Sunday, March 06, 2005

State of Democracy in South Asia

Hardly a day passes without Indian diplomats bragging about India being the 'largest democracy in the world'. We all know how crooked our democracy is!. We certainly have a long way to go in terms of democratic standards. The recent events in Jharkhand and Goa are a stark remainder to our hallow claims on Democracy. But what is also disheartening is the state of democracy in South Asia as a whole. We all know about Pakistan. It has hardly been a democracy for few years in its 58 year history. Nepal is going down the drain. Infact the situation there is conducive for a communist revolution to overthrow the Monarch. I won't be complaining if that happens. Bhutan is still far away from Democracy, but is making some progress. Democracy in Bangladesh has all but failed. If you are an opposition politician there, you better be prepared for being killed! In Maldives, the recent presidential elections are widely regarded as being far below acceptable democratic standards. Srilanka is much better in this regard. But the Tamils there have very little voice and the political parties aren't mature enough yet. The situation is bad even in our immediate neighbourhood. Burma and China are Military dictatorships. (Yep!) Afghanistan is still too young to be a democracy. Israelis often say that 'India is the first democracy when we look east and we are the first democracy when Indians look west!' Now the question is what has been India's role in this regard. Is it not the utter failure of Indian Diplomacy that has resulted in this unpleasant situation in South Asia. The talk of Panchasheel and non interference will have little meaning when these countries drag India down the drain. Or have they already started ?

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