to other regions for their security and prosperity for most of their past.
Q 2. Explain the role of external powers in South Asia
Ans: The equation between India and Pakistan, as well as the influence of other big countries in the region, makes up the strategic landscape of South Asia.
The development of nuclear weapons and geostrategic positioning have played a key role in transforming relations between South Asian governments and big powers.
The complexities of the South Asian strategic environment have been exacerbated by competing national interests, historic rivalries, nations’ goals to develop conventional and strategic forces quantitatively and qualitatively, and the presence of big powers in regional affairs.BPSE 144 Free Solved Assignment
The recent trends, such as Trumps offensive rhetoric against Pakistan, Indo-US nexus, Russia’s role in strategic calculus of India and Pakistan, and China’s expanding strategic interests and economic investment in the region has identified the profound changes in the South Asian politics.
Significance of South Asia in the strategic calculation of great powers i.e. US, Russia and China cannot be ignored.
It is important to explore that why South Asian region is important for the great powers?
In the case of US: involvement of US in Afghanistan, existence of Chinese presence in the region and non-proliferation concerns has played important role in evolution of relationship between US and South Asia.
Russia’s role in the South Asia is increasing due to two factors: First, strategic interest including evolving Afghan situation; Second, economic benefits from regional states.
Consequently, driving factor for China’s role in South Asia’s politics is its strategic interests in the region as well as South Asian states are viewed important to fulfill its objective of economic integration.
The strategic co-operation of India and the US has changed the pattern of relationships between the india pakistan and US.
South Asia is important for the US due to its interests in Central and West Asia.
Since August 2017, Pakistan-US relations are on critical stage due to the criticisin of Trump adıninistration on Pakistan’s role in war in terror.
On the other side, the positive trajectory of Indo-US relation: growing bilateral ties in defence and economic sphere, geoploliticising of nuclear cartels including NSG, and American support in multilateral international agreements such as STA-1 and COMCASA has dramatically changed the South Asian nuclear politics .
Therefore in the US, India is viewed as stable economy, special ally in reconstructing Afghanistan, and a counterbalance to China. Pakistan is seen differently with opposite lens.
Additionally, Strategic role of China in the Indian Ocean Region and construction of CPEC are grave concerns of US in the region.BPSE 144 Free Solved Assignment
Existing trends in South Asia, demonstrates the existence of focused regional strategy of the US in South Asia.
Russia is major defence partner and primary supplier of conventional and strategic weapon systems to India. Russia has provided cruise missiles, combat jets and battle tanks to India.
Assignment – II
Q 1. What are the major challenges before SAARC? Elucidate.
Ans: Some of the challenges are listed below Security in the region Low intra-regional trade. Development of people in rural areas.BPSE 144 Free Solved Assignment
More than 1 billion people in the SAARC region live in rural areas. Low physical, electronic and knowledge connectivity among SAARC nations.
Since its creation in December 1985, the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) has sought after to boost economic unity between India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and the Maldives.
The organization was designed to improve both the economic and social progress of its member states.
Unlike the EU or ASEAN, however, trade between the seven SAARC States has remained limited despite the fact that all are positioned within a close proximity of one another and all are part of the World Trade Organization (WTO).
A growing emphasis on attracting foreign investment and seeking access to new markets in SAARC states indicates that economic progress is central to the future of South Asia.
SAARC, however, is likely to play only a limited role in that future because of India’s considerable position of power over the other SAARC states. This imbalance of power within SAARC allows conflicts between India and its neighbors to undermine organizational unity.BPSE 144 Free Solved Assignment
Clashes between South Asian countries end up jeopardizing the formation and effectiveness of regional trade agreements.
They also lead individual SAARC countries to advance their economic interests through bi-lateral agreements, reduce the incentive to connect in multi-laterally.
It seems that SAARC will act more as a forum to encourage regional discussion through conferences and seminars than as an architect for economic policy in South Asia.
There are some challenges to the effectiveness of this regional organization. SAARC is structured in a way that often makes regional cooperation difficult.
In the case of SAARC, India is the most powerful country in terms of its economic might, military power and international influence.
