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India

Yearbook 2015

2015 IndiaIndia. According to COUNTRYAAH, India's strong economic growth continued during the year. The third quarter was 7.4%, surpassing the other major emerging economies in the BRICS group, including China. But more reforms are required in agriculture, among others, the Asian Development Bank notes.

The BJP (Indian People's Party) government was hit by two major setbacks in the state elections. In the capital New Delhi, the anti-corruption party AAP won a grand victory in February. The BJP also lost in Bihar, the country's third largest state. The Bihar loss in November was heavy, partly because the BJP and its allies won in Bihar in the national elections in 2014, and partly Prime Minister Narendra Modi had spent a lot of time campaigning in Bihar. At stake were the state seats in the national parliament's upper house, the Rajya Sabha. There, the BJP is in a minority, which makes it difficult to try to push through reforms. An important issue that the Modi government is pushing for is to introduce a uniform national tax for goods and services in 2016. The BJP now needs to negotiate with the Congress Party, which wants to adjust the proposal.

2015 India

In foreign policy, the government maintained its high profile. US President Barack Obama was a guest of honor at Republic Day celebrations in January. It reflected the good ties between the countries. Several agreements were also signed, for example on nuclear power, arms purchases and joint military exercises. In March, Modi became the first Indian head of government to visit Sri Lanka in almost 30 years, and where China's influence increased in the island nation.

At the same time, China is India's most important trading partner and in May, the countries signed agreements worth $ 22 billion when Modi visited Beijing. The old border dispute in the Himalayas that led to a short war in 1962 was also raised.

Relations with Pakistan remained chilly. However, Modi accepted an invitation to visit Pakistan in 2016 when the country hosts a summit within the South Asian cooperation organization SAARC. Modi and Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had some informal meetings, including at the UN Climate Summit in Paris. At the end of the year, their security advisers also met in Thailand to discuss, among other things, terrorism. It was a small breakthrough since previous meetings were canceled.

The Kashmir conflict was a cause. Fire fighting occurred during the year at the control line and required both civilian and military casualties on both sides. The countries blamed each other for breaking previous agreements. UN chief Ban Ki Moon expressed concern over the development.

India ordered 36 Rafale fighter aircraft when Modi visited France in April. The decision reduces the country's dependence on the United States and the Russian Federation for Arms Procurement. The government also stated that it wants to build up the domestic military industry.

In August, Bangladesh and India changed control of about 160 enclaves in accordance with a 1974 agreement.

A summit of 40 African heads of state and government was held in October in New Delhi. Here, too, the Modi government is trying to take some of China's lead. India promised aid and increased trade, and Modi raised the need to reform the UN Security Council, where India wants to become a permanent member.

In November, Modi became the first Indian head of government to visit the UK in ten years. Several financial agreements were signed, but before and during the visit, concerns were raised about a more "intolerant" social climate in India. During the year, some 40 Indian writers, cultural workers and researchers returned awards they received as a protest against emerging religious intolerance and restrictions on freedom of expression.

Reports of rape cases, sometimes with very young victims, continued. In March, the government banned the screening of a documentary film, "India's Daughter", produced by the British BBC, which portrayed a prominent group rape in 2012. The case was rediscovered in December when one of the six men convicted of the assault was released, despite protests. The Supreme Court ruled that the release was lawful as the man was underage when he was sentenced and served the maximum sentence of three years.

Weather phenomena required many casualties during the year. Over 2,000 people died in a heatwave in May. At least 280 people died and thousands became homeless by the end of the year when the southern state of Tamil Nadu's capital Chennai was hit by the worst floods in 100 years following heavy monsoon rains.

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