Chapter 5 – Contemporary South Asia Questions and Answers: NCERT Solutions for Class 12 Political Science (Contemporary World Politics)

Class 12 Political Science (Contemporary World Politics) NCERT book solutions for Chapter 5 - Contemporary South Asia Questions and Answers.


1. Identify the country:
(a) The struggle among pro-monarchy, pro-democracy groups and extremists created an atmosphere of political instability.
(b) A landlocked country with multi¬party competition.
(c) The first country to liberalise the economy in the South Asian region.
(d) In the conflict between the military and pro-democracy groups, the military has prevailed over democracy.
(e) Centrally located and shares borders with most of the South Asian Countries.
(f) Earlier the island had the Sultans as the head of state. Now, it is a republic.
(g) Small savings and credit cooperatives in the rural areas have helped in reducing poverty.
( h ) A landlocked country with a monarchy.

Answer: (a) Nepal (b) Bhutan
(c) India (d) Pakistan
(e) India (f) Maldives
(g) India (h) Nepal

2. Which among the following statements about South Asia is wrong?
(a) All the countries in South Asia are democratic.
(b) Bangladesh and India have signed an agreement on river-water sharing.
(c) SAFTA was signed at the 12th SAARC Summit in South Asian politics.
(d) The US and China play an influential role in South Asian politics.

Answer: (a) All the countries in South Asia are democratic.

3. What are some of the commonalities and differences between Bangladesh and Pakistan in their democratic experiences?

Answer: Bangladesh has been the part of Pakistan itself. Both of these countries bear some similarities and differences as follows:
1. Both Bangladesh and Pakistan were under a military rule.
2. At both the places, the struggle for democracy took place in their own way.
3. Pakistan’s administration began under the command of General Ayub Khan and gave up due to dissatisfaction among people giving way to Yahya’s military rule and continued with the army rule though elections were held by military rulers to give a democratic shape to their own rule.
4. In the same way, Bangladesh drafted its own constitution to begin with democracy. Sheikh Mujibur Rahman formed presidential setup by abolishing all the parties except Awami Legue. But after his assassination the new military ruler Zia-ur-Rahman formed his own party and won elections in 1979. Later on he was also assassinated and another military leader Lt. Gen. H.M. Ershad took over. Differences
1. In Pakistan, military, clergy and land-owning aristocrats dominated socially to overthrow elected government whereas in Bangladesh the leaders and their party members dominated for the same.
2. Pro-military groups have become more powerful due to conflict with India in Pakistan whereas in Bangladesh, pro-military groups are powerful due to friendship and encouragement of India.

4. List three challenges to democracy in Nepal.

Answer: The three challenges to democracy in Nepal were the result of a triangular conflict between-
1. the monarchist forces
2. the democrats
3. the Maoists
These challenges created massive, countrywide, pro-democracy protest in April 2006.

5. Name the principal players in the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka. How do you assess the prospects of the resolution of this conflict?

Answer: The principal players in the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka were Sinhala and Sri Lankan Tamils.
After its independence, politics in Sri Lanka was dominated by the interests of Sinhala community who was hostile to Tamils, who migrated from India to be settled there. Sinhalese presumed Sri Lanka to be belonged to them only, hence no concession should be given to Tamils. This created militant Tamil nationalism
i. e. ‘Ethnic conflict’.
Despite the revenges of internal conflict Sri Lanka has maintained democratic political system and registered considerable economic growth and high level of human development.

6. Mention some of the recent agreements between India and Pakistan. Can we be sure that the two countries are well in their way to a friendly relationship?

Answer: Although Indo-Pakistan relations seem to be the story of endemic conflict and violence, there have been a series of efforts to manage tensions and build peace under the various agreements:
1. Agreed to undertake confidence building measures to reduce the risk of war.
2. Social activists and prominent personalities have collaborated to create an atmosphere of friendship.
3. Leaders have met at summits to better understanding.
4. Bus routes have been opened up between these two countries.
5. Trade between the two parts of Punjab has increased substantially in the last five years.
6. Visas have been given more easily. No, despite the above mentioned agreements and initiatives, we can not be sure that both the countries are well in their way to friendship, still some areas of conflict exist there to be sorted out,

7. Mention two areas each of cooperation and disagreement between India and Bangladesh.

Answer: Disagreement
1. Differences over the sharing of the Ganga and Brahmaputra river waters.
2. Illegal immigration to India.
3. Refusal to allow Indian troops to move through its territory.
4. Not to export natural gas to India.
1. Economic relations have been improved considerably within last ten years.