Thus, India’s potential as a regional hegemony gives SAARC a unique dynamic compared to an organization such as ASEAN. BPSE 144 Free Solved Assignment
Pakistan was initially hesitant to join SAARC due to fears of SAARC succumbing to Indian hegemony. Indeed, if India does take a prominent role in SAARC, it could further fears that India will use SAARC for hegemonic purposes.
While the smaller states in South Asia recognize that they will need India’s help to facilitate faster economic growth, they are reluctant to work with India, fearing that such cooperation will admit Indian dominance in SAARC.
Aside from a few overtures to its neighbors, India has done little to dispel the fears of other South Asian states. The core of these fears is likely derived from the displays of India’s power by New Delhi in the past.
Realizing its considerable advantage in military and economic power, India has consistently acted in an – arrogant and uncompromising – manner with its neighbors.
Bangladesh is afraid of India exploiting its geographical position to redirect water flows vital to Bangladeshi agricultural production.BPSE 144 Free Solved Assignment
Nepal and Bluutan are still worried about India’s control over their world trade and transit links as their geographical position will always make them dependent on India.
These disputes between India and its neighbors have directly affected SAARC.
The disputes between South Asian states have undermined SAARC efforts to promote regional trade. These disagreements make consensus building and cooperation among SAARC states complicated.
Attempting to promote regional cooperation while doing little to resolve regional conflicts makes SAARC mission looks nearly impossible. Moreover, SAARC has no institutional mechanisms or punislunents capable of preventing or fully resolving a dispute.
Two examples illustrate how conflicts in South Asia have proven detrimental to SAARC.
Indian intervention in Sri Lanka from 1986-1990 can be quoted. The Indian military intervention to suppress an insurgency by The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam made Indo-Sri Lankan relations tense during these four years.
Subsequently, the apprehension between India and Sri Lanka was considered a primary reason behind Sri Lanka’s lukewarm support for SAARC into economic and social spheres of its member states until relations improved with India.
A second, more prominent example of a conflict tremendous SAARC progress is the IndoPakistani conflict.BPSE 144 Free Solved Assignment
Pakistan has demanded a resolution to its dispute with India over the Kashmir Valley before discussing trade relations with New Delhi, India has recently attempted to improve its relationship with the rest of South Asia.
Under the Gujral Doctrine established by former Indian Prime Minister I.K Gujral, India signed 30 years water sharing treaty with Bangladesh and a trade and transit treaty with Nepal.
India also joined a sub regional group within SAARC comprising of Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and India.
Despite political impediments to trade, value of goods smuggled from India to Pakistan via a third party generally totals 250-500 million per year.
If trade between the states was opened, Pakistan would receive cheaper imports due to lower transport costs and the absence Of payments to middleman.
SAARC is planning establishment of a South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA). However, the agreement to establish this free trade zone will take 10 years of gradual tariff reduction.
For a proposal that has already been delayed, it will take some genuine political cooperation for the tariff reduction process to run smoothly.
Comparing with the experience of ASEAN, an organization with a better track record in producing economic coordination among member states than SAARC, creating a free trade zone could become difficult.BPSE 144 Free Solved Assignment
The ASEAN free trade agreement (AFTA) has been criticized for not producing substantial economic interdependence among the region.
This lack of success results from distiust and protectionism among its member states. If SAFTA is implemented, its success will depend on the resolution of conflicts between South Asian states, something which seems unlikely in the future.
Q 2. What are main linguistic divisions in South Asia? Explain.
Ans: South Asian ethnic groups are an ethnolinguistic grouping of the diverse populations of South Asia, including the nations of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, the Maldives and Sri Lanka.
While Afghanistan is variously considered to be pait of both South Asia and Central Asia, Afghans are generally not included among South Asian ethnic groups.
The majority of the population fall within three large linguistic groups: IndoAryan, Dravidian and Iranic.BPSE 144 Free Solved Assignment
The Indian, Nepalese and Sri Lankan societies are traditionally divided into castes or clans, which are based primarily on labour divisions; these categories have had no official status in India since independence in 1947, except for the scheduled castes and tribes which remain registered for the purpose of affirmative action.
