2014 was an eventful year for South Asia, thanks mainly to the many political events that took place in many countries in the region. Here is a quick recap of some of the more important political events that made the rest of the world sit up and take notice of South Asia in 2014.
Politics take U Turn in India
India experienced the biggest political event of the year as the tables turned on the Congress and its decade long rule to let the Bharatiya Janata Party enjoy a landslide victory in the general assembly elections.
Crossfire at Indo-Pakistani and Sino-Indian borders
BJP’s victory bash was cut short by two confrontations that took place in the wake of the assembly elections. The Indo-Pakistani border experienced very heavy exchanges of fire, a first after many years. Similarly, India got into a dispute over China owing to border violations. These disputes could lead the nation’s regional security in the lurch.
Security for Indian women reduces
India faced another slew of rape and sexual harassment cases last year, with the number of reported cases increasing significantly than the paste years. The quintessential Indian women continues to live in fear of being groped in public or raped, thus hardly choosing to remain indoors rather than venture out.
Taliban Attack on Peshawar school leaves over 100 innocent children dead
Pakistan paid dearly for its army’s initiatives to bring order and control to the North Waziristan region that borders Afghanistan and is controlled by the al-Qaida to a large extent. The Taliban retaliated by entering an army school in Peshawar and killing more than 100 children.
Unsuccessful attempt at ousting Nawaz Sharif
Pakistan’s military and civilian rulers have for long been at loggerheads with each other pertaining to several issues regarding the country. With the government’s stance against the military weakening, the former fell prey to many politicians like Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri who tried to oust Nawaz Sharif from power. However, nothing seemed to materialize even after several months of protesting.
Bloody Elections in Bangladesh
The elections in Bangladesh in 2014 took an ugly turn as opposition activists and security forces clashed with each other. While the Bangladesh Nationalist Party decided to boycott the poll, the Awami League decided to consolidate its grip on power. The result was scores and scores of hospitals filling up with innocent civilians who were caught in the crossfire.
Increased instances of gang violence in maldives
A nation once known for its peace and tranquility has been plagued by increasing instances of gang violence. However, this did not deter the country’s tourism industry that continued to flourish. Perhaps, the most significant event to occur in Maldives in 2014 was the disappearance of a journalist who worked for an independent news website. The journalist is still missing to date.
Economic conditions of South Asian countries
Bangladesh continued to do well on the economic front in 2014 as Pakistan continued to slip in the same arena. India experienced a positive growth with the BJP’s (or should we say Modi’s) win boosting confidence among both local and international investors.
Other major changes in the region in 2014
In spite of all these changes, life for the 1.3 billion in South Asia continued to remain the same. The countries in the region experienced increased incomes, incrementally increased literacy levels, lengthened life spans and diverse opportunities galore.
Development does not come without its cost. A lot of cities in the region earned the tag of the most polluted places in the world, with Delhi overtaking Beijing. On the other side, natural disasters like floods created havoc and took along with them the lives of several people in both India and Pakistan. Two high profile tragedies in the Himalayas involving over 40 people also affected Nepal’s adventure sports industry to a great extent.
What lies in store for 2015?
2015 would most probably be another year to look forward to and expect huge political changes in South Asia. From Modi’s parliamentary reforms and Sri Lanka’s impending elections to Bangladesh’s garment industry promising to improve workplace safety parameters, 2015 is set to see some more major changes in the political arena.
South Asia was exposed to plenty of major political events in 2014. However, the events mentioned above were the ones that were more significant and grabbed the most headlines last year.