2016 so far has been an Asian year: 8 big events

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The year 2016 has just started but it seems it is already a year dominated by Asia (remember as it is often said that the 21st century will be an Asian century).

From a series of a terror attacks in South and South-east Asia to testing of nuclear weapon by North Korea to an important election in Taiwan to lifting of sanctions against Iran by the West, the month of January has brought Asia in all headlines while issues like refugee and the run-up to the American presidential election has taken a backseat.

2016: An Asian Year!

Here are the important developments that took place in Asia in 2016 so far:

Terror attack at a Pakistani university: At least 21 people were killed in an attack on Bacha Khan University in Charsadda town in Khyber Pakhtunkha, about 50 kilometres from Peshawar, on January 20. More than 30, including students, staff and security personnel were injured. Four terrorists were killed in the counter-operation.

Terror attack at Pathankot air base in India: A heavily armed group attacked the Pathankot Air Force station in Punjab on January 2 and the subsequent fighting went on for three days. Seven security personnel and six terrorists were killed. The attackers were suspected to be members of the Jaish-e-Mohammed, an Islamist militant group.

[4 reasons why Pakistan is cooperating after Pathankot attack]

Terror attack in Jakarta in Indonesia: Multiple explosions and gunfire were reported near a shopping mall in central in Jakarta on January 14. The attacks included those near a UN centre and luxury hotels and foreign embassies. Four persons (including four terrorists and one foreigner) were killed in the incident. The Islamic State later claimed responsibility for the attack.

Nuclear test by North Korea: The Kim Jong-un regime of North Korea carried out its fourth nuclear test on January 6, sending ripples, both in terms of geography and security threat, across the world. The US and China reported earthquake from the location where the underground test was carried out.

Pyongyang even claimed it to be a hydrogen bomb while others said it was more of a fission bomb. The test led to a serious fallout in the sensitive Korean Peninsula with even North Korea's trusted friend China condemning it.

[North Korea, Taiwan: How dictatorship and democracy threatening China]

Lifting sanctions on Iran: The West lifted its sanctions against Iran on January 17 after the IAEA announced the day before that Tehran had complied with the accord of July 2015. With this decision, the path for Iran's reconnecting with the world economy became clear.

More than $30 billion in overseas assets became immediately available for the country and its economy looked forward to fresh impetus besides a surge in its oil trading.

[Iran's ‘Lexus and Olive Tree' moment; which will prevail?]

Saudi Arabia-Iran relations: The relation between these two big powers in West Asia saw a serious deterioration after Saudi Arabia executed 47 people for terrorism, including Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr on January 2. Protests took place in Tehran over the executions, leading to Saudi embassy there getting vandalised. The Saudis broke off their diplomatic terms with Iran and their relations declined rapidly.

[How Iran has presented different stories for India, Pakistan]

Taiwan election: Taiwan saw a decisive election on January 16 when the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party won both the presidential and legislative elections, throwing out the pro-China Kuomintang after a long time. The election result was considered significant for it could bring significant changes in Taiwan's economic reforms, putting Beijing in a spot in the coming days.

China's slows down in 25 years: Just like political and strategic challenges, China's economy, too, had its share of bad news on January 19 when the growth rate released by the country's government was moderated to 6.8 per cent (fourth quarter) and 6.9 per cent for 2015. It was the weakest in 25 years and signalled at worrying days ahead for the world's second-biggest economy.



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