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SOUTH ASIA or SOUTHERN ASIA is a term used to represent the southern region of the Asian continent , which comprises the sub-Himalayan SAARC
SAARC
countries and, for some authorities , adjoining countries to the west and east. Topographically, it is dominated by the Indian Plate
Indian Plate
, which rises above sea level as Nepal
Nepal
and northern parts of India situated south of the Himalayas
Himalayas
and the Hindu Kush . South
South
Asia
Asia
is bounded on the south by the Indian Ocean
Indian Ocean
and on land (clockwise, from west ) by West
West
Asia
Asia
, Central Asia
Asia
, East Asia
Asia
, and Southeast Asia
Asia
.

The current territories of Afghanistan
Afghanistan
, Bangladesh
Bangladesh
, Bhutan
Bhutan
, Maldives
Maldives
, Nepal
Nepal
, India
India
, Pakistan
Pakistan
, and Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
form South
South
Asia. The South
South
Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is an economic cooperation organisation in the region which was established in 1985 and includes all eight nations comprising South
South
Asia.

South
South
Asia
Asia
covers about 5.1 million km2 (1.9 million mi2), which is 11.51% of the Asian continent or 3.4% of the world's land surface area. The population of South
South
Asia
Asia
is about 1.749 billion or about one fourth of the world's population, making it both the most populous and the most densely populated geographical region in the world. Overall, it accounts for about 39.49% of Asia's population (or over 24% of the world's population) and is home to a vast array of peoples.

In 2010, South
South
Asia
Asia
had the world's largest population of Hindus , Jains and Sikhs
Sikhs
. There are about 600 million Muslims
Muslims
as well as over 35 million Christians
Christians
and 25 million Buddhists
Buddhists
in South
South
Asia.

CONTENTS

* 1 Definitions

* 1.1 Indian subcontinent
Indian subcontinent

* 2 Geography

* 2.1 Boundary * 2.2 Indian plate
Indian plate
* 2.3 Climate

* 3 Statistical data

* 4 History

* 4.1 Ancient era * 4.2 Medieval era * 4.3 Modern era

* 5 Regional groups of countries

* 6 Demographics

* 6.1 Largest urban areas * 6.2 Languages * 6.3 Religions

* 7 Economy * 8 Health and nutrition

* 9 Governance

* 9.1 Countries and territories from extended definitions

* 10 See also * 11 Notes

* 12 References

* 12.1 Bibliography

* 13 External links

DEFINITIONS

United Nations
United Nations
cartographic map of South
South
Asia. However, the United Nations
United Nations
does not endorse any definitions or area boundaries.

The total area of South
South
Asia
Asia
and its geographical extent is not clear cut as systemic and foreign policy orientations of its constituents are quite asymmetrical. Aside from the central region of South
South
Asia, formerly part of the British Empire
British Empire
, there is a high degree of variation as to which other countries are included in South
South
Asia.

Modern definitions of South
South
Asia
Asia
are consistent in including Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan
Bhutan
and Maldives
Maldives
as the constituent countries. Myanmar
Myanmar
is included by some scholars in South
South
Asia, but in Southeast Asia
Asia
by others. Some do not include Afghanistan, others question whether Afghanistan should be considered a part of South
South
Asia
Asia
or the Middle East.

The current territories of Bangladesh
Bangladesh
, India
India
, and Pakistan
Pakistan
, which were the core of the British Empire
British Empire
prior to 1947, form the central region of South
South
Asia, in addition to Afghanistan, which was a British protectorate until 1919, after the Afghans lost to the British in the Second Anglo-Afghan war. The mountain countries of Nepal
Nepal
and Bhutan
Bhutan
, and the island countries of Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
and Maldives
Maldives
are generally included as well. Myanmar
Myanmar
(formerly Burma) is often added, and by various deviating definitions based on often substantially different reasons, the British Indian Ocean
Indian Ocean
Territory and the Tibet Autonomous Region
Region
are included as well.

The common concept of South
South
Asia
Asia
is largely inherited from the administrative boundaries of the British Raj , with several exceptions. The Aden Colony , British Somaliland
British Somaliland
and Singapore
Singapore
, though administered at various times under the Raj, have not been proposed as any part of South
South
Asia. Additionally Burma
Burma
was administered as part of the Raj until 1937, but is now considered a part of Southeast Asia
Asia
and is a member state of ASEAN
ASEAN
. The 562 princely states that were protected by but not directly ruled by the Raj became administrative parts of South
South
Asia
Asia
upon joining Union of India
India
or Dominion of Pakistan
Pakistan
. Geopolitically , it had formed the whole territory of Greater India
India
,

The South
South
Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), a contiguous block of countries, started in 1985 with seven countries – Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan
Pakistan
and Sri Lanka – and added Afghanistan
Afghanistan
as an eighth member in 2007. China and Myanmar
Myanmar
have also applied for the status of full members of SAARC. This bloc of countries include two independent countries that were not part of the British Raj – Nepal, and Bhutan. Afghanistan
Afghanistan
was a British protectorate from 1878 until 1919, after the Afghans lost to the British in the Second Anglo-Afghan war. The World Factbook
The World Factbook
, based on geo-politics, people, and economy defines South
South
Asia
Asia
as comprising Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, British Indian Ocean
Indian Ocean
Territory, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. The South
South
Asia
Asia
Free Trade Agreement incorporated Afghanistan
Afghanistan
in 2011, and the World Bank grouping of countries in the region also includes all eight members comprising South
South
Asia
Asia
and SAARC
SAARC
as well, and the same goes for the United Nations
United Nations
Children\'s Fund (UNICEF). Definition by South
South
Asian Studies programs When the Centre for South
South
Asian Studies at the University of Cambridge was established, in 1964, it promoted the study of India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh
Bangladesh
, Afghanistan
Afghanistan
, the Himalayan Kingdoms ( Nepal
Nepal
, Bhutan
Bhutan
, and Sikkim ), and Burma
Burma
(now Myanmar). It has since included Thailand
Thailand
, Malaysia
Malaysia
, Singapore
Singapore
, Vietnam
Vietnam
, Cambodia
Cambodia
, Laos
Laos
, Indonesia
Indonesia
, the Philippines
Philippines
and Hong Kong .

The Centres for South
South
Asian Studies at both the University of Michigan and the University of Virginia include Tibet
Tibet
along with the eight members of SAARC
SAARC
in their research programs, but exclude the Maldives. The South
South
Asian Studies Program of Rutgers University
Rutgers University
and the University of California, Berkeley
University of California, Berkeley
Centre for South
South
Asia
Asia
Studies also include the Maldives.

