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SAARC portal

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
DemonymSouth Asian
Member states
Leaders
Pakistan Amjad B. Hussain
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

The India national cricket team, also known as Team India and Men in Blue, is governed by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), and is a full member of the International Cricket Council (ICC) with Test, One Day International (ODI) and Twenty20 International (T20I) status.

Although cricket was introduced to India by European merchant sailors in the 18th century, and the first cricket club was established in Calcutta (currently known as Kolkata) in 1792, India's national cricket team did not play its first Test match until 25 June 1932 at Lord's, becoming the sixth team to be granted Test cricket status. In its first fifty years of international cricket, India was one of the weaker teams, winning only 35 of the first 196 Test matches it played. From 1932 India had to wait until 1952, almost 20 years for its first Test victory. The team, however, gained strength in the 1970s with the emergence of players such as batsmen Sunil Gavaskar and Gundappa Viswanath, all-rounder Kapil Dev and the Indian spin quartet of Erapalli Prasanna, Srinivas Venkataraghavan, Bhagwat Chandrasekhar and Bishen Singh Bedi.

Traditionally much stronger at home than abroad, the Indian team has improved its overseas form, especially in limited-overs cricket, since the start of the 21st century, winning Test matches in Australia, England and South Africa. It has won the Cricket World Cup twice – in 1983 under the captaincy of Kapil Dev and in 2011 under the captaincy of Mahendra Singh Dhoni. After winning the 2011 World Cup, India became only the third team after West Indies and Australia to have won the World Cup more than once, and the first cricket team to win the World Cup at home. It also won the 2007 ICC World Twenty20 and 2013 ICC Champions Trophy, under the captaincy of MS Dhoni. It was also the joint champions of 2002 ICC Champions Trophy, along with Sri Lanka.

As of 19 October 2018, India is ranked first in Tests, second in ODIs and second in T20Is by the ICC. Virat Kohli is the current captain of the team across all formats, while the head coach is Ravi Shastri. The Indian cricket team has rivalries with other Test-playing nations, most notably with Pakistan, the political arch-rival of India. However, in recent times, rivalries with nations like Australia, South Africa and England have also gained prominence. (More...)

Selected Quotation

Gautama Buddha

Selected image

Cox's Bazar boats.jpg
Cox's Bazar in Bangladesh is the world's longest natural beach (120 km). It is located 152 km south of Chittagong.
Photo credit: ed g2s

South Asia News

9 November 2018 – War in Afghanistan
Officials say that an attack by the Taliban on an army outpost killed 10 soldiers and 7 policemen in Khwaja Ghar District after 7 policemen were killed in Farah yesterday. (AP via The Fresno Bee)
8 November 2018 – 2018 in science
NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory confirms earlier observations by Indian Space Research Organisation's Astrosat space observatory of a rotating black hole in the binary star system 4U 1630-47, which is spinning close to the speed of light, one of the fastest ever observed. (India Today) (Metro)
7 November 2018 – Asia Bibi blasphemy case
Pakistani Christian woman Asia Bibi, sentenced to death by hanging in 2010 and recently acquitted, is released from prison. Bibi has reportedly boarded a plane; however, its destination was not known. Several countries have offered her asylum. (BBC)
3 November 2018 – War in Afghanistan
An Afghan commando in Kabul kills Major Brent Taylor of the Utah National Guard, who was also the mayor of North Ogden, Utah. (The New York Times)
2 November 2018 – Blasphemy law in Pakistan
According to a pact between Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) and two Federal & Provincial Religious Affairs Ministers of Pakistan, the name of Asia Bibi will be placed on the Exit Control List which would prevent her leaving the country. TLP has already filed a review petition against the verdict of Supreme Court of Pakistan in the Asia Bibi blasphemy case. (Dawn News) (The Guardian)
31 October 2018 – List of tallest statues
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Statue of Unity, which depicts the first Deputy Prime Minister of India and winner of the highest civilian award of the Republic of India, the Bharat Ratna, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, becomes the world's largest statue. The statue is located near the Narmada Dam in the Indian state of Gujarat. (NDTV)

