Why should India have reservations?


The Indian Union symbolizes the tension between tradition and the challenges of globalization like hardly any other country.


The Indian Union symbolizes the tension between tradition and the challenges of globalization like hardly any other country. The nuclear tests of 1998 and the debate about the sending of Indian software and computer specialists to Germany show aspects of modern India which are in clear contradiction to one another with popular ideas of the caste system and the worship of the cow. India is also the central country in the South Asia region, which US President Clinton described as the 'most dangerous place in the world' prior to his trip to South Asia in the spring of 2000. (In the following, the states of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka are counted as South Asia.)

1. South Asia is the only region in which, with India, Pakistan and the People's Republic (PR) China, three nuclear powers directly collide. India and Pakistan have not yet joined any international control regimes such as the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. In addition, all three states in Kashmir have disputed territorial claims. The conflict, which has been fought primarily between India and Pakistan since 1947, is the oldest regional conflict in the world. 2. In addition to issues of nuclear proliferation, a number of other security threats are linked to the region. Militant Islamic fundamentalism and international terrorism are centered in the Afghan-Pakistani area and threaten not only India but also the western provinces of the PRC and the Central Asian republics. South Asia is located between two of the largest drug-growing areas, the 'Golden Crescent' in the Afghan-Pakistani border area and the 'Golden Triangle' in neighboring Southeast Asia. 3. South Asia is the 'poor house' of humanity. According to international economic and social statistics, almost as many people live in poverty in South Asia as there are on the entire African continent. 4. Despite widespread poverty, domestic political disputes and regional conflicts, South Asia is also the largest democratic region in the world. The Indian Union is the largest democracy in the world. Of the smaller neighboring states, Sri Lanka has also had an almost continuous democratic tradition since 1948. In Bangladesh, Nepal and Pakistan, elected governments came to power again in the late 1980s and early 1990s as part of the third wave of democratization, even though they had already been replaced by a military regime in Pakistan.