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edit The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is an economic and political organization of eight countries in Southern Asia. In terms of population, its sphere of influence is the largest of any regional organization: almost 1.5 billion people, the combined population of its member states. In 1980, Bangladesh President Ziaur Rahman proposed the creation of a trade bloc consisting of South Asian countries. The Bangladeshi proposal was accepted by India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka during a meeting held in Colombo in 1981. In August 1983, the leaders adopted the Declaration on South Asian Regional Cooperation during a summit which was held in New Delhi. The seven South Asian countries, which also included Nepal, Maldives and Bhutan, agreed on five areas of cooperation:

  • Agriculture and Rural Development
  • Telecommunications, Science, Technology and Meteorology
  • Health and Population Activities
  • Transport*
  • Human Resource Development

Afghanistan was added to the regional grouping at the behest of India on November 13, 2005, With the addition of Afghanistan, the total number of member states were raised to eight (8). The People's Republic of China, the European Union, the United States of America, South Korea, Iran, Myanmar, Australia, and Mauritius are observers to SAARC. (more)

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The Bombay Stock Exchange is the country's main stock exchange.

The economy of India is the fourth-largest in the world as measured by purchasing power parity (PPP), with a GDP of $3.3 trillion. When measured in USD exchange rates it is the tenth largest in the world, with a GDP of $691.8 billion. However India's huge population results in a relatively low per capita income ($3,100 at PPP). Services are the major source of economic growth in India today, though two-thirds of Indian workforce earn their livelihood directly or indirectly through agriculture. In recent times, India has also capitalised on its large number of highly-educated populace fluent in the English language to become a major exporter of software services, financial services and software engineers. For most of India's independent history, a socialist inspired approach was adhered to, with strict government control and regulation on private sector participation, foreign trade and foreign direct investment. Since the early 1990s, India has gradually opened up its markets through economic reforms by reducing government controls on foreign trade and investment. The socio-economic problems India faces are the burgeoning population, growing inequality, lack of infrastructure, growing unemployment and growing poverty. (more...)

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Mahatma Gandhi
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Male-total.jpg
Malé, capital city of the Republic of Maldives, located in the Kaafu Atoll.
Photo credit: Shahee
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The Islamic Centre, housing the mosque Masjid-al-Sultan

  • ...that for nearly three centuries until 1956, the Burdwan Zamindari, one of the richest feudal estates in Bengal, was held by the same Punjabi family?
  • ...that Maldives is the flattest country in the world, i.e. they have the lowest high-point (only 2.4 meter high) of any country in the world.
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Flag of Nepal

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Nepal, officially known, according to its Interim Constitution, as the State of Nepal (previously known as Kingdom of Nepal) (Nepali: नेपाल About this sound [neˈpaːl] ) is a landlocked Himalayan country in South Asia. In Nepal Bhasa, Nepal is called as Nepa: (Nepal Bhasa: नेपा:). It is bordered by China (Tibet) to the north and by India (Bihar, Sikkim, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, West Bengal) to the south, east and west.

For a small territory, the Nepali landscape is uncommonly diverse, ranging from the humid Terai in the south to the lofty Himalayas in the north. Eight of the world's ten highest mountains are in Nepal, including Mount Everest. The country is famous for: tourism, trekking, hiking, camping, mountain biking, national wildlife parks, jungle safaris, river rafting, sport fishing, and its many beautiful temples and places of worship.

Kathmandu is the capital and largest city. Other main cities include Dharan, Thimi, Pokhara, Biratnagar, Lalitpur (Patan), Bhaktapur. other main towns includes Birendranagar, Bharatpur, Nepal, Siddhartanagar (Bhairahawa), Birganj (Birgunj), Butwal, Janakpur, Nepalganj (Nepalgunj), Hetauda, Damak, Dhangadhi, and Mahendranagar.



At a glance
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Bengal 1907

This 1907 map of Eastern Bengal clearly shows the spread of Bengali culture towards the east, encompassing modern Bangladesh, Assam, Tripura, Mizoram, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh. Today's West Bengal lies to the west of this region, forming the eastern bottleneck of India, stretching from the Himalayas in the north to the Bay of Bengal in the south. The state has a total area of 88,752 km². The Darjeeling Himalayan hill region in the northern extreme of the state belongs to the eastern Himalaya. This region contains Sandakfu (3,636 m) — the highest peak of the state. The narrow Terai region separates this region from the plains, which in turn transitions into the Ganges delta towards the south. The Rarh region intervenes between the Ganges delta in the east and the western plateau and high lands. A small coastal region is on the extreme south, while the Sundarbans mangrove forests form a remarkable geographical landmark at the Ganges delta.

Map credit: Astrokey44

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Indira Gandhi

Indira Priyadarshini Gandhi (Hindi: इन्दिरा प्रियदर्शिनी गान्धी) (19 November 1917 - October 31, 1984) was an Indian politician who served as Prime Minister of India for three consecutive terms from 1966 to 1977 and for a fourth term from 1980 until her assassination in 1984.

Born in the politically influential Nehru dynasty, she grew up in an intensely political atmosphere. Her grandfather Motilal Nehru and father Jawaharlal Nehru were prominent Indian nationalist leaders. Returning to India from Oxford in 1941, she became involved in the Indian Independence movement.

In the 1950s, she served her father unofficially as a personal assistant during his tenure as India's first Prime Minister. After her father's death in 1964, she was appointed as a member of the Rajya Sabha by the President of India and became a member of Lal Bahadur Shastri's cabinet as Minister of Information and Broadcasting.

Chosen to become Prime Minister by Congress Party insiders after Shastri's death, Gandhi soon showed an ability to win elections and outmanoeuvre opponents through populism. She introduced more left-wing economic policies and promoted agricultural productivity. A crusing victory in the 1971 war with Pakistan was followed by a period of instability that led her to impose a state of Emergency in 1975; she paid for the authoritarian excesses of the period with three years in opposition.

Returned to office in 1980, she became increasingly involved in an escalating conflict with separatists in Punjab that eventually led to her assassination by her own bodyguards in 1984. (more...)

Wikipedia in South Asian Languages

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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)

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Downtown Karachi
About this sound Karachi  (Urdu: كراچى‎, Sindhi: ڪراچي‎) is the capital of the province of Sindh, and the largest city in Pakistan. Located on the coast of the Arabian Sea, north-west of the Indus River Delta, the megacity is the largest city, original capital and cultural, economical, philanthropic, educational, and political hub, as well as the largest port, of the country. The metropolitan area along with its suburbs comprises the world's second most populated city, spread over 3,530 square kilometres. The city credits its growth to the mixed populations of economic and political migrants and refugees from different national, provincial, linguistic and religious origins who have largely come to settle here permanently. It is locally termed as the City of Lights (روشنیوں کا شہر) for its liveliness and the City of The Quaid (شہرِ قائد), for not only being both the birth and death place of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah the founder of Pakistan but also his home after 1947. Residents and those born in the city are called "Karachiites". (more)
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