The expression South Asia includes the following countries:
• The Maldives
• Sri Lanka.
The region is considered to be a subcontinent because of its linguistic, social and cultural uniqueness. The Himalayas in the north and the Indian Ocean, the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal in the south, west and east respectively provide a natural boundary to the region. Even though China is an important country, it is not considered to be a part of the region.
(ii) • India
• Sri Lanka
(iii) The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is a regional initiative by the South Asian countries. It aims to develop cooperation through multilateral means and agreements. It was incorporated in 1985. But, due to the continuing political differences between the countries, SAARC was not completely successful.
The members of SAARC signed the South Asian Free Trade (SAFTA) agreement. It ensured the creation of a free trade zone for all of the South Asian countries. It was signed in 2004 and came into effect from 1 January 2006.
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