Selected Member Country



Flag of Nepal

Location on the world map

Nepal (/nəˈpɔːl/ (About this sound listen); Nepali: नेपाल About this sound Nepāl [neˈpal]), officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal (Nepali: सङ्घीय लोकतान्त्रिक गणतन्त्र नेपाल Saṅghīya Lokatāntrik Gaṇatantra Nepāl), is a landlocked country in South Asia. It is located mainly in the Himalayas but also includes parts of the Indo-Gangetic Plain. With an estimated population of 26.4 million, it is 48th largest country by population and 93rd largest country by area. It borders China in the north and India in the south, east, and west while Bangladesh is located within only 27 km (17 mi) of its southeastern tip and Bhutan is separated from it by the Indian state of Sikkim. Nepal has a diverse geography, including fertile plains, subalpine forested hills, and eight of the world's ten tallest mountains, including Mount Everest, the highest point on Earth. Kathmandu is the nation's capital and largest city. Nepal is a multiethnic nation with Nepali as the official language.

The name "Nepal" is first recorded in texts from the Vedic period of the Indian subcontinent, the era in ancient India when Hinduism was founded, the predominant religion of the country. In the middle of the first millennium BCE, Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism, was born in Lumbini in southern Nepal. Parts of northern Nepal were intertwined with the culture of Tibet. The centrally located Kathmandu Valley was the seat of the prosperous Newar confederacy known as Nepal Mandala. The Himalayan branch of the ancient Silk Road was dominated by the valley's traders. The cosmopolitan region developed distinct traditional art and architecture. By the 18th century, the Gorkha Kingdom achieved the unification of Nepal. The Shah dynasty established the Kingdom of Nepal and later formed an alliance with the British Empire, under its Rajput Rana dynasty of premiers. The country was never colonised but served as a buffer state between Imperial China and British India. Parliamentary democracy was introduced in 1951, but was twice suspended by Nepalese monarchs, in 1960 and 2005. The Nepalese Civil War in the 1990s and early 2000s resulted in the proclamation of a secular republic in 2008, ending the world's last Hindu monarchy.

The Constitution of Nepal, adopted in 2015, establishes Nepal as a federal secular parliamentary republic divided into seven provinces. Nepal was admitted to the United Nations in 1955, and friendship treaties were signed with India in 1950 and the People's Republic of China in 1960. Nepal hosts the permanent secretariat of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), of which it is a founding member. Nepal is also a member of the Non Aligned Movement and the Bay of Bengal Initiative. The military of Nepal is the fifth largest in South Asia; it is notable for its Gurkha history, particularly during the world wars, and has been a significant contributor to United Nations peacekeeping operations. More about Nepal

At a glance

Did you know

Trongsa Dzong

  • ...that Ram Shastri, a celebrated 18th-century judge in the Maratha Empire, created judicial history in India by sentencing the incumbent Peshwa (de facto ruler) to death on a charge of murder?
  • ...that the king of Bhutan lifted a ban on television and the Internet in 1999, making Bhutan one of the last countries to introduce television?

Selected Biography

Emperor Akbar.png

Abu'l-Fath Jalal-ud-din Muhammad Akbar ابو الفتح جلال الدين محمد اكبر‬ (15 October 1542– 27 October 1605), popularly known as Akbar I (IPA: [əkbər]), also as Akbar the Great (Akbar-i-azam اکبر اعظم‬), was the third Mughal emperor, who reigned from 1556 to 1605. Akbar succeeded his father, Humayun, under a regent, Bairam Khan, who helped the young emperor expand and consolidate Mughal domains in India. A strong personality and a successful general, Akbar gradually enlarged the Mughal Empire to include nearly all of the Indian Subcontinent north of the Godavari river. His power and influence, however, extended over the entire country because of Mughal military, political, cultural, and economic dominance. To unify the vast Mughal state, Akbar established a centralised system of administration throughout his empire and adopted a policy of conciliating conquered rulers through marriage and diplomacy. To preserve peace and order in a religiously and culturally diverse empire, he adopted policies that won him the support of his non-Muslim subjects. Eschewing tribal bonds and Islamic state identity, Akbar strove to unite far-flung lands of his realm through loyalty, expressed through an Indo-Persian culture, to himself as an emperor who had near-divine status.

