The current territories of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka form South Asia. The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is an economic cooperation organisation in the region which was established in 1985 and includes all eight nations comprising South 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 1.749 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 peoples.
In 2010, South Asia had the world's largest population of Hindus, Jains and Sikhs. It also has the largest population of Muslims in Asia-Pacific region, as well as over 35 million Christians and 25 million Buddhists.
The total area of South Asia and its geographical extent is not clear cut as systemic and foreign policy orientations of its constituents are quite asymmetrical. Aside from the central region of South Asia, formerly part of the British Empire, there is a high degree of variation as to which other countries are included in South Asia.
Modern definitions of South Asia are consistent in including Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan and Maldives as the constituent countries. Myanmar is included by some scholars in South Asia, but in Southeast Asia by others. Some do not include Afghanistan, others question whether Afghanistan should be considered a part of South Asia or the Middle East.