Indian subcontinent

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This article is about the geographical location. Indian subcontinent_sentence_0

For the political entity, see South Asia. Indian subcontinent_sentence_1

Indian subcontinent_table_infobox_0

Indian subcontinentIndian subcontinent_table_caption_0
CountriesIndian subcontinent_header_cell_0_0_0 Bangladesh

 Bhutan  India  Maldives    Nepal  Pakistan  Sri LankaIndian subcontinent_cell_0_0_1

The Indian subcontinent, or, sometimes simply called the subcontinent, is a physiographical region in southern Asia, situated on the Indian Plate and projecting southwards into the Indian Ocean from the Himalayas. Indian subcontinent_sentence_2

Geologically, the Indian subcontinent is related to the landmass that rifted from the supercontinent Gondwana during the Cretaceous and merged with the Eurasian landmass nearly 55 million years ago. Indian subcontinent_sentence_3

Geographically, it is the peninsular region in south-central Asia, delineated by the Himalayas in the north, the Hindu Kush in the west, and the Arakanese in the east. Indian subcontinent_sentence_4

Geopolitically, the Indian subcontinent generally includes all or part of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, as well as Maldives. Indian subcontinent_sentence_5

The terms Indian subcontinent and South Asia are sometimes used interchangeably to denote the region. Indian subcontinent_sentence_6

Name Indian subcontinent_section_0

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the term subcontinent signifies a "subdivision of a continent which has a distinct geographical, political, or cultural identity" and also a "large land mass somewhat smaller than a continent". Indian subcontinent_sentence_7

Its use to signify the Indian subcontinent is evidenced from early twentieth century, when most of the territory was part of British India, as it was a convenient term to refer to the region comprising both the British India and the princely states under British Paramountcy. Indian subcontinent_sentence_8

The Indian subcontinent as a term has been particularly common in the British Empire and its successors, while the term South Asia is the more common usage in Europe and North America. Indian subcontinent_sentence_9

According to historians Sugata Bose and Ayesha Jalal, the Indian subcontinent has come to be known as South Asia "in more recent and neutral parlance." Indian subcontinent_sentence_10

Indologist Ronald B. Inden argues that the usage of the term South Asia is becoming more widespread since it clearly distinguishes the region from East Asia. Indian subcontinent_sentence_11

While South Asia, a more accurate term that reflects the region's contemporary political demarcations, is replacing the Indian subcontinent, a term closely linked to the region's colonial heritage, as a cover term, the latter is still widely used in typological studies. Indian subcontinent_sentence_12

Since the partition of India, citizens of Pakistan (which became independent of British India in 1947) and Bangladesh (which became independent of Pakistan in 1971) often perceive the use of Indian subcontinent as offensive and suspicious because of the dominant placement of India in the term. Indian subcontinent_sentence_13

As such it is being increasingly less used in those countries. Indian subcontinent_sentence_14

Meanwhile many Indian analysts prefer to use the term because of socio-cultural commonalities of the region. Indian subcontinent_sentence_15

The region has also been called the "Asian subcontinent", the "South Asian subcontinent", or the "Indo-Pak subcontinent", as well as "India" or "Greater India" in the classical and pre-modern sense. Indian subcontinent_sentence_16

Geology Indian subcontinent_section_1

The Indian subcontinent was formerly part of Gondwana, a supercontinent formed during the late Neoproterozoic and early Paleozoic. Indian subcontinent_sentence_17

Gondwana began to break up during the Mesozoic, with the Indian subcontinent separating from Antarctica 130-120 million years ago and Madagascar around 90 million years ago. Indian subcontinent_sentence_18

The Indian subcontinent subsequently drifted northeastwards, colliding with the Eurasian plate nearly 55 million years ago, towards the end of Paleocene. Indian subcontinent_sentence_19

The zone where the Eurasian and Indian subcontinent plates meet remains geologically active, prone to major earthquakes. Indian subcontinent_sentence_20

Physiographically, it is a peninsular region in south-central Asia delineated by the Himalayas in the north, the Hindu Kush in the west, and the Arakanese in the east. Indian subcontinent_sentence_21

It extends southward into the Indian Ocean with the Arabian Sea to the southwest and the Bay of Bengal to the southeast. Indian subcontinent_sentence_22

Most of this region rests on the Indian Plate and is isolated from the rest of Asia by large mountain barriers. Indian subcontinent_sentence_23

Laccadive Islands, Maldives and Chagos Archipelago are three series of coral atolls, cays and faroes on the Indian plate along the Chagos–Laccadive Ridge, a submarine ridge that was generated by the northern drift of the Indian Plate over the Réunion hotspot during the Cretaceous and early Cenozoic times. Indian subcontinent_sentence_24