The South
South
Asian Studies Program of Brandeis University
Brandeis University
defines the region as comprising "India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, and in certain contexts Afghanistan, Burma, Maldives
Maldives
and Tibet". The similar program of Columbia University
Columbia University
includes Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka in their study and excludes Burma. See also: Indology

The United Nations
United Nations
Statistics Division's scheme of sub-regions include all eight members of the SAARC
SAARC
as part of Southern Asia, along with Iran
Iran
only for statistical purposes. Population Information Network (POPIN) includes Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Burma, India, Nepal, Pakistan
Pakistan
and Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
as part of South
South
Asia. Maldives, in view of its characteristics, was admitted as a member Pacific POPIN subregional network only in principle. The Hirschman– Herfindahl index of the United Nations
United Nations
Economic and Social Commission for Asia
Asia
and the Pacific for the region includes only the original seven signatories of SAARC.

The British Indian Ocean
Indian Ocean
Territory is connected to the region by a publication of Jane\'s for security considerations. The region may also include the disputed territory of Aksai Chin , which was part of the British Indian princely state of Jammu and Kashmir , but is now administered as part of the Chinese autonomous region of Xinjiang
Xinjiang
.

The inclusion of Myanmar
Myanmar
in South
South
Asia
Asia
is without consensus, with many considering it a part of Southeast Asia
Asia
and others including it within South
South
Asia. Afghanistan
Afghanistan
was of importance to the British colonial empire, especially after the Second Anglo-Afghan War over 1878–1880. Afghanistan
Afghanistan
remained a British protectorate until 1919, when a treaty with Vladimir Lenin included the granting of independence to Afghanistan. Following India\'s partition , Afghanistan
Afghanistan
has generally been included in South
South
Asia, with some considering it a part of Southwest Asia. During the Soviet war in Afghanistan
Afghanistan
(1979–1989) American foreign policy considered Pakistan and Afghanistan
Afghanistan
in Southwest Asia, while others included it as a part of South
South
Asia. There is no universal agreement among scholars on which countries should be included within South
South
Asia.

In the past, a lack of a coherent definition for South
South
Asia
Asia
resulted in not only a lack of academic studies, but also in a lack interest for such studies. The confusion existed also because of the lack of a clear boundary – geographically, geopolitical, socio-culturally, economically or historically – between South
South
Asia
Asia
and other parts of Asia, especially the Middle East
Middle East
and Southeast Asia. Identification with a South
South
Asian identity was also found to be significantly low among respondents in an older two-year survey across Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. However, modern definitions of South
South
Asia
Asia
are very consistent in including Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan
Bhutan
and Maldives
Maldives
as the constituent countries. See also: South
South
Asian Association for Regional Cooperation and South
South
Asian Free Trade Area

INDIAN SUBCONTINENT

Main article: Indian subcontinent
Indian subcontinent

According to the Oxford English Dictionary , the term "subcontinent" signifies a "subdivision of a continent which has a distinct geographical, political, or cultural identity" and also a "large land mass somewhat smaller than a continent". Historians Catherine Asher and Cynthia Talbot state that the term "Indian subcontinent" describes a natural physical landmass in South
South
Asia
Asia
that has been relatively isolated from the rest of Eurasia. The Indian subcontinent
Indian subcontinent
is also a geological term referring to the land mass that drifted northeastwards from ancient Gondwana , colliding with the Eurasian plate nearly 55 million years ago, towards the end of Palaeocene. This geological region largely includes Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan
Pakistan
and Sri Lanka.

The use of the term Indian subcontinent
Indian subcontinent
began in the British Empire, and has been a term particularly common in its successors. This region has also been labelled as "India" (in its classical and pre-modern sense), "Greater India", or as South
South
Asia.

According to anthropologist John R. Lukacs , "the Indian Subcontinent occupies the major landmass of South
South
Asia", while the political science professor Tatu Vanhanen states, "the seven countries of South Asia
Asia
constitute geographically a compact region around the Indian Subcontinent". According to Chris Brewster, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal
Nepal
and Bhutan
Bhutan
constitute the Indian subcontinent; with Afghanistan
Afghanistan
and Maldives
Maldives
included it is more commonly referred to as South
South
Asia. The geopolitical boundaries of Indian subcontinent, according to Dhavendra Kumar, include "India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan
Bhutan
and other small islands of the Indian Ocean". Maldives, the country consisting of a small archipelago southwest of the peninsula, is considered part of the Indian subcontinent.

The terms "Indian subcontinent" and " South
South
Asia" are sometimes used interchangeably. The South
South
Asia
Asia
term is particularly common when scholars or officials seek to differentiate this region from East Asia. According to historians Sugata Bose and Ayesha Jalal , the Indian subcontinent
Indian subcontinent
has come to be known as South
South
Asia
Asia
"in more recent and neutral parlance." This "neutral" notion refers to the concerns of Pakistan
Pakistan
and Bangladesh, particularly given the recurring conflicts between India
India
and Pakistan, wherein the dominant placement of "India" as a prefix before the subcontinent might offend some political sentiments.

There is no globally accepted definition on which countries are a part of South
South
Asia
Asia
or Indian subcontinent. While Afghanistan
Afghanistan
is not considered as a part of the Indian subcontinent, Afghanistan
Afghanistan
is often included in South
South
Asia. Similarly, Myanmar
Myanmar
is included by some scholars in South
South
Asia
Asia
but not in Indian subcontinent.

GEOGRAPHY

Further information: Geography of India
India
, Geography of Pakistan
Pakistan
, Geography of Afghanistan
Afghanistan
, Geography of Bangladesh
Bangladesh
, Geography of Bhutan
Bhutan
, Geography of Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
, Geography of Nepal
Nepal
, and Geography of the Maldives
Maldives
While South
South
Asia
Asia
had never been a coherent geopolitical region, it has a distinct geographical identity The Indian subcontinent, and the Himalayas
Himalayas
on the northeast, is the result of the collision of the Indian Plate
Indian Plate
with the Eurasian Plate through tectonic activity between 20 and 50 million years ago.

According to Saul Cohen, early colonial era strategists treated South Asia
Asia
with East Asia, but in reality the South
South
Asia
Asia
region excluding Afghanistan
Afghanistan
is a distinct geopolitical region separated from other nearby geostrategic realms, one that is geographically diverse. The region is home to a variety of geographical features, such as glaciers , rainforests , valleys , deserts , and grasslands that are typical of much larger continents. It is surrounded by three water bodies – the Bay of Bengal
Bay of Bengal
, the Indian Ocean
Indian Ocean
and the Arabian Sea
Arabian Sea
– and has acutely varied climate zones. The tip of the Indian Peninsula
Peninsula
had the highest quality pearls.

BOUNDARY

The boundaries of South
South
Asia
Asia
vary based on how the region is defined. South
South
Asia's northern, eastern, and western boundaries vary based on definitions used, while the Indian Ocean
Indian Ocean
is the southern periphery. Most of this region rests on the Indian Plate
Indian Plate
and is isolated from the rest of Asia
Asia
by mountain barriers. Much of the region consists of a peninsula in south-central Asia, rather resembling a diamond which is delineated by the Himalayas
Himalayas
on the north, the Hindu Kush in the west, and the Arakanese in the east, and which extends southward into the Indian Ocean
Indian Ocean
with the Arabian Sea
Arabian Sea
to the southwest and the Bay of Bengal to the southeast.

