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Political Science Class 12 Notes Chapter 5 Contemporary South Asia


  • The first military rule in Pakistan took place under General Yahya Khan. The reason for this was the popular dissatisfaction against the rule of General Ayub Khan.
  • After this, a government was formed under the leadership of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto from 1971 to 1977.
  • Bhutto Government was removed by General Zia-ul-Haq but had to face pro-democracy movement from 1982 onwards.
  • Again in 1988 an elected democratic government was established under Benazir Bhutto but had to face competition from the Pakistan People’s Party and the Muslim League.
  • Army stepped in again and General Pervez Musharraf removed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. General Musharraf got himself elected as the President in 2001.
  • There were several factors which led to the failure of Pakistan in building a stable democracy.
  • At present, again a democratic form of government is ruling the country under Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

India-Pakistan Conflicts

  • After independence, both 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.
  • Both the countries face conflict over strategic issues like the control of the Siachen glacier and over acquisition of arms.
  • Both the countries continue to be suspicious of each other over security issue.
  • Another issue of conflict among the two countries is over the sharing of river waters of Indus river system.
  • The two countries are not in agreement over the demarcationjine in Sir Creek in the Rann ofKutch.


  • Bangladesh was a part of Pakistan from 1947 to 1971. But it started protesting against the domination of Western Pakistan and the imposition of Urdu Language.
  • A popular struggle against West Pakistani dominance was led by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
  • In 1970 election, the Awani league under Sheikh Mujibur Rahman won all seats but the government dominated by the West Pakistani leadership refused to convene the assembly.
  • The Pakistani army tried to suppress the movement which led to a large number of migration to India.
  • The Indian Government supported the demands of people of East Pakistan and helped them. This led to a war with Pakistan in 1971. Bangladesh was formed as an independent country after the end of war.
  • A Constitution was adopted by Bangladesh declaring faith in secularism, democracy and socialism. But government under Sheikh Mujibur amended the Constitution and formed Presidential form of government.
  • Sheikh Mujibur was assassinated and a military rule was established under Ziaur Rahman. He was also assassinated and the rule of Lt Gen H.M. Ershad started this continuing the military rule.
  • A pro-democratic movement was again started which led to election in 1991. Since then representative democracy based on multi-party elections has been working in Bangladesh.


  • Nepal was a Hindu Kingdom in the past but later changed into a constitutional monarchy for many years.
  • In the wake of a strong pro-democracy movement the king accepted the demand for a new democratic Constitution in 1990.
  • There was a conflict among the democrats, maoists and monarchist forces which led to the abolition of parliament and dismissal of government in 2002 by the king.
  • Again in 2006, after a pro-democratic movement, the king was forced to restore the House of Representatives.

Sri Lanka

  • The democratic set up of Sri Lanka was disturbed by the Ethnic conflict among the Sinhalese and Tamil origin people.
  • According to the Sinhalese, the region of Ceylon belonged to Sinhala people only and not to the Tamils who migrated from India.
  • This led to the formation of Liberation Tiger of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), a militant organisation, who demanded a separate country.
  • The Government of India was pressurised by the Tamil people in India for the protection of the Tamils in Sri Lanka.
  • India signed an accord with Sri Lanka and sent troops to stabilise relations between the Sri Lankan Government and the Tamils.
  • Eventually, the Indian Army got into a fight with the LTTE. Later on the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) was pulled out of Sri Lanka in 1989 without achieving its aims.
  • Presently, the LTTE has been destroyed by the Sri Lankan Government and the area under LTTE has been recovered.
  • Inspite of the Ethnic conflict, the economy of Sri Lanka has always been high.

