South Asia in the Post Cold War Era: NBSE Class 12 Pol Science

South Asia in the Post Cold War Era
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Get summary, textual answers, solutions, notes, extras, PDF to NBSE Class 12 (Arts) Political Science Chapter 13 “South Asia in the Post Cold War Era”. However, the educational materials should only be used for reference and students are encouraged to make necessary changes.


This chapter delves into the political dynamics of South Asia, with a particular focus on the role of military in Pakistan’s politics, the struggle for democracy in Bangladesh, and the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka. It also discusses the influence of external powers on the region and the role of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC).

South Asia, a region that includes countries lying south of the Himalayas and surrounded by the Indian Ocean, Arabian Sea, and the Bay of Bengal, is of strategic importance due to its economy, resources, and geographical position. It serves as a link between Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, and the Americas.

In Pakistan, the military has played a significant role in politics since 1958, with several generals, including Ayub Khan, Yahya Khan, Zia-ul-Haq, and Musharraf, seizing power. Despite periods of civilian rule, the military’s influence remains strong, with the current Prime Minister, Imran Khan, described as a puppet of the army.

Bangladesh, on the other hand, has experienced political turmoil since its independence in 1971. After a decade of military rule, democracy returned in 1990. However, the country continues to grapple with political instability.

In Sri Lanka, the ethnic conflict between the Sinhalese majority and the Tamil minority has been a major challenge. Despite the end of the civil war in 2009, the core issue of regional autonomy remains unresolved.

The chapter also highlights the role of SAARC in fostering regional cooperation and addressing common problems such as poverty, hunger, and disease. However, the organization faces limitations, including apprehensions about India’s dominance and Pakistan’s reluctance to remove trade barriers.

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Textual questions and answers

A. Long answer questions

1. Discuss the role of Military in Pak politics and also examine other main factors responsible for Pakistan’s failure in building a stable democracy. (Or) Pakistan has had a poor record as a democratic nation. What are the main hurdles in the path of building a stable democracy in Pakistan?

Answer: The military has played a significant role in Pakistan’s politics. For instance, “The Army Chief General Pervez Musharraf seized power in October 1999. Nawaz Sharif was exiled to Saudi Arabia. In 2001 Pervez Musharraf declared himself as President of the country. The elections held in 2002 were a farce. Pervez Musharraf’s popularity declined considerably. Benazir Bhutto returned from exile in October 2007 to lead the pro-democracy movement in Pakistan. She was assassinated on December 27, 2007.

Furthermore, on 18 August 2018 Imran Khan was sworn in as Pakistan’s new Prime Minister. His Cabinet included many such persons who served as Ministers during Gen. Pervez Musharraf’s military regime. He ruled as a puppet of the military..

The main factors responsible for Pakistan’s failure in building a stable democracy are as follows: 

Hold of the Muslim Clergymen: There is a saying that the three pillars, which sustain governments in Pakistan are: Allah (clergymen), Army (Military) and America (USA). There has always been a hold of the clergymen over politics in Pakistan. 

Reliance on the Army: Since the very beginning Pakistanis have been fed on anti-India propaganda. They continued to believe that India, was determined to grab Pakistan. They believed that country’s security depended on army staying in power.

Not Enough International Pressure on Pakistan to act in a truly Democratic Way: Had USA or the international community exercised pressure on Pakistan, that could definitely lead to some positive results. Unfortunately it has not happened so far. The United States and other Western powers supplied the most sophisticated weapons and fighter planes to Pakistan. Pakistan is a nuclear power. 

Stronghold of Terrorists: Pakistan has become a stronghold of terrorists. Hundreds of hardliners fled into Pakistan after the overthrow of Taliban regime from Afghanistan. They enjoyed army’s patronage there. 

Lack of Charismatic Leaders: India was fortunate to have many charismatic leaders (like Nehru, Azad, Rajendra Prasad, Babu Jagjivan Ram, Gobind Ballabh Pant, and others), alive for many years after Independence. Only Sardar Patel could not be available to guide the nation for long. But Pakistan’s founder Jinnah and another popular leader Liaquat Ali Khan did not survive for long. Their successors were too weak to provide political stability to the country.

2. Attempt an essay on a prolonged phase of political instability in Bangladesh. Does Bangladesh have political stability now-a-days?

Answer: In August 1975, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was assassinated, leading to a phase of political instability in Bangladesh. The Chief of Army Staff, General Ziaur Rahman took the reins of administration in his hands. Political instability set in when General Ziaur Rahman was assassinated in May 1981. Justice Abdus Sattar became the Acting President of the country. In March 1982, General Ershad became the Chief Martial Law Administrator of the country, and in December 1983, he became the President of the country.

A mass movement for the Restoration of Democracy started in the country. General Ershad was removed from office and Shahabuddin Ahmed took over as Acting President. In the General Elections held in 1991, Bangladesh National Party headed by Begum Khaleda Zia emerged victorious. Begum Zia became Prime Minister of the country. But in 1996, Sheikh Hasina, the daughter of the slain leader Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, was sworn in as Prime Minister of Bangladesh. In 2001, Begum Khaleda Zia again became the Prime Minister of the country.