According to Robert M. Cutler – a scholar of Political Science at Carleton University, the terms South
South
Asia, Southwest Asia
Asia
and Central Asia
Asia
are distinct, but the confusion and disagreements have arisen because of geopolitical movement to enlarge these regions into Greater South
South
Asia, Greater Southwest Asia
Asia
and Greater Central Asia. The frontier of Greater South
South
Asia, states Cutler, between 2001–2006 has been geopolitically extended to eastern Iran
Iran
and western Afghanistan in the west, and in the north to northeastern Iran, northern Afghanistan, and southern Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan
.

INDIAN PLATE

Main article: Indian plate
Indian plate

Most of this region is a subcontinent resting on the Indian Plate
Indian Plate
, the northerly portion of the Indo-Australian Plate , separated from the rest of the Eurasian Plate
Eurasian Plate
. The Indian Plate
Indian Plate
includes most of South
South
Asia, forming a land mass which extends from the Himalayas
Himalayas
into a portion of the basin under the Indian Ocean
Indian Ocean
, including parts of South
South
China
China
and Eastern Indonesia
Indonesia
, as well as Kunlun and Karakoram ranges, and extending up to but not including Ladakh
Ladakh
, Kohistan , the Hindu Kush range and Balochistan
Balochistan
. It may be noted that geophysically the Yarlung Tsangpo River in Tibet
Tibet
is situated at the outside of the border of the Subcontinental structure, while the Pamir Mountains in Tajikistan
Tajikistan
are situated inside that border.

It was once a small continent before colliding with the Eurasian Plate about 50–55 million years ago and giving birth to the Himalayan range and the Tibetan plateau
Tibetan plateau
. It is the peninsular region south of the Himalayas
Himalayas
and Kuen Lun mountain ranges and east of the Indus River
Indus River
and the Iranian Plateau , extending southward into the Indian Ocean
Indian Ocean
between the Arabian Sea
Arabian Sea
(to the southwest) and the Bay of Bengal (to the southeast).

CLIMATE

South
South
Asia’s Köppen climate classification
Köppen climate classification
map is based on native vegetation, temperature, precipitation and their seasonality.

(Af) Tropical rainforest (Am) TROPICAL MONSOON (Aw) TROPICAL SAVANNA, WET width:1.5em; height:1.5em; margin:1px 0; border:1px solid black; background-color: #FE0000; color:black; font-size:100%; text-align:center;"> (BWh) HOT DESERT

(BWk) Cold desert (BSh) HOT SEMI ARID (BSk) Cold semi arid (Csa) Mediterr. dry, hot summ.

(Cwa) SUBTROPICAL HUMID summ, dry winter (Cwb) SUBTROPICAL HIGHLAND, dry wint (Cfa) Subtropical humid summ (no dry)

(Dsa) Continental hot summ (Dsb) Continental warm summ (Dwb) Continental dry wint (Dwc) Contin subarctic, dry wint

The climate of this vast region varies considerably from area to area from tropical monsoon in the south to temperate in the north. The variety is influenced by not only the altitude, but also by factors such as proximity to the sea coast and the seasonal impact of the monsoons . Southern parts are mostly hot in summers and receive rain during monsoon periods. The northern belt of Indo-Gangetic plains also is hot in summer, but cooler in winter. The mountainous north is colder and receives snowfall at higher altitudes of Himalayan ranges.

As the Himalayas
Himalayas
block the north-Asian bitter cold winds, the temperatures are considerably moderate in the plains down below. For most part, the climate of the region is called the Monsoon
Monsoon
climate, which keeps the region humid during summer and dry during winter, and favours the cultivation of jute , tea , rice , and various vegetables in this region.

South
South
Asia
Asia
is largely divided into four broad climate zones:

* The northern Indian edge and northern Pakistani uplands have a dry subtropical continental climate * The far south of India
India
and southwest Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
have a equatorial climate

* Most of the peninsula have a tropical climate with variations:

* Hot subtropical climate in northwest India * Cool winter hot tropical climate in Bangladesh * Tropical semi-arid climate in the center

* The Himalayas
Himalayas
have an Alpine climate

Maximum relative humidity of over 80% has been recorded in Khasi and Jaintia Hills and Sri Lanka, while the area adjustment to Pakistan
Pakistan
and western India
India
records lower than 20%–30%. Climate of South
South
Asia
Asia
is largely characterized by monsoons . South
South
Asia
Asia
depends critically on monsoon rainfall. Two monsoon systems exist in the region:

* The summer monsoon: Wind blows from southwest to most of parts of the region. It accounts for 70%–90% of the annual precipitation. * The winter monsoon: Wind blows from northeast. Dominant in Sri Lanka and Maldives.

The warmest period of the year precedes the monsoon season (March to mid June). In the summer the low pressures are centered over the Indus-Gangetic Plain and high wind from the Indian Ocean
Indian Ocean
blows towards the center. The monsoons are second coolest season of the year because of high humidity and cloud covering. But, at the beginning of June the jetstreams vanish above the Tibetan Plateau
Tibetan Plateau
, low pressure over the Indus Valley
Valley
deepens and the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) moves in. The change is violent. Moderately vigorous monsoon depressions form in the Bay of Bengal
Bay of Bengal
and make landfall from June to September.

STATISTICAL DATA

Country
Country
Capital Area (km2) Population (2012) Density (per km2) Nominal GDP (2012) Per capita (2012) CURRENCY GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL LANGUAGES

Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Kabul
Kabul
652,864 32,564,342 43.5 $19.654 billion $600 Afghan afghani presidential Islamic republic
Islamic republic
Pashto , Dari

Bangladesh
Bangladesh
Dhaka
Dhaka
147,570 171,700,000 1,319 $205.327 billion $1,284 Bangladeshi taka parliamentary republic Bengali

Bhutan
Bhutan
Thimphu 38,394 742,737 18.0 $2.209 billion $2,836 Bhutanese ngultrum , Indian Rupee Constitutional monarchy
Constitutional monarchy
Dzongkha
Dzongkha

India
India
New Delhi
New Delhi
3,287,263 1,276,267,000 387.7 $2.183 trillion $1,688 Indian rupee Federal republic
Federal republic
English, Hindi
Hindi

Maldives
Maldives
Malé 298 393,500 1,102.5 $3.228 billion $9,126 Maldivian rufiyaa constitutional republic Maldivian

Nepal
Nepal
Kathmandu
Kathmandu
147,181 26,494,504 180 $24.067 billion $837 Nepalese Rupee
Nepalese Rupee
Federal republic
Federal republic
Nepali

Pakistan
Pakistan
Islamabad
Islamabad
881,913 199,085,847 260.8 $270.961 billion $1,427 Pakistani Rupee Federal republic
Federal republic
English , Urdu
Urdu

Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
Colombo
Colombo
65,610 20,277,599 323 $80.591 billion $3,818 Sri Lankan rupee semi-presidential republic Sinhalese , Tamil

HISTORY

Main articles: History of South
South
Asia
Asia
and History of India
India

ANCIENT ERA

The history of core South
South
Asia
Asia
begins with evidence of human activity of _Homo sapiens ,_ as long as 75,000 years ago, or with earlier hominids including _ Homo erectus
Homo erectus
_ from about 500,000 years ago. The Indus Valley
Valley
Civilization , which spread and flourished in the northwestern part of South
South
Asia
Asia
from c. 3300 to 1300 BCE in present-day Northern India
India
, Pakistan
Pakistan
and Afghanistan
Afghanistan
, was the first major civilization in South
South
Asia. A sophisticated and technologically advanced urban culture developed in the Mature Harappan period, from 2600 to 1900 BCE.

