Why Is India Called a Subcontinent?

By Staff WriterLast Updated Apr 14, 2020 10:34:42 AM ET
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India is considered a subcontinent of South Asia because it has distinct geographical features not shared by other Asian countries, and has a unique system of governance as well. The Indian subcontinent fits the criteria for a subcontinent, which includes geographical features or governmental system different from those of surrounding nations. The Indian subcontinent resides in south-central Asia, and forms the shape of a large peninsula.


The Indian subcontinent contains a number of unique and distinguished topographical features and landmarks, including the Himalayan mountain range. The Himalayas are located in the northern region of the subcontinent, and help to form the border of India, Nepal and Pakistan. In the western part of the subcontinent are the Hindu Kush mountains, while the Arkanese lies to the east. The southern part of the peninsula is formed by the Indian Ocean, which combines with the Arabian Sea. The Arabian Sea lies slightly to the southwest, while the Bay of Bengal shapes the southeastern coast.

Although it is classified as one region, the subcontinent of India is further divided into a northern and southern section. The northern region includes the area beyond the Himalayas. This region has a distinct culture and languages from the south, which is formed topographically by the large, flat Deccan plateau.