Elections to the Bangladesh Parliament were held in December 2008. On 5 January 2009, Awami League’s leader Sheikh Hasina was sworn in as the country’s new Prime Minister. In 2014, Sheikh Hasina assumed the reins of power once again, following a General Election. This suggests that Bangladesh has achieved a degree of political stability in recent years.

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5. Describe SAARC’s role in bringing about cooperation among member-nations.

Answer: SAARC’s role in bringing about cooperation among member nations includes:

  • Members signed a SAARC convention on Narcotic Drugs in 1990 to combat the problem of drug trafficking and drug abuse.
  • The Year 1995 was declared as the ‘SAARC Year of Poverty Eradication.’
  • The Decade 2001-2010 was designated the ‘SAARC Decade of the Rights of the Child.’
  • India made a gesture to implement SAFTA. It is importing many goods from the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) without customs duties.
  • SAARC Development Fund (SDF) was created in 2005, with three Windows or Aspects (Social, Economic and Infrastructure) for funding regional projects in the SAARC countries.
  • SAARC Food Bank was operational with a total stock of 243,000 million tons of foodgrains contributed by all member-states.
  • India is also implementing the projects in the areas of Telemedicine and Shuttle Breeding of Pulses in Bhutan and Rural Solar Energy Electrification in Sri Lanka.
  • Commercial activities and cultural contacts have very much increased through SAARC Trade Fairs, Handicrafts Exhibitions, Folklore Festivals and Festivals of Literature.

6. What are the main limitations or failures of SAARC at present? How do the outside powers influence bilateral relations between the SAARC- nations?

Answer: The main limitations or failures of SAARC at present are:

  • Some of India’s neighbours, especially Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal, have been under a misapprehension that India was likely to dominate the whole of South Asia.
  • As long as India-Pakistan tensions continue, the SAFTA will remain a scrap of paper.
  • The Declaration that terrorism should be brought to an end has no value, if the member-nations did not do enough to root out terror.
  • Our neighbours also feared that India, by means of its bold economic decisions or commercial pursuits, could influence their social life.

Outside powers influence bilateral relations between the SAARC nations in the following ways:

  • During the Cold War era, American attitude continued to be anti-India. America set up a powerful military base in Pakistan. During Bangladesh liberation struggle (1969-71) India supported the people of East Bengal, whereas America gave Pakistan a pat on the back. Soviet Union (Russia), on the other hand, remained India’s trustworthy friend throughout.
  • After the end of the Cold War, the US involvement in South Asia very much increased. Following economic reforms and globalisation of Indian economy, the flow of US goods and money in India has considerably increased. The US launched a massive attack against Talibans and other terrorist organisations in Afghanistan. India pledged full support to US War effort.
  • China funded and armed Maoists in Nepal. India was also worried by China’s Strategic Partnership with Pakistan. She helped Pakistan to become a nuclear power. China’s strategy has been to spoil India’s game in South Asia.
B. Short answer questions

7. What is South Asia?

Answer: South Asia is a region that includes the countries of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, and Maldives. It is a very important region of Asia, being skirted by the Indian Ocean, this region links Europe and Africa to Asia and Australia and the Pacific Ocean connects the region with the North and South America. Myanmar is also included in South Asia. China is a formidable power but is not a part of this region.

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10. What are the aims and objectives of SAARC?

Answer: The aims and objectives of SAARC are stated to be as follows: (i) to promote the welfare of the people of South Asia and to improve their quality of life, (ii) making full use of all the human and natural resources, (iii) to bring mutual assistance and cooperation in areas, such as agriculture and rural development, sports, art, science, culture and technology, (iv) to strengthen cooperation among the member-states at forums such as the United Nations, (v) to strengthen cooperation with other developing nations of Asia, Africa and Latin America, and (vi) to cooperate with Regional Organisations, such as ASEAN.

11. What is SAFTA?

Answer: The 12th SAARC Summit held at Islamabad (Pakistan) in 2004 ended after the signing of the historic South Asian Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA). It sought the creation of a ‘Free Trade Zone’ for the whole of South Asia. That could reduce trade barriers between the SAARC member-nations. The SAFTA Agreement was to become effective on 1 January 2006. But as long as mutual fears and suspicions continued, this Agreement has no chance of success.

C. Very short answer questions

12. What is the full form of SAARC?

Answer: South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation.

13. What is the full form of SAFTA?

Answer: South Asian Free Trade Agreement.

14. Name the eight SAARC member-nations.

Answer: The eight SAARC member-nations are India, Maldives, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Nepal, and Afghanistan.

D. Multiple Choice Questions: Tick (✔) the correct answer

15. Who among the following is the Prime Minister of Pakistan?

Answer: (c) Imran Khan

16. In which year did a new nation named ‘Bangladesh’ emerge?

Answer: (b) 1971

17. Who are in majority in the North-Eastern Part of Sri Lanka?

Answer: (b) Tamils

18. When and where was the SAFTA signed?

Answer: (b) In 2004 at Islamabad

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