In today’s India, the population is categorised in terms of the 1,652 mother tongues spoken. These groups are also further subdivided into numerous sub-groups, castes and tribes.
IndoAryans form the predominant ethno-linguistic group in India (North India, East India, West India, Central India), Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and the Maldives.
Dravidians forin the predominant ethno-linguistic group in southern India, the northern and eastern regions of Sri Lanka and a small pocket of Pakistan.
The Iranic peoples also have a significant presence in South Asia, the large majority of whom are located in Pakistan, with heavy concentrations in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Dardic peoples are classified as belonging to the IndoAryan language group, forming a minority among the Indo-Aryans, though they are also sometimes classified as external to the Indo-Aryan branch.BPSE 144 Free Solved Assignment They are found in northern Pakistan (Gilgit-Baltistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa) and in Jammu and Kashinir and Ladakh, India.
Minority groups not falling within either large group mostly speak languages belonging to the Austroasiatic and Tibeto-Burman language families, and largely live around Ladakh and Northeast India, Nepal, Bhutan and the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh.
The Andamanese (Sentinel, Onge, Jarawa, Great Andamanese) live in some of the Andaman Islands and speak a language isolate, as do the Kusunda in central Nepal, the Vedda in Sri Lanka, and the Nihali of central India, who number about 5,000 people.
The people of the Hunza valley in Pakistan are another distinct population; they speak Burushaski, a language isolate.
The traditions of different ethnic groups in South Asia have diverged, influenced by external cultures, especially in the northwestern parts of South Asia and also in the border regions and busy ports, where there are greater levels of contact with external cultures.
There is also a lot of genetic diversity within the region. For example, most of the ethnic groups of the northeastern parts of South Asia are genetically related to peoples of East or Southeast Asia.BPSE 144 Free Solved Assignment
There are also genetically isolated groups who have not been genetically influenced by other groups, such as the Jarawa people of the Andaman Islands.
The largest ethno-linguistic group in South Asia are the Indo-Aryans, numbering around 1 billion, and the largest sub-group are the native speakers of Hindi languages, membering more than 470 million.
Q 3. Highlight the role of Media in South Asia
Ans: News occupies the same dominant position modern society as religion once did, but we rarely consider its impact on us.
Societies become modern, the philosopher Hegel suggested, when news replaces religion as our central source of guidance and our touchstone of authority.
The news knows how to render its own mechanics almost invisible and therefore hard to question.BPSE 144 Free Solved Assignment
Cocooned in classrooms for only our first eighteen years or so we effectively spend the rest of our lives under the tutelage of news entities that wield infinitely greater influence over us than any academic institution can.
It is the single most important force setting the tone of public life and shaping our impressions of the community beyond our walls. It is the prime creator of political and social reality.
(Alain De Botton, The News) The South Asian region is positioned at the heart of enormous socio-politico-cultural transformations captured by the rising rates of consumption, population, unemployment, aspiration, urbanization, inequality and conflict within the region.
In this region, media plays au increasingly important role in propagating mass wakefulness by shaping public opinion day in and day out.
Mainstream literature available on the cultural and political history of the fourthi estate of all democracies in south Asia often ignores media’s role as an important catalyst accountable for these social and political metamorphosis.
By and large, South Asia has been held hostage by persisting political conflict within the region.BPSE 144 Free Solved Assignment
Despite national identities being strongly prevalent, there is social, geographical and cultural interconnectedness that cannot be overlooked.
The cultural significance and value attached to South Asian Media whether it’s the print or audio visual media to the social and political life of people of the region presents itself for greater understanding of history of South Asian media including media culture,
new technology and its impact on the regional politics and economics, Within the region so far, inedia by and large has been parochial and therefore panders to the demand and supply of the national audiences.
To this date, several media institutions have been established with an aiin of partaking greater regional cooperation amongst South Asian countries.
This chapter intends to understand the dynamics behind the rise of social media, print media, audio visual media and film in these countries and how there is a cultural and social continuum that the media has to work with and employ in shaping public opinion within the South Asian region.
The chapter intends to trace the political, cultural and political affinities demonstrated through the media amongst the countries of India, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan owing its legacy to the British colonial rule.
