South Asia is a distinct geographical entity comprised of seven
countries - India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka
and Maldives (situated in the Indian Ocean). The region, as
discussed in the contributions to this volume, is turning out to be
the most dangerous place in the world, representing a breeding
ground of bloody terror and radical extremism exemplified by the
assassination of Benazir Bhutto, of Pakistan, in December
2007.India and Pakistan have been involved in a never-ending
conflict over Kashmir since the sub-continent was divided in 1947,
and have been involved in numerous wars and superpower games. The
situation has now become alarming since both countries possess
nuclear arms, religious extremism has spread, and there is
increased internal ethnic fighting (particularly in Pakistan).
Pakistan, often described as a failed state, is experimenting with
democracy with serious internal and external results. Bangladesh,
oscillating between brief periods of democracy and military
dictatorship, is becoming a center for religious extremism, and
poses serious problems for India due to illegal immigration. In
Nepal, the monarchy has been abolished and a left-wing Maoist
government has taken hold. For the last twenty years, Sri Lanka has
been involved in a bloody civil war. Even Bhutan and Maldives
experience security and internal problems. The chapters in this
book look at these countries in a historical context, from
inter-regional and international perspectives. Conflict and peace
in South Asia connect with a diverse array of factors, ranging from
poverty, nuclear proliferation, heavy military expenditure at the
expense of development and social goods, militancy, insurgency,
illegal migration, environmental degradation, resource depletion,
child labor, gender discrimination, and so on. Globalization has
increased the income of the region's wealthy class segments and
promoted inter-regional inequality. All these factors are
interrelated. Accordingly, this volume includes papers that link
socio-economic factors, resource constraints, and international
trade to human security. Although most of the papers are case
studies for individual countries, an attempt has been made in other
papers to show how the quantitative methods of Peace Science can be
used to analyze the region's situation and make predictions for the
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