India 2005

Asia

Yearbook 2005

India. According to countryaah, New Delhi is the capital and one of the major cities within the country of India. The tsunami disaster in December 2004 was estimated to have caused material damage to the country for at least SEK 18 billion. The worst affected were the state of Tamil Nadu on the southeastern mainland as well as the Andaman and Nicobar islands.

However, for the dynamic Indian economy, the tsunami did not cause any significant disruption. While the government expressed its concern several times that the growth target of 8% would not be achieved during the year, it was mainly due to rising oil costs, poor infrastructure and problems in agriculture. Towards the end of the year, however, the statistics showed that growth was stronger than expected, and the eight percent target again seemed possible. Exports increased sharply, as did the value of industrial production, while agriculture almost stagnated. About 60% of the population feeds on low-productivity agriculture, which is facing increased competition through increased imports. In November, a farmer lobby group stated that at least 400 farmers in the richest state of Maharashtra had committed suicide in 2005 due to financial problems. The agricultural crisis helped to topple the Conservative government in 2004, which the Congress Party leadership was keenly aware of. The government, which is dependent on the support of the Communist parties in Parliament, therefore submitted in February a budget with strong emphasis on improving the living conditions of the poor. Increased investments were made in health care, basic education and rural infrastructure. Agricultural aid was increased by 30%.

At the same time, the defense allocation was increased by 7.8% to about SEK 140 billion and India was the largest arms importer among all developing countries during the year. The largest single contract during the year was concluded with a French-Spanish consortium and applied to submarines for approximately SEK 15 billion. Several large civilian import agreements were also concluded. Air India was given a license to buy 68 Boeing planes for about SEK 60 billion shortly after Indian Airlines signed a contract on 43 planes from Airbus for about SEK 17 billion.

That India is still lagging in the economic race with other Asian countries such as China was clearly shown when heavy monsoon rains soaked the city of Bombay, the country’s economic engine. One thousand people were killed and the cost of destruction and lost production was estimated at SEK 5-6 billion. The floods revealed major deficiencies in sewage systems, house building technology and other infrastructure.

India entered into a trade and security policy cooperation agreement with the EU during the year, an agreement with the United States on defense cooperation and development of civil nuclear energy, reached a settlement with China on peaceful settlement of border conflicts and increased trade and cultural cooperation and continued dialogue with rival Pakistan. The most tangible result of the approach to Pakistan was that a bus line was opened over the Kashmir standstill line between Indian Srinagar and Pakistani Muzaffarabad and that some local trade across the Indian-Pakistan border was allowed. The two countries also exchanged hundreds of prisoners. After three terrorist attacks in Delhi in October, when 61 people were killed and over 200 injured, the tone between the countries again became cooler since India claimed that the Kashmiri separatists designated for the killing had received Pakistani support.

Corruption accusations swept several leading politicians. Foreign Minister Natwar Singh was forced to resign after accusations of having shot himself personally on contract with Saddam Hussein’s regime during the UN Food for Oil Program for Iraq. Eleven MPs were dismissed after receiving hidden cash from journalists who claimed to be working for a lobbying group that needed the support of politicians.

In March 2012, demonstrations were held in Tamil Nadu against the construction of a nuclear power plant in Kudankulam. Resistance to the use of nuclear power had increased after the meltdown at the Fukushima plant in Japan a year earlier.

The July 2012 presidential election was won by UPA’s Pranab Mukherjee, who got 713,763 electoral college votes against PASangma who got 315,987.

In July, too, India cooled diplomatic relations with Denmark. This happened after the prosecutor’s office decided not to appeal the High Court’s ruling to the Supreme Court. The High Court has given a ruling that in 1995 the Dane Niels Holck who threw weapons down West Bengal should not be extradited to India for prosecution. The failure to extradite was not justified by the lack of criminal activity, but by the risk that he would be subjected to torture.

A young female student in New Delhi was assaulted and raped by a group of men in December for subsequently being killed. Rape and group rape are common in India, but the difference was that the incident this time raised a storm of protests both nationally and internationally. Authorities are often indifferent to reports of rape, slow to resolve cases and too poor to protect witnesses. It has created a culture of great impunity around rape.

Economic growth in 2013 fell to 4.7%. India began to run into growth constraints in the form of enormous poverty in the countryside and in urban slums, as well as a huge educational backlog

India conducted parliamentary elections in April-May 2014. 814.5 million Indians were eligible and gave a landslide to the Hindu-nationalist BJP, which went 166 seats up to 282 out of the 543th parliament. Its right-wing NDA alliance got a total of 336 seats. The Congress party lost 162 seats and had to settle for 44. In total, its UPA alliance gained just 60 seats. The election’s themes and the real cause of the Congress Party’s staggering defeat were: corruption, unemployment, high inflation, the economic downturn and security issues. After the election, BJP leader Narendra Modi could take the post of prime minister. For several years, Modi had been persona-non-grata in the United States, Britain and the EU for his role in the massacres of Muslims in Gujarat in 2002, but as hand political influence increased in the late 00s

In May, the Supreme Court overturned the verdict of 6 men convicted of participating in the attack on the Akshardham Temple in Gujarat in 2002. The Supreme Court pointed out that there was no evidence against the men and the investigation had been steeped in error.

Modi initiated a rapid liberalization of the economy, the state planning commission was abolished, price subsidies abolished and the regulation of foreign investment in India abolished. In September 2014, Chinese President Xi Jinping visited India, and a series of cooperation agreements were signed between the two countries.

Also in September, Prime Minister Modi spoke to the UN Annual General Assembly in New York, where he proposed to make June 21 for Global Yoga Day. That got the General Assembly’s approval.

In October 2014, Kailash Satyarthi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his work in favor of children’s rights in India. He shared it with Pakistani Masala Yousafzai, whom the Pakistani Taliban had tried to assassinate the year before.