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South Asia

South Asia

Countries 7 to 10 (see page) Territories 1 or 2 (see page) GDP GDP per capita Languages Assamese/Asomiya, Bengali, Bodo, Burmese, Chinese, Dari[1], Dhivehi, Dogri, Dzongkha, English, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Maithili, Malayalam, Marathi, Manipuri, Nepali, Oriya, Pashto, Persian, Punjabi, Urdu, Sanskrit, Santhali, Sindhi, Sinhala, Siraiki, Tamil, Telugu, Tibetan, and others Time Zones UTC +8:00 (Tibet, PRC) to UTC +3:30 (Iran) Largest Cities Colombo, Dhaka, Diego Garcia, Kabul, Karachi, Kathmandu, Lhasa, Malé, Mumbai, Tehran, Thimpu, and Yangon
Various definitions of South Asia. UN Subregion of Southern Asia.

South Asia, also known as Southern Asia, is a southern region of the Asian continent, which comprises the sub-Himalayan countries and, for some authorities (see below), also includes the adjoining countries on the west and the east. It is surrounded (clockwise, from west to east) by Western Asia, Central Asia, Eastern Asia, and Southeastern Asia.


Definitions and usage

South Asia consists of the following countries and territories:

These countries, except the British Indian Ocean Territory, are also currently members of a regional co-operation group, the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), which was jointly formed by them. For assumed geographic, cultural, and/or historical reasons[citation needed], the following countries and territories are often included in South Asia:

The United Nations also includes Iran, but not Tibet or Burma, as part of Southern Asia:[20]

Geophysically, the term Indian subcontinent is used to describe those regions which lie on the Indian Plate, bordered on the north by the Eurasian Plate. However, a good proportion of the Pakistani land mass is not on the Indian plate, but on the fringes of the Iranian plateau. As in the case of the Hindukush mountains, everything to the south-east of the Iranian Plateau is considered South Asia. But, geopolitically, Southern Asia subsumes the Indian subcontinent and includes both, the territories found internal to the Indian Plate and those in proximity to it. Afghanistan, for instance, is sometimes grouped in this region due to socio-political, historical, and ethnic (Pashtun) ties to neighbouring Pakistan.

Differences in definitions

The definition of South Asia can vary greatly from person to person. Most sources accept Bangladesh, Bhutan, the Chagos Islands, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka as South Asian. Most of the controversy originates over Afghanistan, Iran, and Tibet. Afghanistan and Tibet are often considered South Asian by the Departments of South Asian Studies of several universities, especially those referred to above; but this definition is by no means universal. Another controversy grows over Iran, for Iran is considered South Asian by the UN on the one hand, but none of those departments above on the other. The G8's definition of the Greater Middle East further obfuscates matters by including both Pakistan and Afghanistan. See: Middle East and Greater Middle East. Controversial race researcher Richard Lynn has defined Southern Asia as "from Bangladesh in the east through India, Pakistan, Iraq, Iran, the Gulf states, the near East, and Turkey".[21]


Natural vegetation zones in South Asia:

     Tropical Rainforest     Tundra     Desert     Semi-desert     TropicalGrassland and savanna


The boundaries of South Asia vary based on how South Asia is defined.


Mostly hot summers and rain, some parts are snowy and cold.



Demography and history


Further information: History of South Asia

The peoples of the region possess several distinguishing features that set them apart anthropologically from the rest of Asia; the dominant peoples and cultures are Indo-Aryan and Dravidian, (though the Mongoloid populations in north-east India, Bhutan, Nepal and Tibet are not to be ignored), and have a great affinity with the peoples of Iranian Plateau and the Caucasus particularly in the north west region of South Asia encompassing the modern states of Pakistan and Afghanistan. Persian, Arab and Turkish cultural traditions from the west also form an integral part of Islamic South Asian culture, but have been adapted to form a Muslim culture distinct from what is found in the Middle East e.g. pilgrimage to dargahs is common among many South Asian Muslims.

South Asia ranks among the world's most densely-populated regions. About 1.6 billion people live here—about one-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 civilizations developed in the Indus River Valley and the Dwaraka region. The region was far more prosperous before the 18th century, when the Mughal Empire held sway in the north and the Maratha Empire held sway in the south and central regions of the Indian peninsula. Subsequently, European encroachments, initially by Portugal and the Netherlands,and later by France and British colonialism, led to political destabilisation of the region, leading finally to almost complete occupation and rule by the British. Christianity, western culture, modern health care and liberal education got a favourab