The earliest prehistoric culture have roots in the mesolithic sites as evidenced by the rock paintings of Bhimbetka rock shelters dating to a period of 30,000 BCE or older, as well as neolithic times. According to anthropologist Possehl , the Indus Valley
Valley
Civilization provides a logical, if somewhat arbitrary, starting point for South Asian religions, but these links from the Indus religion to later-day South
South
Asian traditions are subject to scholarly dispute.

The Vedic period, named after the Vedic religion of the Indo-Aryans , lasted from c. 1900 to 500 BCE. The Indo-Aryans were pastoralists who migrated into north-western India
India
after the collapse of the Indus Valley
Valley
Civilization, Linguistic and archaeological data show a cultural change after 1500 BCE, with the linguistic and religious data clearly showing links with Indo-European languages and religion. By about 1200 BCE, the Vedic culture and agrarian lifestyle was established in the northwest and northern Gangetic plain of South Asia. Rudimentary state-forms appeared, of which the Kuru -Pañcāla union was the most influential. The first recorded state-level society in South
South
Asia
Asia
existed around 1000 BCE. In this period, states Samuel, emerged the Brahmana and Aranyaka layers of Vedic texts, which merged into the earliest Upanishads. These texts began to ask the meaning of a ritual, adding increasing levels of philosophical and metaphysical speculation, or " Hindu
Hindu
synthesis" .

The Indo-Aryans brought with them their language and religion. The Vedic beliefs and practices of the pre-classical era were closely related to the hypothesised Proto-Indo-European religion
Proto-Indo-European religion
and the Indo-Iranian religion , the latter being "a syncretic mixture of old Central Asian and new Indo-European elements". The Vedic religion history is unclear and "heavily contested", states Samuel.

Increasing urbanisation of India
India
between 800 and 400 BCE, and possibly the spread of urban diseases, contributed to the rise of ascetic movements and of new ideas which challenged the orthodox Brahmanism . These ideas led to Sramana movements, of which Mahavira (c. 549–477 BCE), proponent of Jainism
Jainism
, and Buddha
Buddha
(c. 563-483), founder of Buddhism
Buddhism
, were the most prominent icons.

The Greek army led by Alexander the Great
Alexander the Great
stayed in the Hindu
Hindu
Kush region of South
South
Asia
Asia
for several years and then later moved into the Indus valley region. Later, the Maurya Empire
Maurya Empire
extended over much of South
South
Asia
Asia
in the 3rd century BCE. Buddhism
Buddhism
spread beyond the Indian subcontinent, through northwest into Central Asia. The Bamiyan Buddhas of Afghanistan
Afghanistan
and the edicts of Aśoka suggest that the Buddhist monks spread Buddhism
Buddhism
(Dharma) in eastern provinces of the Seleucid Empire , and possibly even farther into West
West
Asia. The Theravada school spread south from India
India
in the 3rd century BCE, to Sri Lanka, later to Southeast Asia. Buddhism, by the last centuries of the 1st millennium BCE, was prominent in the Himalayan region, Gandhara, Hindu Kush region and Bactria.

From about 500 BCE through about 300 CE, the Vedic-Brahmanic synthesis or " Hindu
Hindu
synthesis" continued. Classical Hindu
Hindu
and Sramanic (particularly Buddhist) ideas spread within Indian subcontinent, as well outside South
South
Asia. The Gupta Empire
Gupta Empire
ruled over a large part of the subcontinent between 4th and 7th centuries, a period that saw the construction of major temples, monasteries and universities such as the Nalanda
Nalanda
. During this era, and through the 10th century, numerous cave monasteries and temples such as the Ajanta Caves , Badami cave temples
Badami cave temples
and Ellora Caves
Ellora Caves
were built in South
South
Asia.

MEDIEVAL ERA

Islam
Islam
came as a political power in the fringe of South
South
Asia
Asia
in 8th century CE when the Arab general Muhammad bin Qasim conquered Sindh and Multan
Multan
in southern Punjab in modern-day Pakistan. By 962 CE, Hindu
Hindu
and Buddhist kingdoms in South
South
Asia
Asia
were under a wave of raids from Muslim
Muslim
armies from Central Asia. Among them was Mahmud of Ghazni , who raided and plundered kingdoms in north India
India
from east of the Indus river to west of Yamuna river seventeen times between 997 and 1030. Mahmud of Ghazni raided the treasuries but retracted each time, only extending Islamic rule into western Punjab.

The wave of raids on north Indian and western Indian kingdoms by Muslim
Muslim
warlords continued after Mahmud of Ghazni, plundering and looting these kingdoms. The raids did not establish or extend permanent boundaries of their Islamic kingdoms. The Ghurid Sultan Mu\'izz al-Din Muhammad began a systematic war of expansion into north India
India
in 1173. He sought to carve out a principality for himself by expanding the Islamic world. Mu’izz sought a Sunni Islamic kingdom of his own extending east of the Indus river, and he thus laid the foundation for the Muslim
Muslim
kingdom that became the Delhi
Delhi
Sultanate . Some historians chronicle the Delhi
Delhi
Sultanate from 1192 due to the presence and geographical claims of Mu'izz al-Din in South
South
Asia
Asia
by that time. The Delhi
Delhi
Sultanate covered varying parts of South
South
Asia, and was ruled by a series of dynasties, called Mamluk, Khalji, Tughlaq, Sayyid and Lodi dynasties. Muhammad bin Tughlaq came to power in 1325, launched a war of expansion and the Delhi
Delhi
Sultanate reached it largest geographical reach over the Indian subcontinent
Indian subcontinent
during his 26-year rule. A Sunni Sultan, Muhammad bin Tughlaq persecuted non- Muslims
Muslims
such as Hindus, as well as non-Sunni Muslims
Muslims
such as Shia and Mahdi sects.

