Indian subcontinent

Indian subcontinent
Indian subcontinent.JPG
Area4.4 million km2 (1.7 million sq mi)
Population1.710 billion (2015)[1]
Population density389/km2
Sri Lanka

The Indian subcontinent is a southern region and peninsula of Asia, mostly situated on the Indian Plate and projecting southwards into the Indian Ocean from the Himalayas. Geologically, the Indian subcontinent is related to the land mass that rifted from Gondwana and merged with the Eurasian plate nearly 55 million years ago.[2] 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.[3] Politically, the Indian subcontinent usually includes Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.[4][5][6]

Sometimes, the term 'Indian subcontinent' is used interchangeably with South Asia,[7] although that is typically defined to include Afghanistan as well.[8] Which countries should be included in either of these remains the subject of debate.[9][10][11]


According to 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". It is first attested in 1845 to refer to the North and South Americas, before they were regarded as separate continents. Its use to refer to the Indian subcontinent is seen from the early twentieth century. It was especially convenient for referring to the region comprising both British India and the princely states under British Paramountcy.[12][13]

The term Indian subcontinent also has a geological significance. Like the various continents, it was a part of the supercontinent of Gondwana. A series of tectonic splits caused formation of various basins, each drifting in various directions. The geological region called "Greater India" once included Madagascar, Seychelles, Antarctica and Austrolasia along with the Indian subcontinent basin. As a geological term, Indian subcontinent has meant that region formed from the collision of the Indian basin with Eurasia nearly 55 million years ago, towards the end of Paleocene.[2][14]

The Indian subcontinent has been a term particularly common in the British Empire.[7][not in citation given]

The geographical region has historically simply been known as "India" (in antiquity referring to the Indus Valley region, not the entire subcontinent). Other related terms are Greater India and South Asia.[15][16] And the terms "Indian subcontinent" and "South Asia" are sometimes used interchangeably.[7] There is no globally accepted definition on which countries are a part of South Asia or the Indian subcontinent.[9][11][10] The less common term "South Asian subcontinent" has seen occasional use since the 1970s.[17]

Other Languages
brezhoneg: Iskevandir Indez
ދިވެހިބަސް: ބައްރެސަޣީރު
한국어: 인도 아대륙
Bahasa Indonesia: Subbenua India
íslenska: Indlandsskagi
कॉशुर / کٲشُر: भारतीय उपमहादीप
Kiswahili: Bara Hindi
Bahasa Melayu: Subbenua India
Simple English: Indian subcontinent
slovenčina: Indický polostrov
slovenščina: Indijska podcelina
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Indijski potkontinent
اردو: برصغیر