Cooperative measures undertaken by media such as Aman ki Asla, SAFMA have tried to bring people of the region together.BPSE 144 Free Solved Assignment
Assignment – III
Q 1. Civil Society in South Asia
Ans: Civil society is a term that has a rich history in European political and social thought since the 17th century.
Yet it has also become shorthand either for groups who place themselves in opposition to state elites or for non-governmental organizations that initiate, often in partnership with international agencies, programmes of economic and social development that to a greater or lesser extent are distanced from the state.
The civil society across South Asia is “increasingly constrained”, according to a recent report.
“It is either too nascent, due to late democratic development, or where it has had a little history of growth and nurturing, is facing strong challenges,” noted the 349-page report by the South Asia Collective — a network of rights bodies in the region.
“Anti-democratic authoritarian tendencies and greater securitization of laws and practices appear to be the main drivers of this narrowing trend, with the mid-2010s appearing to be the period of convergence for this constriction in many of the countries,” the report noted.
It said democracy champions, human rights defenders, and activists have been “in the crosshairs of authorities everywhere for challenging state actions and speaking out.”
“A great deal of the narrowing of space for civil society concerns minorities, which is also due to the hardening of majoritarianism across the region,”
the report said, detailing rights situation in seven South Asian countries, including India, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.
The report said authorities in all countries have “increasingly violated” the constitutional rights of freedom of expression, association, and assembly, arguing that NGOs and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) are facing “increased regulation of registration”.
“As a consequence, civic space is becoming more restrictive over time, creating a hostile environment for CSOs,” the report added.BPSE 144 Free Solved Assignment
Q 2. Refugee issues in South Asia
Ans: South Asia is comprised of eight countries according to the SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation).
Previously there were seven countries (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Maldives and Sri Lanka) when SAARC was founded in 1985.
However, Afghanistan was not a founding member then, of SAARC, but joined later in 2007.
The experience of South Asian countries is one of hosting substantial refugee populations.
India hosted close to 5 million in 1971 when refugees were pouring into India during the Bangladesh liberation war.
Pakistan hosted closer to 5 mil lion refugees when Russia invaded Afghanistan in 1979. Nepal has hosted Bhutanese refugees and Tibetans.
South Asia (SA) was a subcontinent that produced and received refugees.
The refugee population in SA originated mostly from the South Asian region, besides the small number of refugees coming from African and Middle Eastern countries.
Except for Afghanistan, none of the countries were signatories of the 1951 Geneva Convention or the 1967 Protocol.BPSE 144 Free Solved Assignment
Unfortunately, SAARC has never addressed the refugee problem in any of its meetings.
The problem of statelessness exists in South Asia with the following groups: the Rolingyas in Myanmar, Bangladesh, and India; the Tamils in Sri Lanka and South India, and the Urdu Speaking Biharis in Bangladesh.
None of the South Asian countries is a signatory of the 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons, which is designed to ensure that stateless people enjoy certain fundamental human rights.
It establishes the legal definition of a stateless person as someone “not recognized as a national by any state under the operation of its law.
Q 3. River Disputes in South Asia
ANS: The South Asian region faces a number of challenges which sets off and catalyses the water tensions. Firstly, it is a heavily populated region of over 2.5 billion people.
If China is included in this statistics the pressure on these finite water resources gets further accentuated.
Secondly, most countries in the region are facing water scarcity as a result of which many people do not have access to sufficient drinking water and sanitation. With the burgeoning population, water stress will only grow.
For instance, demand for water resources in India is expected to double and exceed 1.4 trillion cubic meters by 2050. Besides, Pakistan faces the greatest water crunch.
According to the Economic Survey of Pakistan 2006-07, water supply was just over 1000 cubic metres per person. BPSE 144 Free Solved Assignment
A fall below the mark would make it a water scarce country. Climate change in the Himalayan basin increases the problem of water insecurity manifold.
According to reports current trends indicate that the three major Himalayan rivers could become seasonal rivers once glaciers melt in the coming three decades.
The problem of water scarcity exacerbating hydro-politics gets worsened by the fact that most of these countries are agrarian economies requiring water-fed irrigation facilities.