Revolts against the Delhi
Delhi
Sultanate sprang up in many parts of South Asia
Asia
during the 14th century. After the death of Muhammad bin Tughlaq, the Bengal Sultanate came to power in 1352 CE, as the Delhi
Delhi
Sultanate began disintegrating. The Bengal Sultanate remained in power through the early 16th century. It was reconquered by the armies of the Mughal Empire. The state religion of the Bengal Sultanate was Islam, and the region under its rule, a region that ultimately emerged as the modern nation of Bangladesh, saw a growth of a syncretic form of Islam. In the Deccan region, the Hindu
Hindu
kingdom Vijayanagara Empire
Vijayanagara Empire
came to power in 1336 and remained in power through the 16th century, after which it too was reconquered and absorbed into the Mughal Empire.

About 1526, the Punjab governor Dawlat Khan Lodī reached out to the Mughal Babur
Babur
and invited him to attack Delhi
Delhi
Sultanate. Babur
Babur
defeated and killed Ibrahim Lodi in the Battle of Panipat in 1526. The death of Ibrahim Lodi ended the Delhi
Delhi
Sultanate, and the Mughal Empire
Mughal Empire
replaced it.

MODERN ERA

The modern history period of South
South
Asia, that is 16th-century onwards, witnessed the start of the Central Asian dynasty named the Mughals, with Turkish-Mongol roots and Sunni Islam
Sunni Islam
theology. The first ruler was Babur, whose empire extended the northwest and Indo-Gangetic Plain regions of South
South
Asia. The Deccan and northeastern region of the South
South
Asia
Asia
was largely under Hindu
Hindu
kings such as those of Vijayanagara Empire and Ahom kingdom , with some regions such as parts of modern Telangana
Telangana
and Andhra Pradesh
Andhra Pradesh
under local Sultanates such as the Shia Islamic rulers of Golconda Sultanate .

The Mughal Empire
Mughal Empire
continued its wars of expansion after Babur's death. With the fall of Rajput kingdoms and Vijayanagara, its boundaries reached all of west, as well as the Marathi and Kannada speaking regions of the Deccan peninsula. The Mughal Empire
Mughal Empire
was marked by a period of artistic exchanges and a Central Asian and South
South
Asian architecture synthesis, with remarkable buildings such as the Taj Mahal . It also marked an extended period of religious persecution . Two of the religious leaders of Sikhism , Guru Arjan
Guru Arjan
and Guru Tegh Bahadur were arrested under orders of the Mughal emperors, asked to convert to Islam, and executed when they refused. Religious taxes on non- Muslims
Muslims
called _jizya_ were imposed. Buddhist, Hindu
Hindu
and Sikh temples were desecrated. However, not all Muslim
Muslim
rulers persecuted non-Muslims. Akbar
Akbar
, a Mughal ruler for example, sought religious tolerance and abolished jizya. After his death, the persecution of non- Muslims
Muslims
in South
South
Asia
Asia
returned. The persecution and religious violence in South
South
Asia
Asia
peaked during Aurangzeb era, with him issuing orders in 1669, to all his governors of provinces to "destroy with a willing hand the schools and temples of the infidels, and that they were strictly enjoined to put an entire stop to the teaching and practice of idolatrous forms of worship". In Aurangzeb's time, almost all of South
South
Asia
Asia
was claimed by the Mughal Empire. However, this claim was violently challenged in various regions of South
South
Asia, particularly by the Sikh Guru Gobind Singh
Guru Gobind Singh
in the northwest, and by Shivaji
Shivaji
in the Deccan regions.

Maritime trading between South
South
Asia
Asia
and European merchants began after the Portuguese explorer Vasco de Gama returned to Europe. After the death of Aurangzeb and the collapse of the Mughal Empire, the region came under the rule of many small Islamic sultanates and Hindu kingdoms. British, French, Portuguese colonial interests struck treaties with these rulers, and established their trading ports. In the northwest South
South
Asia, a large region was consolidated into the Sikh Empire by Ranjit Singh
Ranjit Singh
. After his death, the British Empire expanded their interests till the Hindu Kush region. In the east, the Bengal region was split into Muslim
Muslim
East Bengal and Hindu
Hindu
West
West
Bengal, by the colonial British empire, in early 1900s, a split that was reversed. However, after the World War II, at the eve of India's independence, the region was split again into East Pakistan
Pakistan
and West Bengal. East Pakistan
Pakistan
became Bangladesh
Bangladesh
in 1971.

REGIONAL GROUPS OF COUNTRIES

NAME OF COUNTRY /REGION , WITH FLAG Area (km2) POPULATION * Population density
Population density
(per km2) CAPITAL OR SECRETARIAT CURRENCY COUNTRIES INCLUDED OFFICIAL LANGUAGES COAT OF ARMS

Core Definition (above) of South
South
Asia 5,220,460 1,726,907,000 330.79 N/A N/A Afghanistan
Afghanistan
, Bangladesh
Bangladesh
, Bhutan
Bhutan
, India
India
, Maldives
Maldives
, Nepal
Nepal
, Pakistan
Pakistan
, Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
N/A N/A

UNSD of South
South
Asia 6,778,083 1,702,000,000 270.77 N/A N/A Afghanistan
Afghanistan
, Bangladesh
Bangladesh
, Bhutan
Bhutan
, India
India
, Iran
Iran
, Maldives
Maldives
, Nepal , Pakistan
Pakistan
, Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
N/A N/A

SAARC
SAARC
4,637,469 1,626,000,000 350.6 Kathmandu
Kathmandu
N/A Afghanistan
Afghanistan
, Bangladesh
Bangladesh
, Bhutan
Bhutan
, India
India
, Maldives
Maldives
, Nepal
Nepal
, Pakistan
Pakistan
, Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
English

BBIN 3,499,559 1,465,236,000 418.69 N/A N/A Bangladesh
Bangladesh
, Bhutan
Bhutan
, India
India
, Nepal
Nepal
N/A N/A

SASEC 3,565,467 1,485,909,931 416.75 N/A N/A Bangladesh
Bangladesh
, Bhutan
Bhutan
, India
India
, Nepal
Nepal
, Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
, Maldives
Maldives
N/A N/A

DEMOGRAPHICS

The population of South
South
Asia
Asia
is about 1.749 billion which makes it the most populated region in the world. It is socially very mixed, consisting of many language groups and religions, and social practices in one region that are vastly different from those in another.

LARGEST URBAN AREAS

South
South
Asia
Asia
is home to some of the most populated cities in the world. Delhi
Delhi
, Karachi
Karachi
, Mumbai
Mumbai
, and Dhaka
Dhaka
are four of the world's largest megacities.

