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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 countries and, for some authorities, adjoining countries to the west and east. Topographically, it is dominated by the Indian Plate, which rises above sea level as Nepal and northern parts of India situated south of the Himalayas and the Hindu Kush. South Asia is bounded on the south by the Indian Ocean and on land (clockwise, from west) by West Asia, Central Asia, East Asia, and Southeast Asia.

South Asia covers about 5.2 million km2 (2 million mi2), which is 11.71% of the Asian continent or 3.5% of the world's land surface area. The population of South Asia is about 1.891 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, over 24% of the world's population, and is home to a vast array of people.

In 2010, South Asia had the world's largest population of Hindus, Jains and Sikhs. It also has the largest population of Muslims in the Asia-Pacific region, as well as over 35 million Christians and 25 million Buddhists.


South Asia (excluding internal borders) (orthographic projection).svg
  Member states   Observer states
  Member states
  Observer states
HeadquartersKathmandu
Official languagesEnglish
Demonym(s)South Asian
Member states
Leaders
Pakistan Amjad Hussain B. Sial
Establishment8 December 1985
Area
• Total
5,099,611 km2 (1,968,971 sq mi) (7th)
• Water (%)
6.8
Population
• 2015 estimate
1,713,870,000 (1st)
• Density
336.1/km2 (870.5/sq mi)
GDP (PPP)2017 estimate
• Total
US$11.64 trillion (3rd)
GDP (nominal)2017 estimate
• Total
US$ 3.31 trillion (5th)
Currency
Time zoneUTC+4:30 to +6 (Afghanistan Time(UTC+4:30), Pakistan Standard Time (PST), Maldives Time(both UTC+5:00), Indian Standard Time (IST), Sri Lanka Standard Time (SLST)(bothUTC+5:30), Nepal Standard Time (NST)(UTC+5:45), Bangladesh Standard Time (BST), Bhutan Time (bothUTC+6:00))
Calling code
Internet TLD.asia

The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is the regional intergovernmental organization and geopolitical union of nations in South Asia. Its member states include Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, the Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. SAARC comprises 3% of the world's area, 21% of the world's population and 3.8% (US$2.9 trillion) of the global economy, as of 2015.

SAARC was founded in Dhaka on 8 December 1985. Its secretariat is based in Kathmandu, Nepal. The organization promotes development of economic and regional integration. It launched the South Asian Free Trade Area in 2006. SAARC maintains permanent diplomatic relations at the United Nations as an observer and has developed links with multilateral entities, including the European Union.


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Selected Article

Pashtun men from southern Afghanistan

The Pashtuns (/ˈpʌʃˌtʊnz/, /ˈpɑːʃˌtʊnz/ or /ˈpæʃˌtnz/; Pashto: پښتانهPax̌tānə; singular masculine: پښتون Pax̌tūn, feminine: پښتنه Pax̌tana; also Pukhtuns), historically known as ethnic Afghans (Persian: افغان‎, Afğān) and Pathans (Hindustani: پٹھان, पठान, Paṭhān), are an Iranian ethnic group who mainly live in Pakistan and Afghanistan. They speak the Pashto language and adhere to Pashtunwali, which is a traditional set of ethics guiding individual and communal conduct. The ethnogenesis of the Pashtun ethnic group is unclear but historians have come across references to various ancient peoples called Pakthas (Pactyans) between the 2nd and the 1st millennium BC, who may be their early ancestors. Their history is mostly spread amongst the present-day countries of Afghanistan and Pakistan, centred on their traditional seat of power in that region. Globally, the Pashtuns are estimated to number around 50 million, but an accurate count remains elusive due to the lack of an official census in Afghanistan since 1979. The majority of the Pashtuns live in the region regarded as Pashtunistan, which has been split between the two countries since the British-imposed Durand Line border was formed. There are also significant Pashtun diaspora communities in the cities of Sindh and Punjab in Pakistan, in particular Karachi and Lahore. A recent Pashtun diaspora has also developed in the Arab states of the Persian Gulf, primarily in the United Arab Emirates. The Pashtuns are a significant minority group in Pakistan, where they constitute the second-largest ethnic group or about 15% of the population. As the largest ethnic group in Afghanistan (anywhere between 42 and 60 percent of the population), Pashtuns have been the dominant ethno-linguistic group for over 300 years. During the Delhi Sultanate era, the 15th–16th century Lodi dynasty briefly replaced the preexisting rulers in North India until Babur completely deposed the Lodi dynasty. Other Pashtuns fought the Safavids and Mughals before obtaining an independent state in the early 18th century, which began with a successful revolution by Mirwais Hotak followed by conquests of Ahmad Shah Durrani. The Barakzai dynasty played a vital role during the Great Game from the 19th century to the 20th century as they were caught between the imperialist designs of the British and Russian empires.

