The grand Indian Ocean washes the shores of Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, the Maldives, and Bangladesh. Together with these, Nepal and Bhutan make up much of South Asia. South Asia is truly thickly populated as it has one-fifth of the world’s total population.
The Indian sub-continent was vast and had all the world’s climates in its different parts, diverse crops, fruits, vegetables, mineral resources, forests, rivers and mountains and a frightening population. Now add to this the resources and work force of Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Bhutan, and Nepal. So, we have rice, wheat, cotton, oranges, bananas, fish, iron, silver, gold, uranium, diamonds, oil, gas and many other resources that are needed for all kinds of commercial, industrial and scientific activities.
The varieties of climate in the region from hot cold and dry to wet give the taste of the entire world topography (geographical features) in the form of mountains, plains, seas, and rivers.
Pakistan’s position is undoubtedly central to the whole South Asian region as it acts as a bridge between the Middle East and Central Asia. Then, Pakistan itself bridges China and Southwest Asia and West Asia and East Asia as well. So, geographically, commercially, politically and militarily Pakistan occupies a central position in the region. If we consider the sea and land routes, the easy movement of men and goods along the land surface and seacoasts of Pakistan from the eastern countries including, India to the western countries including Iran, the importance of Pakistan can well be imagined.
However, South Asia is in an unhappy state (situation), almost hopelessly caught up in many political and economic problems and evils.
Firstly, the most painful and destructive political problem of Kashmir has continued to poison the relations of the two important countries of the region. India has, through the last fifty years, kept Kashmir with it forcibly against the will of the Kashmiris. Therefore, the Kashmiris have struggled for freedom and Pakistan and India have fought wars with disastrous consequences (horrible results).
Secondly, the rise of Hindu extremism, fundamentalism or nationalism or religious intolerance is a constant cause of conflict between the Hindus and Muslims in the country. This conflict resulted in the demolition of the Babri mosque and large-scale disturbances and killings in India a few years ago.
Thirdly, the internal Tamil uprising in Sri Lanka and the unsuccessful efforts of the Indians to help in crushing it have kept the Sri Lankans hanging between bloodshed and false hopes of peace.
Fourthly, a common problem of the smaller South-Asian countries is to check the growing desire of India to become a mini-superpower of the region and then to dominate (or subjugate) and crush others.
Now is the time, after the nuclear preparations by India and Pakistan on equal levels, to establish a true balance of power, equality, peace, and justice in the whole South Asian region.