RANK CITY COUNTRY POPULATION Area (km2) Density (/km2)

1 Delhi
Delhi
India
India
24,998,000 2,072 12,100

2 Karachi
Karachi
Pakistan
Pakistan
24,300,000 945 23,400

3 Mumbai
Mumbai
India
India
17,712,000 546 32,400

4 Dhaka
Dhaka
Bangladesh
Bangladesh
15,669,000 360 43,500

5 Kolkata
Kolkata
India
India
14,667,000 1,204 12,200

6 Lahore
Lahore
Pakistan
Pakistan
10,052,000 790 12,700

7 Bengaluru
Bengaluru
India
India
9,807,000 1,116 8,400

8 Chennai
Chennai
India
India
9,714,000 375 25,900

9 Hyderabad India
India
8,754,000 971 10,000

10 Ahmedabad
Ahmedabad
India
India
7,186,000 464 20,600

LANGUAGES

Main article: Languages of South
South
Asia
Asia
Ethno-linguistic distribution map of South
South
Asia.

There are numerous languages in South
South
Asia. The spoken languages of the region are largely based on geography and shared across religious boundaries, but the written script is sharply divided by religious boundaries. In particular, Muslims
Muslims
of South
South
Asia
Asia
such as in Afghanistan
Afghanistan
and Pakistan
Pakistan
use the Arabic alphabet and Persian Nastaliq . Till 1971, Muslim
Muslim
Bangladesh
Bangladesh
(then known as East Pakistan) too mandated only Nastaliq script, but thereafter has adopted regional scripts and particularly Bengali. Non- Muslims
Muslims
of South
South
Asia, and some Muslims
Muslims
in India, on the other hand use their traditional ancient heritage scripts such as those derived from Brahmi script
Brahmi script
for Indo-European languages and non-Brahmi scripts for Dravidian languages and others.

The Nagari script has been the _primus inter pares _ of the traditional South
South
Asian scripts. The Devanagari
Devanagari
script is used for over 120 South
South
Asian languages, including Hindi
Hindi
, Marathi , Nepali , Pali , Konkani , Bodo , Sindhi and Maithili among other languages and dialects, making it one of the most used and adopted writing systems in the world. The Devanagari
Devanagari
script is also used for classical Sanskrit
Sanskrit
texts.

The largest spoken language in this region is Hindi
Hindi
, followed by Bengali, Telugu, Tamil, Gujarati and Punjabi. In the modern era, new syncretic languages developed in the region such as Urdu
Urdu
that is used by Muslim
Muslim
community of northern Indian subcontinent
Indian subcontinent
(particularly Pakistan
Pakistan
and northern states of India). The Punjabi language spans three religions: Islam, Hinduism and Sikhism. The spoken language is similar, but it is written in three scripts. The Sikh use Gurmukhi alphabet , Muslim
Muslim
Punjabis in Pakistan
Pakistan
use the Nastaliq script, while Hindu
Hindu
Punjabis in India
India
use the Gurmukhi or Nāgarī script . The Gurmukhi and Nagari scripts are distinct but close in their structure, but the Persian Nastaliq script is very different.

English, with British spelling, is commonly used in urban areas and is a major economic lingua franca of South
South
Asia.

RELIGIONS

Main articles: Hinduism in India
India
, Islam
Islam
in South
South
Asia
Asia
, and Christianity in India
India
A map of major denominations and religions of the world

In 2010, South
South
Asia
Asia
had the world's largest population of Hindus , Jains and Sikhs
Sikhs
, about a third of world's Muslim
Muslim
population, as well as over 25 million Buddhists
Buddhists
and 35 million Christians
Christians
. Hindus make up about 63 percent or about 1 billion and Muslims
Muslims
at 31 percent or 600 million of the overall South
South
Asia
Asia
population, while Buddhists, Jains, Christians
Christians
and Sikhs
Sikhs
constitute most of the rest. The Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, Sikhs
Sikhs
and Christians
Christians
are concentrated in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
and Bhutan, while the Muslims
Muslims
are concentrated in Afghanistan
Afghanistan
(99%), Bangladesh
Bangladesh
(90%), Pakistan
Pakistan
(96%) and Maldives (100%).

Indian religions
Indian religions
are the religions that originated in the Indian subcontinent; namely Hinduism , Jainism
Jainism
, Buddhism
Buddhism
and Sikhism . The Indian religions
Indian religions
are distinct yet share terminology, concepts, goals and ideas, and from the Indian subcontinent
Indian subcontinent
spread into East Asia
Asia
and southeast Asia. Early Christianity and Islam
Islam
were introduced into coastal regions of South
South
Asia
Asia
by merchants who settled among the local populations. Later Sindh
Sindh
, Balochistan
Balochistan
, and parts of the Punjab region saw conquest by the Arab caliphates along with an influx of Muslims
Muslims
from Persia and Central Asia, which resulted in spread of both Shia and Sunni Islam
Sunni Islam
in parts of northwestern region of South
South
Asia. Subsequently, under the influence of Muslim
Muslim
rulers of the Islamic sultanates and the Mughal Empire, Islam
Islam
spread in South
South
Asia.

Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Islam
Islam
(99%), Hinduism, Sikhism and Christianity (1%)

Bangladesh
Bangladesh
Islam
Islam
(90%), Hinduism (9%), Buddhism
Buddhism
(0.6%), Christianity (0.3%), Others (0.1%)

Bhutan
Bhutan
Buddhism
Buddhism
(75%), Hinduism (25%)

India
India
Hinduism (79.5%), Islam
Islam
(14.5%), Christianity (2.3%), Sikhism (1.7%), Buddhism
Buddhism
(0.7%), Jainism
Jainism
(0.4%), Others (0.9%)

Maldives
Maldives
Sunni Islam
Sunni Islam
(100%) (One must be a Sunni Muslim
Muslim
to be a citizen on the Maldives
Maldives
)

Nepal
Nepal
Hinduism (82%), Buddhism
Buddhism
(9.0%), Islam
Islam
(4.4%), Kirat (3.1%), Christianity (1.4%), Others (0.8%)

Pakistan
Pakistan
Islam
Islam
(96.28%), Hinduism (2%), Christianity (1.59%), Ahmaddiyya (0.22%)

Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
Buddhism
Buddhism
(70.19%), Hinduism (12.61%), Islam
Islam
(9.71%), Christianity (7.45%).

Further information: Religion in Afghanistan
Afghanistan
, Religion in Bangladesh , Religion in Bhutan
Bhutan
, Religion in India
India
, Religion in Nepal
Nepal
, Religion in Pakistan
Pakistan
, and Religion in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka

ECONOMY

Further information: Economy of Afghanistan
Afghanistan
, Economy of Bangladesh
Bangladesh
, Economy of India
India
, Economy of Nepal
Nepal
, Economy of Pakistan
Pakistan
, and Economy of Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
Countries under the South
South
Asian Free Trade Area

India
India
is the largest it is the world\'s 7th largest in nominal terms and 3rd largest by purchasing power adjusted exchange rates (US$8.020 trillion). India
India
is the only member of powerful G-20 major economies and BRICS
BRICS
from the region. It is the fastest growing major economy in the world and one of the world's fastest registering a growth of 7.3% in FY 2014–15. Pakistan
Pakistan
has the next largest economy($250 billion) and the 5th highest GDP per capita in the region, followed by Bangladesh
Bangladesh
and then by Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
which has the 2nd highest per capita and is the 4th largest economy in the region. According to a World Bank report in 2015, driven by a strong expansion in India, coupled with favorable oil prices, from the last quarter of 2014 South
South
Asia become the fastest-growing region in the world

The Major Market stock exchanges in the region are Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) with market Capitalization of $1.68 trillion (11th largest in the world ), National Stock Exchange of India
India
(NSE) with market capitalization of $1.64 trillion (12th largest in the world ), and Karachi
Karachi
Stock Exchange with market capitalization of $60 billion.