The Maldives archipelago rises from a basement of volcanic basalt outpourings from a depth of about 2000 m forming the central part the ridge between Laccadives and the Great Chagos Bank. Indian subcontinent_sentence_25

Geography Indian subcontinent_section_2

According to anthropologist John R. Lukacs, "the Indian Subcontinent occupies the major landmass of South Asia." Indian subcontinent_sentence_26

According to historian B. Indian subcontinent_sentence_27 N. Mukherjee, "The subcontinent is an indivisible geographical entity." Indian subcontinent_sentence_28

According to geographer Dudley Stamp "there is perhaps no mainland part of the world better marked off by nature as a region or a 'realm' by itself than the Indian subcontinent." Indian subcontinent_sentence_29

This natural physical landmass in South Asia is the dry-land portion of the Indian Plate, which has been relatively isolated from the rest of Eurasia. Indian subcontinent_sentence_30

The Himalayas (from Brahmaputra River in the east to Indus River in the west), Karakoram (from Indus River in the east to Yarkand River in the west) and the Hindu Kush mountains (from Yarkand River westwards) form its northern boundary. Indian subcontinent_sentence_31

In the west it is bounded by parts of the mountain ranges of Hindu Kush, Spīn Ghar (Safed Koh), Sulaiman Mountains, Kirthar Mountains, Brahui range, and Pab range among others, with the Western Fold Belt along the border (between the Sulaiman Range and the Chaman Fault) is the western boundary of the Indian Plate, where, along the Eastern Hindu Kush, lies the Afghanistan–Pakistan border. Indian subcontinent_sentence_32

In the east it is bounded by Patkai, Naga, Lushai and Chin hills. Indian subcontinent_sentence_33

The Indian ocean, Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea forms the boundary of the Indian subcontinent in the south, south-east and south-west. Indian subcontinent_sentence_34

Given the difficulty of passage through the Himalayas, the sociocultural, religious and political interaction of the Indian subcontinent has largely been through the valleys of Afghanistan in its northwest, the valleys of Manipur in its east, and by maritime routes. Indian subcontinent_sentence_35

More difficult but historically important interaction has also occurred through passages pioneered by the Tibetans. Indian subcontinent_sentence_36

These routes and interactions have led to the spread of Buddhism out of the Indian subcontinent into other parts of Asia. Indian subcontinent_sentence_37

And the Islamic expansion arrived into the Indian subcontinent in two ways, through Afghanistan on land and to Indian coast through the maritime routes on the Arabian Sea. Indian subcontinent_sentence_38

Geopolitics Indian subcontinent_section_3

In terms of modern geopolitical boundaries, the Indian subcontinent constitutes India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Bhutan, besides, by convention, the island nation of Sri Lanka and other islands of the Indian Ocean, such as the Maldives. Indian subcontinent_sentence_39

According to Chris Brewster and Wolfgang Mayrhofer, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bhutan constitute the Indian subcontinent. Indian subcontinent_sentence_40

Brewster and Mayrhofer also maintains that with Afghanistan and Maldives included the region is referred to as South Asia. Indian subcontinent_sentence_41

The periphery of the subcontinent, including Pakistan, Bangladesh, Kashmir and the island chains of Lakshadweep and the Maldives, features large Muslim populations, while the heartland, including most of India, Nepal and northern Sri Lanka, is overwhelmingly Hindu. Indian subcontinent_sentence_42

Since most of these countries are located on Indian plate, a continuous landmass, the borders between two countries are often either a river or a no man's land. Indian subcontinent_sentence_43

The precise definition of an "Indian subcontinent" in a geopolitical context is somewhat contested as there is no globally accepted definition on which countries are a part of South Asia or the Indian subcontinent. Indian subcontinent_sentence_44

Whether called the Indian subcontinent or South Asia, the definition of the geographical extent of this region varies. Indian subcontinent_sentence_45

Afghanistan, despite often considered as a part of South Asia, is usually not included in the Indian subcontinent. Indian subcontinent_sentence_46

Even when some parts of Afghanistan are sometimes included in the Indian subcontinent as a boundary territory between Central Asia and northwestern parts of the Indian subcontinent, the socio-religious history of Afghanistan is more closely related to Turkic-influenced Central Asia. Indian subcontinent_sentence_47

The Maldives, a country consisting of a small archipelago southwest of the peninsula, while largely considered part of the Indian subcontinent, sometimes is mentioned by sources, including the International Monetary Fund, as a group of islands away from Indian subcontinent in a south-western direction. Indian subcontinent_sentence_48


Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian subcontinent.