Region - South Asia
Just as the nations of East Asia were historically influenced by Chinese civilization, the nations of South Asia were shaped by Indian civilization. Some of these nations, such as Pakistan and Bangladesh were historically part of the Indian nation, having separated with Indian Independence from Britain in 1947, or in the case of Bangladesh, from Pakistan in 1971; others such as Nepal and Bhutan were at times also politically part of India, or were settled, like Sri Lanka, by migrants from India. These nations share many cultural traits, including languages, writing systems, religion, family and political structures, economic and trading links and contemporary development issues. Burma (Myanmar) is a border state that, while geographically in Southeast Asia, also shares cultural and linguistic traits with the Indian States.
Religion is a vital factor in this area: Hinduism, Islam, and Buddhism have all historically shaped these states and provide the basis for much of the current conflicts between and within them. Population is another important issue as South Asia has some of the highest birthrates in the world; all of these countries are dealing with issues of a large impoverished underclass, basic rights for women, and provision of services such as clean water, education, housing, medical care, etc.