2. Bangladesh is the part of India’s ‘Look East’ policy to link up with southeast Asia via Myanmar.
3. Cooperated on the issues of disaster management and environment.
4. Cooperation on identifying common threats and being more sensitive to each other’s needs.

8. How are the external powers influencing bilateral relations in South Asia? Take any one example to illustrate your point.

Answer: The external powers influence bilateral relations in South Asia because no region exists in the vacuum. It is influenced by outside powers and events no matter how much it may try to insulate itself from non-regional powers:
1. China and the US remain key players in South Asian politics.
2. Sino-Indian relations have improved significantly in the last ten years, but China’s strategic partnership with Pakistan remains a major irritant.
3. The demands of development and globalisation have brought the two Asian giants closer and their economic ties have multiplied rapidly since 1991.
4. The US enjoys good relations with both India and Pakistan and works as a moderator in Indo-Pak relations.
5. Economic reforms and liberal economic policies in both the countries have increased the depth of American participation. . _
6. The large South Asian economy remains in the US and the huge size of population and markets of the region give America an added stake in the future of regional security and peace.

9. Write a short note on the role and the limitations of SAARC as a forum for facilitating economic cooperation among the South Asian Countries.

Answer: Role of SAARC: Role of SAARC can be identified as follows:
1. ‘South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation’ (SAARC) is a regional initiative among South Asian states to evolve cooperation since 1985 onwards.
2. It consists of seven members to encourage mutual harmony and understanding.
3. SAARC has initiated SAFTA (South Asian Free Trade Agreement) to free trade zones for wThole south Asia for collective economic security.
4. SAARC has projected on economic development of its member states to reduce their dependencies on the non-regional powers.
Limitations: SAARC is growing slowly due to political differences among its member states—
1. Only the conflicts led to bilateral issues as Kashmir problem between India and Pak.
2. Some of the India’s neighbours fear that India intends to dominate them by influencing their societies and politics.
3. SAARC members are from among the developing or least developing countries which creates insufficiency of funds.

10. India’s neighbours often think that the Indian government tries to dominate and interfere in the domestic affairs of the smaller countries of the region. Is this a correct impression?

Answer: No, the impression is not correct because India makes efforts to manage its neighbours beyond its size and powers which can be justified on following grounds-
1. India often feels exploited by its neighbours.
2. On the other hand, India’s neighbours fear that India wants to dominate them regionally but India is centrally located who shares borders with other countries geographically, which should be accepted on mutual understanding.
3. India avoids political instability in its neighbouring states so that outsiders should not take advantage of influence in the region.

Very Short Answer Type Questions [1 Mark]

1. Fill in the blanks:
The South Asian Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) was signed by the members of in the year

Ans: SAARC, 2004.

2. Whose mediation resolved the Indus River water dispute between India and Pakistan?

Answer: The World Bank.

3. How long did East and West Pakistan remain together?

Answer: From 1947 to 1971.

4. What was the reason for the formation of SAARC?

Answer: The states of South Asia recognised cooperation and friendly relations among themselves which gave birth to the formation of SAARC for mutual trust and understanding among its member states.

5. What is the full form of SAARC?

Answer: SAARC: South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation.

6. Mention present status of Sri Lanka.

Answer: Sri Lanka has maintained a democratic political system alongwith a considerable economic growth i.e. Sri Lanka is one of the first developing countries to control population growth rate, liberalised economy and bears highest per capita Gross Domestic Product despite ongoing conflicts.

7. What does the MDP stand for?

Answer: MDP stands for Maldivian Democratic Party.

8. Who took the command over Pakistan after its first constitution was framed?

Answer: General Ayub Khan.

9. What does SPA stand for?

Answer: SPA stands for Seven Party Alliance to protest against monarchy in Nepal.

10. What was the former name of Sri Lanka?

Answer: Ceylon.

11. Mention changes that occurred in Maldives.

Answer: 1. Transformed into a republic with a presidential form of government in 1968.
2. In June 2005, parliament voted unanimously to introduce multi¬party system.
3. Democracy strengthened after 2005 elections.

12. What is meant by Geo-politics?

Answer: Geo-politics refers togetherness of countries who are bound with each other geographically and their interests are also interlinked politically and economically.