Economic data is sourced from the International Monetary Fund , current as of April 2015, and is given in US dollars .

COUNTRY POPULATION(MILLION) GDP (Nominal) GDP (PPP)

Afghanistan
Afghanistan
19394688632.007 $21.3 bn $63.5 bn

Bangladesh
Bangladesh
143369806159.857 $205.3 bn $572.6 bn

Bhutan
Bhutan
12101934220.779 $2.2 bn $6.3 bn

India
India
13540400001,276.2 $2308.0 bn $7996.6 bn

Maldives
Maldives
517705600.38 $3.0 bn $5.2 bn

Nepal
Nepal
5177056028.4 $21.6 bn $70.7 bn

Pakistan
Pakistan
51770560190.4 $250 bn $928.0bn

Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
5177056021.7 $80.4 bn $233.7 bn

HEALTH AND NUTRITION

BANGLADESH BHUTAN INDIA MALDIVES NEPAL PAKISTAN SRI LANKA

Population undernourished(2015) 16.4% N/A 15.2% 5.2% 7.8% 22% 22%

Population below Poverty Line (CIA FACTBOOK) 31.5% 12% 29.8% 16% 25.2% 22.3% 8.9%

According to WHO, South
South
Asia
Asia
is home to two out of the three countries in the world still affected by polio, Pakistan
Pakistan
and Afghanistan, with 306 "> India
India
has the largest population of around three times the combined population of the 6 other countries in the subcontinent. India
India
is also the world's largest democracy India's annual defence budget for 2013–14 is $39.2 Billion which is equal to the whole Pakistan's Federal budget of $39.3 billion for 2014–15.

Bangladesh
Bangladesh
is a unitary state and parliamentary democracy . Bangladesh
Bangladesh
also stands out as one of the few Muslim-majority democracies. “It is a moderate and generally secular and tolerant — though sometimes this is getting stretched at the moment — alternative to violent extremism in a very troubled part of the world”, said Dan Mozena , the U.S. ambassador to Bangladesh
Bangladesh
. Although Bangladesh’s legal code is secular , more citizens are embracing a conservative version of Islam
Islam
, with some pushing for sharia law , analysts say. Experts say that the rise in conservatism reflects the influence of foreign-financed Islamic charities and the more austere version of Islam
Islam
brought home by migrant workers in Persian Gulf
Persian Gulf
countries.

Diplomacy among the countries of South
South
Asia
Asia
has been mainly driven by populist politics , with the centre-stage taken by India
India
-Pakistan conflict ever since their independence in 1947, and then the creation of Bangladesh
Bangladesh
under tense circumstances in 1971. During the height of Cold war
Cold war
, the elite political leaders of Pakistan
Pakistan
aligned with the US , while India
India
played crucial role in forming the Non-Aligned Movement and while maintaining goodwill relations with the USSR .

Pakistan's governance is one of the most conflicted in the region. The military rule and the unstable government in Pakistan
Pakistan
has become a concern for the South
South
Asian region. In Nepal
Nepal
, the governance has struggled to come in the side of democracy and it only showed signs in the recent past, basically in the 21st century, to support the democratic system. The political situation in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
has been dominated by an increasingly assertive Sinhalese nationalism, and the emergence of a Tamil separatist movement under LTTE , which was suppressed in May 2009. Myanmar
Myanmar
's politics is dominated by a military Junta , which has sidelined the democratic forces led by Aung San Suu Kyi .

Governance Index ranking for core countries

BANGLADESH BHUTAN INDIA MALDIVES NEPAL PAKISTAN SRI LANKA

Inequality-adjusted Human Development Index (2015) (_global ranking of 187_) 142 132 130 104 145 147 73

Corruption Perception Index (2015) (_global ranking of 168_) 139 27 76 N/A 130 117 83

The Worldwide Governance Indicators (2012) Government
Government
Effectiveness (_percentile rank_) 22.49 67.46 47.37 48.33 16.75 23.44 45.93

Rule of law (_percentile rank_) 19.43 59.24 52.61 38.39 26.54 30.96 52.13

Political stability and absence of violence/terrorism (_percentile rank_) 9 72.51 11.85 86.97 8.53 0.95 22.75

Voice and accountability (_percentile rank_) 34.12 38.86 58.29 32.23 27.96 23.70 29.86

Population below Poverty Line 31.5% 23.7% 21.9% 16% 25.2% 21.4% 8.9%

Primary School Enrollment 92% 91% 94% N/A 98% 72% 94%

Secondary School Enrollment 54% 78% 71% N/A 67% 38% 99%

SEE ALSO

* _ South
South
Asia
Asia
portal * Asia
Asia
portal

* Genetics and archaeogenetics of South
South
Asia
Asia
* Indian subcontinent
Indian subcontinent
* List of tallest buildings and structures in South
South
Asia
Asia
* South
South
Asia
Asia
Disaster Report _ * South
South
Asian cuisine

NOTES

* ^ According to the UN cartographic section website disclaimers, "DESIGNATIONS USED: The depiction and use of boundaries, geographic names and related data shown on maps and included in lists, tables, documents, and databases on this web site are not warranted to be error free nor do they necessarily imply official endorsement or acceptance by the United Nations." * ^ Doniger 2010 , p. 66: "Much of what we now call Hinduism may have had roots in cultures that thrived in South
South
Asia
Asia
long before the creation of textual evidence that we can decipher with any confidence. Remarkable cave paintings have been preserved from Mesolithic sites dating from c. 30,000 BCE in Bhimbetka , near present-day Bhopal, in the Vindhya Mountains in the province of Madhya Pradesh." * ^ Jones -webkit-column-width: 30em; column-width: 30em; list-style-type: decimal;">

* ^ "The World Factbook: South
South
Asia". Retrieved 2 March 2015. * ^ http://esa.un.org/unpd/wpp/Excel-Data/population.htm * ^ _A_ _B_ " South
South
Asia
Asia
Regional Overview". _ South
South
Asian Regional Development Gateway_. Archived from the original on 21 November 2008. * ^ _A_ _B_ IMF * ^ "Biggest Urban Areas In South
South
Asia". _WorldAtlas_. Retrieved 2017-05-14.

* ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ "Afghanistan". _Regional and Country
Country
Profiles South Asia_. Institute of Development Studies. ; "Composition of macro geographical (continental) regions, geographical sub-regions, and selected economic and other groupings: Southern Asia". _ United Nations
United Nations
Statistics Division_. ; Arnall, A (24 September 2010). "Adaptive Social Protection: Mapping the Evidence and Policy Context in the Agriculture Sector in South Asia". _Institute of Development Studies_ (345). ; "The World Bank". ; "Institute of Development Studies: Afghanistan". ; "Harvard South
South
Asia
Asia
Institute: "Afghanistan"". ; "The BBC. "Afghanistan"". ; "The Brookings Institution". ; "CIA "The World Factbook"". * ^ SAARC
SAARC
Summit. "SAARC". SAARC Summit. Retrieved 17 December 2013. * ^ Desai, Praful B. 2002. Cancer control efforts in the Indian subcontinent. _Japanese Journal of Clinical Oncology_. 32 (Supplement 1): S13-S16. "The Indian subcontinent
Indian subcontinent
in South
South
Asia
Asia
occupies 2.4% of the world land mass and is home to 16.5% of the world population...." * ^ "Asia" > Overview. _Encyclopædia Britannica_. Encyclopædia Britannica Online, 2009: "The Indian subcontinent
Indian subcontinent
is home to a vast diversity of peoples, most of whom speak languages from the Indo-Aryan subgroup of the Indo-European family." * ^ "Indian Subcontinent". _Encyclopedia of Modern Asia_. Macmillan Reference USA (Gale Group), 2006: "The area is divided between five major nation-states, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan
Pakistan
and Sri Lanka, and includes as well the two small nations of Bhutan
Bhutan
and the Maldives Republic... The total area can be estimated at 4.4 million square kilometres, or exactly 10 percent of the land surface of Asia... In 2000, the total population was about 22 percent of the world's population and 34 percent of the population of Asia." * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ http://www.pewforum.org/2011/01/27/future-of-the-global-muslim-population-regional-asia/ * ^ Pechilis, Karen; Raj, Selva J. (2013-01-01). _ South
South
Asian Religions: Tradition and Today_. Routledge. ISBN 9780415448512 . * ^ "10 Countries With the Largest Muslim
Muslim
Populations, 2010 and 2050". _Pew Research Center's Religion & Public Life Project_. 2015-04-02. Retrieved 2017-02-07. * ^ "Sense and sensibility in South
South
Asia". _www.thenews.com.pk_. Retrieved 2017-05-24. * ^ "The Muslim
Muslim
question". _Times of India
India
Blog_. Retrieved 2017-05-24. * ^ _A_ _B_ Religion population totals in 2010 by Country
Country
Pew Research, Washington DC (2012) * ^ _A_ _B_ United Nations
United Nations
Cartographic Centre Retrieved 18 June 2015 * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ Ghosh, Partha Sarathy (1989). _Cooperation and Conflict in South
South
Asia_. Technical Publications. pp. 4–5. ISBN 978-81-85054-68-1 . * ^ Bertram Hughes Farmer, _An Introduction to South
South
Asia_, pages 1, Routledge, 1993, ISBN 0-415-05695-0 * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ _E_ _F_ Jona Razzaque (2004). _Public Interest Environmental Litigation in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh_. Kluwer Law International. pp. 3 with footnotes 1 and 2. ISBN 978-90-411-2214-8 . * ^ _A_ _B_ Michael Mann (2014). _ South
South
Asia’s Modern History: Thematic Perspectives_. Taylor & Francis. pp. 13–15. ISBN 978-1-317-62445-5 . * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ Ewan W. Anderson; Liam D. Anderson (2013). _An Atlas of Middle Eastern Affairs_. Routledge. p. 5. ISBN 978-1-136-64862-5 . , Quote: "To the east, Iran, as a Gulf state, offers a generally accepted limit to the Middle East. However, Afghanistan, also a Muslim
Muslim
state, is then left in isolation. It is not accepted as a part of Central Asia
Asia
and it is clearly not part of the Indian subcontinent". * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ "The World Bank". * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ "Institute of Development Studies: Afghanistan". * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ "Harvard South
South
Asia
Asia
Institute: "Afghanistan"". * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ "The BBC. "Afghanistan"". * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ "The Brookings Institution". * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ "CIA "The World Factbook"". * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ _E_ _F_ Sushil Mittal and Gene Thursby, _Religions of South
South
Asia: An Introduction_, page 3, Routledge, 2006, ISBN 9781134593224 * ^ Keith Robbins (2012). _Transforming the World: Global Political History since World War II_. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 386. ISBN 978-1-137-29656-6 . , Quote: "Some thought that Afghanistan
Afghanistan
was part of the Middle East
Middle East
and not South
South
Asian at all". * ^ Phillip Margulies (2008). _Nuclear Nonproliferation_. Infobase Publishing. p. 63. ISBN 978-1-4381-0902-2 . , Quote: "Afghanistan, which lies to the northwest, is not technically a part of South
South
Asia but is an important neighbor with close links and historical ties to Pakistan." * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ McLeod, John (2002). _The History of India_. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 1. ISBN 978-0-313-31459-9 . * ^ Arthur Berriedale Keith
Arthur Berriedale Keith
, _A Constitutional History of India: 1600–1935_, pages 440–444, Methuen p. 929: "the part of Asia
Asia
south of the Himalayas
Himalayas
which forms a peninsula extending into the Indian Ocean, between the Arabian Sea
Arabian Sea
and the Bay of Bengal. Historically forming the whole territory of greater India, the region is now divided between India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. * ^ N.D. Arora, _Political Science for Civil Services Main Examination_, page 42:1, Tata McGraw-Hill Education, 2010, 9780070090941 * ^ Stephen Adolphe Wurm, Peter Mühlhäusler & Darrell T. Tryon, _Atlas of languages of intercultural communication in the Pacific, Asia, and the Americas_, pages 787, International Council for Philosophy and Humanistic Studies, Published by Walter de Gruyter, 1996, ISBN 3-11-013417-9 * ^ "Indian subcontinent" > Geology and Geography. * ^ _The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia_, 6th ed. Columbia University Press, 2003: "region, S central Asia, comprising the countries of Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh
Bangladesh
and the Himalayan states of Nepal, and Bhutan. Sri Lanka, an island off the southeastern tip of the Indian peninsula, is often considered a part of the subcontinent." * ^ Haggett, Peter (2001). _Encyclopedia of World Geography (Vol. 1)_. Marshall Cavendish. p. 2710. ISBN 0-7614-7289-4 . * ^ Navnita Chadha Behera, _International Relations in South
South
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* Anthony, David W. (2007), _The Horse The Wheel And Language. How Bronze-Age Riders From the Eurasian Steppes Shaped The Modern World_, Princeton University Press * Beckwith, Christopher I. (2009), _Empires of the Silk Road_, Princeton University Press * Doniger, Wendy (2010), _The Hindus: An Alternative History_, Oxford University Press
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