India and its Other Neighbours

  • Neighbouring countries of India are Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Maldives and Pakistan.
  • There are certain issues of conflicts between India and Bangladesh. These include sharing of Ganga and Brahmaputra river waters, illegal immigration to India etc.
  • Still, both India and Bangladesh share a cordial relation with each other. Economic relations between the two have improved considerably.
  • Nepal and India shares a friendly relation with each other but certain issues like warm relation of Nepal with China, Maoist movement in Nepal etc have disturbed the relation.
  • Despite differences, trade, scientific co-operation, electricity generation and inter locking water management grids hold the two countries together.
  • India enjoys a very special relationship with Bhutan too and does not have any major conflict with the Bhutanese government.

Peace and Cooperation

  • Even though there are certain issues of conflicts among the South Asian countries, they recognise the importance of cooperation and friendly relationship among themselves.
  • The South Asian countries initiated the establishment of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) in 1985 to evolve cooperation among each other.
  • The SAFTA was signed in 2004 by the South Asian countries to allow free trade across the borders.
  • SAFTA aims at lowering trade tariffs by 20 percent by 2007.
  • Although there has been issues between India and Pakistan, measures were being taken to bring cordial changes between the countries.
  • There is also an outside power which influence the region. China and the United States remain key players in South Asian politics.


1. South Asia is referred to as a group of seven countries namely Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka which stand for diversity in every sense and constitutes geopolitical space.

2. Despite the mixed record of democratic experience, the people in these countries share an aspiration for democracy which can be drawn from the examples of Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Maldives.

3. Pakistan began Post Cold War period with successive democratic governments but suffered a military coup in 1999. In Nepal successful uprising led to restoration of democracy in 2006. India and Sri Lanka have also operated a democratic system, despite many limitations and even Maldives have strengthened democracy.

4. In Pakistan, military rule and democracy are two sides of the coin because, during implementation of first constitution, General Ayub Khan took the command by-elections, but thrown away by military due to dissatisfaction of his rule. After 1971, an elected government was formed under the leadership of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, removed by General Zia-Ul-Haq in 1977.

5. Again in 1982, in Pakistan, by a pro-democracy protest, democratic government was established in 1988 under the leadership of Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif. Later on, the history repeated and General Pervez Musharraf took the command in 1999 and got elected in 2005 to be continued till date.

6. Bangladesh was formed by migrants from West Pakistan and refused to form government by East Pakistan despite winning all the seats. India intervened and supported the demand of creation of East Pakistan financially and militarily. Consequently, in December 1971, Pakistan surrendered with the formation of an independent country named Bangladesh.

7. Bangladesh drafted its own constitution declaring faith in secularism, democracy and socialism. In 1975, Sheikh Mujibur Rehman formed presidential setup, but was assassinated in a military uprising. The new military ruler Ziaur Rahman formed his own Bangladesh National Party and won elections in 1979. He was assassinated and another military take over followed under the leadership of Gen. H.M. Ershad. Since 1991, representative democracy has been working in Bangladesh.

8. Nepal was a Hindu Kingdom and became constitutional monarchy in modern period. The struggle for restoration of democracy began in 1990 and 2007 when king restored house of representatives. Even today Nepal is demanding the formation of constituent assembly.

9. Ceylon, presently known as Sri Lanka experienced an ethnic conflict between Sinhalese and Tamils for power sharing. LTTE demanded a separate state for Tamil 1983 onwards with the support of Indian government who sent Indian Peace Keeping Forces there which was not liked by Sri Lankans.

10. Sri Lanka has maintained a democratic political system with a considerable economic growth i.e. one of the first developing countries to control population growth rate, liberalized economy, and bears highest per capita gross Domestic Product despite the ongoing conflicts.

11. India-Pakistan conflicts in South Asian region is most important to be sorted out. The wars between these countries took place in 1947-48,1965 and 1971 on the issues of Pak Occupied Kashmir (POK) and Line of Control (LOC). Except, other issues of conflicts are control of Siachin glacier, acquisition of arms and sharing of river water.

12. Both the governments are suspicious to each other on the ground of Pakistani strategy to help Kashmiri militants and ISI to be involved in Anti-India campaign. Pakistan blames India for making trouble in Sindh and Baluchistan.

