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Highlighting Commonality of Concerns

Rumki Basu

By Tan Tai Yong
2010, pp. 517, Rs. 850.00

By Tan Tai Yong
Sage Publications, Delhi, 2009, pp. 169, Rs. 595.00

VOLUME XXXIV NUMBER 9 September 2010

The Institute of South Asian Studies (ISAS) established in 2004 as an autonomous research institute within the National University of Singapore is actively engaged in developing research programmes and generating publications on South Asian economics, politics and international relations. Its establishment reflects the increasing economic and political importance of South Asia and the need for South Asia to play a bigger role in the multilateral fora. The first part of South Asia: Societies in Political and Economic Transition, a 2010 publication of ISAS scholars, deals with political issues that have witnessed the most change and turbulence, while the second part deals with economic issues that have been of concern to all the South Asian countries and to India, in particular. In this book South Asia refers to the countries of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. However most of the articles focus on the four major economies of the region, namely India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka which account for about 99% of the total Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for South Asia. While the India success story is well known (currently it is the second fastest growing economy in the world) that of others less well so. Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka despite political turbulence and ethnic conflicts also achieved growth of above 6 percent, lowering poverty rates to a great extent. Finally, with the highest human development index (HDI) and per capita income in the region, Sri Lanka too still has the potential to become an Asian Tiger now that the ruinous civil war has finally come to an end. This volume reflects the expertise of a group of renowned scholars from the various South Asian countries and looks at contemporary political as well as economic issues in South Asia. Farooq Sobhan traces the developments that led to the establishment of the caretaker government in Bangladesh. He argues that the caretaker government would be judged by its ability to put in place a transparent and clean administration. Caroline Brassard traces the history of development in Bhutan, outlining the unique characteristics that have led to definition of a gross national happiness index as more relevant than a human development index. She is confident that major positive changes in governance would follow the ushering in of democracy in Bhutan. In ‘The Pakistan Garrison state: Pre and post 9/11’ Ishtiaq Ahmed provides a deeply analytical and conceptual study of Pakistan as a garrison with ...

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