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South Asia

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Map of South Asia. (Note that this map represents the  in  as the international border between India and Pakistan, a position that neither party considers acceptable.)
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Map of South Asia. (Note that this map represents the line of control in Kashmir as the international border between India and Pakistan, a position that neither party considers acceptable.)

South Asia is a subregion of Asia, usually taken as comprising the modern countries of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. It covers about 4,480,000 km² (1,729,738 mi²), or 10 percent of the continent, and is also known as the Indian subcontinent. These countries are all members of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC). Some or all of Afghanistan is sometimes considered part of South Asia.

Subregions of South Asia include:

South Asia ranks among the world's most densely-populated regions. About 1.5 billion people live there — about a fourth of all the people in the world. The region's population density of 305 persons per square kilometre is more than seven times the world average.

The region has a long history. Ancient civilisations developed in the Indus River Valley. The region was at its most prosperous before the 17th century, when the Mughal Empire held sway in the north; European colonialism led to a new conquering of the region, by Portugal and Holland, and later Britain and to a lesser degree France. Most of the region gained independence from Europe in the late 1940s.

The concept of "South Asia" is useful when referring to the countries of the region as a group. Together with the term "The Subcontinent", the descriptor can be useful when discussing issues that affect the common history, culture, etc. of the countries. Citizens of South Asian countries other than India can sometimes be offended by the use of "India" or "Indian" in relation to them or their national, and some times even historical and cultural, origins. A term that historians would use, intended simply to refer to India and its neighbours without reference to current intentions — the phrase "Greater India" — is even more repugnant.

See also



Southern Asia sometimes refers to all of Asia that was not part of the Soviet Union.

Other subregions of Asia

External links


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