India , officially the Republic of India, is a country in South
Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the
second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the
most populous democracy in the world. Bounded by the Indian Ocean
on the south, the Arabian Sea on the southwest, and the Bay of
Bengal on the southeast, it shares land borders with Pakistan to
the west; Bhutan, the People's Republic of China and Nepal to the
northeast; and Bangladesh and Burma to the east. In the Indian
Ocean, India is in the vicinity of Sri Lanka and the Maldives; in
addition, India's Andaman and Nicobar Islands share a maritime
border with Thailand and Indonesia.
Home to the ancient Indus Valley Civilization and a region of
historic trade routes and vast empires, the Indian subcontinent was
identified with its commercial and cultural wealth for much of its
long history. Four of the world's major religions-Hinduism,
Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism-originated here, whereas
Zoroastrianism, Christianity and Islam arrived in the 1st
millennium CE and also helped shape the region's diverse
culture. Gradually annexed by the British East India Company
from the early 18th century and colonized by the United Kingdom
from the mid-19th century, India became an independent nation in
1947 after a struggle for independence which was marked by
non-violent resistance led by Mahatma Gandhi.
The Indian economy is the world's tenth-largest economy by
nominal GDP and fourth largest economy by purchasing power parity.
Following market-based economic reforms in 1991, India has become
one of the fastest growing major economies, and is considered a
newly industrialized country; however, it continues to face the
challenges of poverty, illiteracy, corruption and inadequate public
health. A nuclear weapons state and a regional power, it has the
third-largest standing army in the world and ranks tenth in
military expenditure among nations.
India is a federal constitutional republic governed under a
parliamentary system consisting of 28 states and 7 union
territories. It is one of the 5 BRICS nations. India is a
pluralistic, multilingual, and multiethnic society. It is also home
to a diversity of wildlife in a variety of protected habitats.