Conflict, Extremism, Resilience and Peace in South Asia; Can COVID-19 Provide a Bridge for Peace and Rapprochement?   [open pdf - 1MB]

From the Document: "South Asia, home to 1.97 billion people (25% of the world's population), is no stranger to conflict and confrontation. Longstanding border disputes (such as between India and China and the decades-old standoff between India and Pakistan), the forced displacement of Myanmar Muslims to Bangladesh, and the 2021 rise of the Taliban triggering a mass exodus of professionals and educated women from Afghanistan underscore the enormous volatility and unpredictability of the region. Climate change poses a further challenge, with the real risk of interstate 'water wars.' Indeed, South Asia now faces a range of threats, with real risks of these spilling over into interstate conflict. [...] The history of conflict and vast inequities meant the region was a sitting duck for an infectious disease outbreak that took full advantage of social vulnerability. The covid-19 [coronavirus disease 2019] pandemic has clearly exposed the extreme fragility of health systems, the limitations of emergency response capacity, inadequate early disease warning capabilities, and miniscule social support systems in the region. Consequently, South Asia has fared badly, with massive social and economic disruptions and the emergence of the delta variant leading to tremendous excess mortality across many countries in the region, including Sri Lanka, which had been less affected in the early phases of the pandemic. Education was interrupted for an estimated 434 million children, and numbers of teenage pregnancies rose by over 450 000 as young girls were married after dropping out of school." This document includes charts, tables, and graphs to illustrate the text.

BMJ Publishing Group. Posted here with permission. Document is under a Creative Commons license and requires proper attribution and noncommercial use to be shared: [http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/]
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BMJ Analysis (November 15, 2021), v.375 no.e067384
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