India. An attack on an Indian airbase on the border with
Pakistan in January shook the Indian defense and disrupted
an initial icing with the neighboring country. At least
seven Indian soldiers and four attackers were killed. Only
after four days did the army secure the Pathankot base in
the state of Punjab, which raised questions about its
countryaah, India accused the Jaish-e-Mohammad separatist movement
based in Pakistan for the act. Pakistan promised to
investigate the suspects and also sent investigators to
India. New Delhi unsuccessfully tried to get the separatist
movement's leader Masood Azhar stamped as a terrorist by the
UN. China, which has good ties with Pakistan, was opposed.
During the year, the Kashmir conflict escalated. Fire
strikes across the India-Pakistan border demanded several
deaths on both sides. Indian allies also fought battles with
suspected separatists. In Jammu and Kashmir's capital
Srinagar and other parts of the state, curfews were
announced following violent clashes between protesters and
security forces. Protest strikes occurred and local media
were sometimes banned. Relations with Pakistan were further
strained in September when 18 Indian soldiers were killed in
an attack on an army base in Uri, west of Srinagar. Prime
Minister Narendra Modi and others in the government accused
Pakistan of participating in cross-border terrorism.
Jammu and Kashmir got their first female leader in April
when Mehboda Sayeed of the PDP (Democratic People's Party)
succeeded his late father as the head of state.
In October, India hosted a summit for the emerging
economies of the BRICS group, including China and the
Russian Federation. India was not heard to condemn two named
groups in Pakistan, but the final communication condemned
terror. During the meeting, the procurement of the Russian
air defense system S-400 and four Russian frigates were
announced. Modi and President Vladimir Putin also agreed on
energy agreements. Russian oil company Rosneft expanded its
operations in India during the year.
Modi visited Iran in May and agreed to invest half a
billion dollars in a deep-sea port in Chabahar on the
Persian Gulf. In the long term, countries in Central Asia
may have transport alternatives to Pakistan.
The Indian economy continued to show strong growth. In
the third quarter, which ended in September, GDP increased
by 7.3%. Growth, however, was expected to halt because of
the government's surprising and contentious decision in
November to annul all 500 and 1,000 rupee notes. These
denominations constituted the majority of banknotes in
circulation. Chaotic queues arose outside banks and exchange
offices as many Indians are often paid cash. The government
justified the decision with the need to fight tax fraud and
other financial crime. Falling growth is a rate cut likely
next year. In September, Urjit Patel took over as Governor
of the Central Bank.
Modi's government got through its proposal to introduce a
uniform national tax on goods and services, which was termed
a major tax reform. It was unclear what tax rate would apply
and whether it would be in place when the new fiscal year
begins in April 2017.
India, the world's third largest greenhouse gas emissions
country, approved the climate agreement signed in October in
Paris in October.
Problems with air pollution were noted during the year.
The World Health Organization WHO estimates that 600,000
people die prematurely in India as a result. In November,
hundreds of schools were closed in New Delhi's capital for
several days because of the dangerous air. A ban was imposed
on burning straw in the fields. Vehicle traffic and
construction were also limited to reduce the presence of
extremely small dust particles that contribute to health
In November, at least 148 people were killed in a train
crash in the state of Uttar Pradesh, the country's worst
In a temple fire in the southern state of Kerala, more
than 100 people died in April when an elapsed firework piece
ignited a fireworks store and triggered a major fire. There
was no permit for the fireworks.
Severe drought and a heatwave hit up to 330 million
people in April and May. Over 300 died in the states of
Odisha, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. Temperatures were
sometimes above 45 degrees. In May, an Indian heat record of
51 degrees was recorded in the city of Phaladi in the state
In December, the state of Tamil Nadu's popular head of
government Jayaram Jayalalithaa died. The former film star
became the leader of the AIADMK regional party in 1989 and
was elected head of state four times, despite being forced
to step down twice after bribery charges.