The Pashtuns are the world's largest segmentary lineage ethnic group. Estimates of the number of Pashtun tribes and clans range from about 350 to over 400. There have been many notable Pashtun people throughout history: Ahmad Shah Durrani is regarded as the founder of the modern state of Afghanistan, while Bacha Khan was a Pashtun independence activist against the rule of the British Raj. Some others include Maulana Aazam, Malala Yousafzai, Shah Rukh Khan, Zarine Khan, Farhad Darya, Hamid Karzai, Mullah Mohammed Omar, and Ashraf Ghani. (More...)

Selected Quotation

Gautama Buddha

Selected image

Namche Bazaar
Namche Bazaar in the Khumbu region of Nepal close to Mount Everest. The town is built on terraces in what resembles a giant Greek amphitheatre.
Photo credit: Kogo

South Asia News

10 December 2018 –
The Governor of the Reserve Bank of India, Urjit Patel, resigns abruptly. (Reuters)
6 December 2018 – Afghan parliamentary election, 2018
Afghanistan’s Electoral Complaints Commission declares all votes cast in Kabul Province to be invalid due to voter fraud and other cases of mismanagement. (Reuters)
2 December 2018 – War in Afghanistan (2001–present)
A senior Taliban commander, Mullah Abdul Manan Akhund, is killed in a U.S. air strike in Afghanistan. (BBC)
28 November 2018 – War in Afghanistan (2001–present)
A series of U.S. airstrikes kills at least 30 Afghan civilians, including 16 children, in Garmsir District, Helmand Province. Additional civilians were left wounded or buried in the rubble. The target of the strikes was a suspected Taliban compound. The United States' strategy aims to push the Taliban into talks. (Reuters)
At least 10 people are killed and 19 are wounded in an attack on a compound of the G4S security contracting company in the Afghan capital Kabul. The Taliban's strategy seeks to strengthen its position before any formal negotiations. (Al Jazeera)
28 November 2018 – India–Pakistan relations
Personalities from both countries inaugurate a corridor that will enable Sikh pilgrims to travel visa-free between the Indian town of Dera Baba Nanak and the Sri Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara in Pakistan. (Al Jazeera)

Selected Member Country


Emblem of India
Flag of India
Location on the world map

India (IAST: Bhārat), also known as the Republic of India (IAST: Bhārat Gaṇarājya), is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by area, the second-most populous country (with over 1.2 billion people), and the most populous democracy in the world. Bounded by the Indian Ocean on the south, the Arabian Sea on the southwest, and the Bay of Bengal on the southeast, it shares land borders with Pakistan to the west; China, Nepal, and Bhutan to the northeast; and Bangladesh and Myanmar to the east. In the Indian Ocean, India is in the vicinity of Sri Lanka and the Maldives, while its Andaman and Nicobar Islands share a maritime border with Thailand and Indonesia.

The Indian subcontinent was home to the urban Indus Valley Civilisation of the 3rd millennium BCE. In the following millennium, the oldest scriptures associated with Hinduism began to be composed. Social stratification, based on caste, emerged in the first millennium BCE, and Buddhism and Jainism arose. Early political consolidations took place under the Maurya and Gupta empires; the later peninsular Middle Kingdoms influenced cultures as far as Southeast Asia. In the medieval era, Judaism, Zoroastrianism, Christianity, and Islam arrived, and Sikhism emerged, all adding to the region's diverse culture. Much of the north fell to the Delhi Sultanate; the south was united under the Vijayanagara Empire. The economy expanded in the 17th century in the Mughal Empire. In the mid-18th century, the subcontinent came under British East India Company rule, and in the mid-19th under British crown rule. A nationalist movement emerged in the late 19th century, which later, under Mahatma Gandhi, was noted for nonviolent resistance and led to India's independence in 1947.

At a glance

Did you know

K2

  • ...that five mountains in Pakistan are more than 8,000 meters high, including K2 which is the second highest mountain in the world ?
  • ...that Nepal receives US$50 million a year through the Gurkha soldiers who serve in the Indian and British armies and are highly esteemed for their skill and bravery?

Selected Biography

A view of Jinnah's face late in life
Jinnah in 1945

Muhammad Ali Jinnah (Urdu: محمد علی جناحALA-LC: Muḥammad ʿAlī Jināḥ, born Mahomedali Jinnahbhai; 25 December 1876 – 11 September 1948) was a lawyer, politician, and the founder of Pakistan. Jinnah served as the leader of the All-India Muslim League from 1913 until Pakistan's independence on 14 August 1947, and then as Pakistan's first Governor-General until his death. He is revered in Pakistan as Quaid-i-Azam (Urdu: قائد اعظم‎, "Great Leader") and Baba-i-Qaum (بابائے قوم, "Father of the Nation"). His birthday is considered a national holiday in Pakistan.