Mughal India developed a strong and stable economy, leading to commercial expansion and greater patronage of culture. Akbar himself was a patron of art and culture. He was fond of literature, and created a library of over 24,000 volumes written in Sanskrit, Urdu, Persian, Greek, Latin, Arabic and Kashmiri, staffed by many scholars, translators, artists, calligraphers, scribes, bookbinders and readers. He did much of the cataloging himself through three main groupings. Akbar also established the library of Fatehpur Sikri exclusively for women, and he decreed that schools for the education of both Muslims and Hindus should be established throughout the realm. He also encouraged bookbinding to become a high art. Holy men of many faiths, poets, architects, and artisans adorned his court from all over the world for study and discussion. Akbar's courts at Delhi, Agra, and Fatehpur Sikri became centres of the arts, letters, and learning. Perso-Islamic culture began to merge and blend with indigenous Indian elements, and a distinct Indo-Persian culture emerged characterized by Mughal style arts, painting, and architecture. Disillusioned with orthodox Islam and perhaps hoping to bring about religious unity within his empire, Akbar promulgated Din-i-Ilahi, a syncretic creed derived mainly from Islam and Hinduism as well as some parts of Zoroastrianism and Christianity. A simple, monotheistic cult, tolerant in outlook, it centered on Akbar as a prophet, for which he drew the ire of the ulema and orthodox Muslims. Many of his courtiers followed Din-i-Ilahi as their religion as well, as many believed that Akbar was a prophet. One famous courtier who followed this blended religion was Birbal.

Akbar's reign significantly influenced the course of Indian history. During his rule, the Mughal empire tripled in size and wealth. He created a powerful military system and instituted effective political and social reforms. By abolishing the sectarian tax on non-Muslims and appointing them to high civil and military posts, he was the first Mughal ruler to win the trust and loyalty of the native subjects. He had Sanskrit literature translated, participated in native festivals, realising that a stable empire depended on the co-operation and good-will of his subjects. Thus, the foundations for a multicultural empire under Mughal rule were laid during his reign. Akbar was succeeded as emperor by his son, Prince Salim, later known as Jahangir. (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

Montage of Kabul City.png

Kabul (Persian: کابل‎, translit. Kābol, Pashto: کابل‎, translit. Kābəl) is the capital of Afghanistan and its largest city, located in the eastern section of the country. It is also a municipality, forming part of the greater Kabul Province. According to estimates in 2015, the population of Kabul is 4.635 million, which includes all the major ethnic groups. Rapid urbanization had made Kabul the world's 75th largest city.

Kabul is located high up in a narrow valley between the Hindu Kush mountains, with an elevation of 1,790 metres (5,873 ft) making it one of the highest capitals in the world. The city is said to be over 3,500 years old, mentioned since at least the time of the Achaemenid Empire. It is at a strategic location along the trade routes of South and Central Asia, and a key location of the ancient Silk Road. It has been part of the Achaemenids followed by the Seleucids, Mauryans, Kushans, Kabul Shahis, Saffarids, Samanids, Ghaznavids, Ghurids, Khwarazmians, Qarlughids, Khaljis, Timurids, Mughals, and Hotaks, until finally becoming part of the Durrani Empire (also known as the "Afghan Empire") in 1747. Kabul became the capital of Afghanistan in 1776, during the reign of Timur Shah Durrani, the son of Ahmad Shah Durrani.

In the early 19th century, the British occupied the city but after establishing foreign relations they were compelled to withdraw all forces from Afghanistan. The city was occupied by the Soviets in 1979 but they too abandoned it after the 1988 Geneva Accords were signed. A civil war in the 1990s between various rebel groups destroyed much of the city, resulting in many casualties.

Kabul is known for its gardens, bazaars, and palaces. It was also formerly a mecca for young western hippies. Since the removal of the Taliban from power in late 2001, the city began rebuilding itself with assistance from the international community. Despite the many terrorist attacks by anti-state elements, the city is developing and was the fifth fastest-growing city in the world as of 2012. The city is divided into 22 districts. (More...)

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