Learn more about South Asia
- This article deals with the geopolitical region in Asia. For geophysical treatments, see Indian subcontinent.
South Asia, also known as the Indian Subcontinent, is a southern geopolitical region of the Asian continent comprising territories on and in proximity to the Indian subcontinent. It is surrounded by (from west to east) Western Asia, Central Asia, Eastern Asia, and Southeastern Asia.
 Definitions and usage
South Asia consists of the following territories:
Tibet is also considered to be part of Southern Asia but due to not being recognized as a sovereign nation, it is not included in the UN subregion of Southern Asia.
The term Indian subcontinent aptly describe those regions which geophysically lie on the Indian Plate, bordered on the north by the Eurasian Plate. Geopolitically, however, South Asia or Southern Asia subsumes the Indian subcontinent: it also includes territories found external to the Indian Plate and in proximity to it. Afghanistan, for instance, is sometimes grouped in this region due to sociopolitical and ethnic (Pashtun) ties to neighbouring Pakistan, whilst Pakistan especially the regions west of the Indus are sometimes described as being in the Middle East or due to historic connections, Central Asia. A good proportion of the Pakistani land mass is not on the Indian plate .
 Demography and history
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, and have a great affinity with the Iranian Plateau and the Caucasus. Persian, Arab and Turkish cultural traditions from the west also form an integral part of Islamic South Asian culture, but have been radically adapted to form a Muslim culture distinct from what is found in the Middle East e.g. pilgrimage to dargahs.
South Asia ranks among the world's most densely-populated regions. About 1.6 billion people live there — about one-fifth 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. About 60% of people in South Asia follow Hinduism and 30% follow Islam.
The region has a long history. Ancient civilizations developed in the Dwaraka region and the Indus River Valley. The region was at its most prosperous before the 18th century, when the Mughal Empire held sway in the north; European colonialism led to its expansion in the region, by Portugal and Holland, and later Britain and to a lesser degree France. Most of the region gained independence from Europe by the late 1940s.
During 1990-2003, Pakistan continued to sustain its lead as the most urbanised nation in South Asia with 34% city dwellers.
 See also
- South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation
- History of South Asia
- Islamic conquest of South Asia
- India (disambiguation)
 Other Subregions in Asia
 External links
- BBC News South Asia
- Himal Southasian magazine
- Birding in South Asia
- South Asian Awareness Network Conference Website
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