By Milton W. Meyer
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The gap between the economically developed countries of the West and the underdeveloped ones of Asia is also reflected in issues of race and colonialism. The "colored" versus the white, the colonials against the "imperialists" are familiar confrontational themes in modern Asian history. Yet the respective parties cannot be seen strictly in an East-West perspective, because racial tensions and territorial aggressions have been common among Asians themselves. Contemporary Asian politics were more complex than a simple division of states into Cold War ideological categories of Communist, anti-Communist, and neutralist suggested.
To exclude Siberia and the Middle East, the more limited area is traditionally broken down into component subregions of South and Southeast Asia, China and Central Asia, and Northeast Asia. South Asia centers on India, the largest country. To its east and west are Bangladesh and Pakistan respectively. Other neighboring lands include Afghanistan, Nepal, and Bhutan. Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon) lies in the Indian Ocean, which also has island groups, such as the Maldives, related historically to the continent.
In the nineteenth century it was involved in the European struggle for power in Asia. Kabul is the capital. Nepal, a landlocked country lying between India and China, extends from the Gangetic plain to the Himalayas. Katmandu (or Kathmandu) is the capital. Bhutan, an Indian protectorate, is closely related historically and ethnically to Tibet, to which it is joined by a number of Himalayan mountain passes. Sri Lanka (Ceylon) is a large island in the Indian Ocean, connected with the mainland by the Adam's Bridge sandbars.