Water resources are also required to feed demands of industrialisation and urbanisation.
The thirst for energy, especially lydro-power is both widespread and pressing.
Aggravating the gravity is the gross mismanagement of water resources and lack of adequate water storage facilities.BPSE 144 Free Solved Assignment
The regional water disputes are also clearly a legacy of the colonial past.
The partition of the sub-continent did not coincide with the transboundary river systems in the region but was based on religious parameters.
The lack of trust, confidence and political acrimony marking the partition of India, Pakistan and then the creation of Bangladesh still resonates in resource disputes.
Q 4. Supreme Court of India
ANS: The Supreme Court of India is the highest judicial cout and the final court of appeal under the Constitution of India, the highest constitutional court, with the power of judicial review.
India is a federal State and has a single and unified judicial system with three-tier structure, i.e. Supreme Court, High Courts and Subordinate Courts.
Constitutional Provisions The Indian constitution provides for a provision of Supreme Court under Pait V (The Union) and Chapter 6 (The Union Judiciary).
Articles 124 to 147 in Part V of the Constitution deal with the organisation, independence, jurisdiction, powers and procedures of the Supreme Court.
The Indian constitution under Article 124(1) states that there shall be a Supreme Court of India constituting of a Chief Justice of India (CJI) and, until Parliament by law prescribes a larger 10/12 number, of not more than seven other Judges.
The Jurisdiction of the Supreme Court of India can broadly be categorised into original (5) jurisdiction, appellate jurisdiction and advisory jurisdiction. However, there are other multiple powers of the Supreme Court. BPSE 144 Free Solved Assignment
Organisation of Supreme Court
At present, the Supreme Court consists of thirty-one judges (one chief justice and thirty other judges).
Supreme Court (Number of Judges) Bill of 2019 has added four judges to strength. It increased the judicial strength from 31 to 34, including the CJI.
Q 5 LTTE in Sri Lanka
ANS: The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) is the only terrorist group which once possessed its own ‘Military – Tigers (infantry),
Sea Tigers (sea wing) and Air Tigers (Air Wing), in the world, began its armed campaign in Sri Lanka for a separate Tamil homeland in 1983.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in its January 10, 2008 report said that the LTTE is one of the most dangerous and deadly extremist outfits in the world and the world should be concerned about the outfit as they had ‘inspired’ networks worldwide, including the alQaeda in Iraq.BPSE 144 Free Solved Assignment
However, with the killing of its Chief Velupillai Prabhakaran on May 18, 2009 and its defeat it in Eelam War IV the outfit has become inactive inside Sri Lanka, though reports indicate that it still attempts to revive itself with the help of Tamil Diaspora.
The LTTE has been proscribed, designated or banned as a terrorist group by a number of Governments – India, Malaysia, USA, Canada, UK, Australia, European Union – where the LTTE has significant terrorist infrastructure for disseminating propaganda, raising funds, procuring and shipping supplies to support their terrorist campaign in Sri Lanka.
While India was the first country to ban LTTE in May, 1992, Sri Lanka itself is the latest in the list banning the organisation on January 7, 2009. Formation
The LTTE was formed on May 5, 1976, under the leadership of Velupillai Prabhakaran, and has emerged as perhaps the most lethal, well organised and disciplined terrorist force.
Headquartered in the Wanni region, Prabhakaran has established an extensive network of checkpoints and informants to keep track of any outsiders who enter the group’s area of control.
Terrorism in Sri Lanka began in 1970 with the formation of a militant student body called the “Tamil Students Movement” to protest government plans to limit access of Tamil students to universities.
Very soon this movement went underground and turned to overt terrorist activities.
Violence escalated in Jaffna from 1972 onwards, beginning with the publication of a new constitution seen by the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) as anti-Tamil.
The year 1972 saw the formation of two Tamil terrorist groups – the Tamil New Tigers (TNT) and Tamil Eelam Liberation Organization (TELO), splinter groups of the original Tamil Students Movement.
In July 1983, countrywide riots and clashes between Sinhalese and Tamils left thousands of Tamils dead and several hundred thousand as refugees. Large number of Government forces were deployed in the Northern and Eastern Provinces.