Born at Wazir Mansion in Karachi, Jinnah was trained as a barrister at Lincoln's Inn in London. Upon his return to British India, he enrolled at the Bombay High Court, and took an interest in national politics, which eventually replaced his legal practice. Jinnah rose to prominence in the Indian National Congress in the first two decades of the 20th century. In these early years of his political career, Jinnah advocated HinduMuslim unity, helping to shape the 1916 Lucknow Pact between the Congress and the All-India Muslim League, in which Jinnah had also become prominent. Jinnah became a key leader in the All India Home Rule League, and proposed a fourteen-point constitutional reform plan to safeguard the political rights of Muslims. In 1920, however, Jinnah resigned from the Congress when it agreed to follow a campaign of satyagraha, which he regarded as political anarchy.

By 1940, Jinnah had come to believe that Muslims of the Indian subcontinent should have their own state. In that year, the Muslim League, led by Jinnah, passed the Lahore Resolution, demanding a separate nation. During the Second World War, the League gained strength while leaders of the Congress were imprisoned, and in the elections held shortly after the war, it won most of the seats reserved for Muslims. Ultimately, the Congress and the Muslim League could not reach a power-sharing formula for the subcontinent to be united as a single state, leading all parties to agree to the independence of a predominantly Hindu India, and for a Muslim-majority state of Pakistan.

As the first Governor-General of Pakistan, Jinnah worked to establish the new nation's government and policies, and to aid the millions of Muslim migrants who had emigrated from the new nation of India to Pakistan after independence, personally supervising the establishment of refugee camps. Jinnah died at age 71 in September 1948, just over a year after Pakistan gained independence from the United Kingdom. He left a deep and respected legacy in Pakistan. Innumerable streets, roads and localities in the world are named after Jinnah. Several universities and public buildings in Pakistan bear Jinnah's name. According to his biographer, Stanley Wolpert, he remains Pakistan's greatest leader. (More...)

Wikipedia in South Asian Languages

عربى (Arabic) • অসমিয়া (Assamese) • भोजपुरी (Bhojpuri) • বাংলা (Bengali) • ইমার ঠার/বিষ্ণুপ্রিয়া মণিপুরী (Bishnupriya Manipuri) • މަހަލް (Dhivehi) • ગુજરાતી (Gujarati) • हिन्दी (Hindi) • ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada) • کٲشُر (Kashmiri) • मैथिली (Maithili) • മലയാളം (Malayalam) • मराठी (Marathi) • नेपाली (Nepali) • ଓଡ଼ିଆ (Odia) • پښتو (Pashto) • فارسی (Persian) • ਪੰਜਾਬੀ (Punjabi) • संस्कृत (Sanskrit) • سنڌي (Sindhi) • සිංහල (Sinhala) • தமிழ் (Tamil) • తెలుగు (Telugu) • پنجابی (Western Punjabi) • اردو (Urdu)

Selected Destination

Location of Chennai in Tamil Nadu

Chennai (/ˈɛn/ (About this soundlisten); also known by its former name Madras /məˈdrɑːs/ (About this soundlisten) or /-ˈdræs/) is the capital of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Located on the Coromandel Coast off the Bay of Bengal, it is the biggest cultural, economic and educational centre of south India. According to the 2011 Indian census, it is the sixth most populous city and fourth-most populous urban agglomeration in India. The city together with the adjoining regions constitute the Chennai Metropolitan Area, which is the 36th-largest urban area by population in the world. Chennai is among the most visited Indian cities by foreign tourists. It was ranked the 43rd most visited city in the world for the year 2015. The Quality of Living Survey rated Chennai as the safest city in India. Chennai attracts 45 percent of health tourists visiting India, and 30 to 40 percent of domestic health tourists. As such, it is termed "India's health capital". As a growing metropolitan city in a developing country, Chennai confronts substantial pollution and other logistical and socio-economic problems.

Chennai had the third-largest expatriate population in India at 35,000 in 2009, 82,790 in 2011 and estimated at over 100,000 by 2016. Tourism guide publisher Lonely Planet named Chennai as one of the top ten cities in the world to visit in 2015. Chennai is ranked as a beta-level city in the Global Cities Index, and was ranked the best city in India by India Today in the 2014 annual Indian city survey. In 2015 Chennai was named the "hottest" city (worth visiting, and worth living in for long term) by the BBC, citing the mixture of both modern and traditional values. National Geographic mentioned Chennai as the only South Asian city to feature in its 2015 "Top 10 food cities" list. Chennai was also named the ninth-best cosmopolitan city in the world by Lonely Planet. In October 2017, Chennai was added to the UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN) list for its rich musical tradition.

The Chennai Metropolitan Area is one of the largest municipal economies of India. Chennai is nicknamed "The Detroit of India", with more than one-third of India's automobile industry being based in the city. Home to the Tamil film industry, Chennai is also known as a major film production centre. In January 2015, it was ranked third in terms of per capita GDP. Chennai has been selected as one of the 100 Indian cities to be developed as a smart city under Smart Cities Mission. (More...)

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