13. India and Bangladesh experienced differences over the issues of sharing of Ganga and Brahmaputra river water, illegal immigration to India, support for anti Indian-Islamic fundamentalists, refusal to allow Indian troops and not to export natural gas to India. It is the main link of India’s ‘Look East’ Policy.

14. India and Nepal also bear differences on the issues of Nepal’s relations with China and inaction against anti-Indian elements i.e. Maoists. But still both the countries signed the treaty of trade and commerce in 2005 and friendship in 2006 to provide financial and technical assistance and to allow citizens to move without visas and passport.

15. India and Bhutan do not share any major conflict, but attached on the issues to need out the guerrillas and militants from North-eastern India and involvement of India also in big hydroelectric projects in Bhutan is the biggest source of development aid.

16. India is supportive to Maldives in their economy, tourism and fisheries. In November 1988, India reacted quickly against an attack from Tamil Mercenaries on Maldives.

17. In spite of the above-mentioned conflicts and differences, states of South Asia recognise cooperation and friendly relations among themselves. Hence, a major regional initiative has been taken in the form of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) in 1982. SAARC members signed South Asian Free Trade Agreements (SAFTA) to form free trade zone for the whole South Asia.


  1. Geo-Politics: Geo-politics refers to the Association of countries who are bound with each
    other geographically and their interests are also interlinked with each other politically and economically.
  2. Bilateral Talks: Talks involving the two countries without any other mediation.
  3. Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF): It was sent by India in Sri Lanka to support the demand of Tamils to be recognised.
  4. Seven Party Alliance (SPA): An alliance of seven parties in Nepal which also demanded an end to monarch.
  5. SAARC: It stands for South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation having seven members and aims at mutual trust and understanding.
  6. SAFTA: It is South Asia Free Trade Area Agreement to trade free from custom restrictions and duties by its member states.
  7. LTTE: The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam in Sri Lanka which demanded a separate state for Tamils.


  1. 1947: India and Pakistan emerge as an independent nation after the end of British rule.
  2. 1948: Sri Lanka gains independence. Indo-Pak conflict over Kashmir.
  3. 1954-55: Pakistan joins the Cold War military blocs, SEATO and CENTO.
  4. September 1960: India and Pakistan sign Indus Waters Treaty.
  5. 1962: Border conflicts between India and China.
  6. 1965: Indo-Pak War, UN India-Pakistan Observation Mission.
  7. 1966: India and Pakistan sign the Tashkent Agreement: Six-Point proposal of Sheikh Mujib- ur-Rahman for greater autonomy to East Pakistan.
  8. March 1971: Proclamation of independence by leaders of Bangladesh.
  9. August 1971: Indo-Soviet Treaty of friendship signed for 20 years.
  10. December 1971: Indo-Pak war, Liberation of Bangladesh.
  11. July 1972: India and Pakistan sign the Shimla Agreement.
  12. May 1974: India conducts nuclear test.
  13. 1976: Pakistan and Bangladesh establish diplomatic relations.
  14. December 1985: South Asian leaders sign the SAARC Charter at the first summit in Dhaka.
  15. 1987: Indo-Sri Lanka Accord: Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) operation in Sri Lanka (1987-90).
  16. 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.
  17. 1988-91: Democracy restoration in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal.
  18. December 1996: India and Bangladesh sign the Farakka Treaty for sharing of the Ganga waters.
  19. May 1998: India and Pakistan conduct nuclear tests.
  20. December: India and Sri Lanka sign the Free Trade Agreement (FTA)
  21. February 1999: Indian PM Vajpayee undertakes bus journey to Lahore to sign a Peace Declaration.
  22. June-July 1999: Kargil conflict between India and Pakistan.
  23. July 2001: Vajpayee-Musharraf Agra Summit unsuccessful.
  24. January 2004: SAFTA signed at the 12th SAARC Summit in Islamabad.

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