13. What do you mean by South Asia?

Answer: South Asia signifies a group of seven countries i.e. Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and the Maldives who stand for diversity in every sense but still constitute one geo¬political space.

14. How did LTTE emerge?

Answer: LTTE emerged 1983 onwards on the negligence of Tamil interest by Sri Lanka government. Hence, ‘Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam’ (LTTE) took birth demanding a seperate state for Tamil in Sri Lanka.

15. What does SAFTA stand for?

Answer: SAFTA: South Asian Free Trade Area Agreement.
Very Short Answer Type Questions [2 Marks]

1. Mention the names of member states of SAARC.

Answer: India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Maldives.

2. Mention any two objectives of SAARC.

Answer: 1. To provide an integrated programme for regional development.
2. To accelerate economic growth, social progress in the region.

3. “Democracy in South Asia has expanded the global imagination of democracy”. Do you agree? Justify.
Answer: The various countries in South Asia have experienced mixed record of democracies and the people also share an aspiration for democracy to be flourished not only in rich or developed countries but in developing and underdeveloped countries also which can be drawn from the examples of Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Maldives, because—
1. Every ordinary citizen, rich or poor belonging to different religions view the idea of democracy positively and support the institutions of representative democracy.
2. They prefer democracy over any other form of democracy and think that democracy is suitable for their country.

4. Explain the problems that India have with Pakistan.

Answer: India have following problems with Pakistan:
1. The problem of Kashmir on the issues of Pak occupied Kashmir (Pok) and Line of Control (LOC). India claims Kashmir to be its integral part and Pakistan refuses to accept it. Hence, wars took place in 1965 and 1971, but issue remained unsettled.
2. Problems over starting issues like control of Siachin glacier and over acquisition of arms involved both the states acquiring nuclear weapons and missiles to deliver such arms against each other in 1990s.
3. Pakistan government has been blamed for using a strategy of low key violence by helping Kashmiri militants with arms, training, money and protection to carry out terrorist strikes against India.
4. Pak’s spy agency Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) is alleged to involve in various anti India campaigns.

5. “Military rule and democracy are the two sides of a coin in Pakistan”. Examine the statement.

Answer: Military rule and democracy co-exist or are the two sides of a coin can be examined with the following facts:
1. After the implementation of first constitution in Pakistan, General Ayub Khan took the command, but was overthrown by military general Yahya Khan due to dissatisfaction of rule.
2. Again in 1971, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto formed an elected government which was later removed by General Zia-ul- Haq in 1977.
3. 1982 onwards, pro-democracy movements took place resulting an elected democratic government in 1988 under leadership of Benazir Bhutto, replaced by Nawaz Sharif.
4. Nawaz Sharif was again removed by General Pervez Musharraf in 1999 and in 2005, he got himself elected as president but was later dethroned by the court.

6. What is Indus River Water Treaty? Mention its significance also.

Answer: India and Pakistan signed Indus River Water Treaty by the mediation of the world bank in 1960 over the issue of sharing of rivers of the Indus basin. This treaty has been survived despite many military conflicts between these two countries. .

7. Why did India help Bangladesh to get independence and how?

Answer: Bangladesh was created by the support of India because:
1. West Pakistan did not allow Awami League, an East Pakistani Party to form government despite winning all the seats.
2. East Pakistanis rebelled against and were suppressed by the army of West Pakistan, resulting large scale migration into India.
3. This created huge refugee problem for India.
4. Hence, India supported the demand of East Pakistanis financially and militarily.
5. In December 1971, a war took place between India and Pakistan and ended with the surrender of Pakistani forces by forming Bangladesh as an independent country.

8. Mention some points of agreement between India and Nepal.

Answer: India and Nepal enjoy the following agreements:
1. Allow their citizens to travel and work without visas and passport.
2. India is the largest aid giver to Nepal to provide financial and technical assistance in areas of trade, scientific cooperation, common natural resources and electricity generation.

9. Mention the features of SAFTA.

Answer: South Asian Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) was signed by SAARC members in 2004 with the following features:
1. Formation of Free Trade Zone for whole south Asia.
2. To sustain mutual trade and cooperation among SAARC members.

10. Mention some other conflicts in South Asia except with that of India.

Answer: 1. Nepal and Bhutan as well as Bangladesh and Myanmar have disagreement over the migration of ethnic Nepalese into Bhutan and Rohingyas into Myanmar.
2. Bangladesh and Nepal bear some differences over the future of Himalayan river water.