The south Asian nations, with more than one and a half billion people, are now the largest fraction of humans in the world. Accordingly, what happens to them must be a matter of global concern — the more so because all of the five larger countries of the region face greater and more fundamental problems than other parts of Asia. These include an uncomfortably high rate of population growth, some of the world’s lowest percentages of literate people, and high incidences of poverty and fatal or disabling diseases.
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