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India (HindiBhārat), officially the Republic of India (Hindi: Bhārat Gaṇarājya),[23] is a country in South Asia. It is the second-most populous country, the seventh-largest country by land area, 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;[f] ChinaNepal, and Bhutan to the north; and Bangladesh and Myanmar to the east. In the Indian Ocean, India is in the vicinity of Sri Lanka and the Maldives; its Andaman and Nicobar Islands share a maritime border with ThailandMyanmar and Indonesia.

Modern humans arrived on the Indian subcontinent from Africa no later than 55,000 years ago.[24] Their long occupation, initially in varying forms of isolation as hunter-gatherers, has made the region highly diverse, second only to Africa in human genetic diversity.[25] Settled life emerged on the subcontinent in the western margins of the Indus river basin 9,000 years ago, evolving gradually into the Indus Valley Civilisation of the third millennium BCE.[26] By 1200 BCE, an archaic form of Sanskrit, an Indo-European language, had diffused into India from the northwest,[27] unfolding as the language of the Rigveda, and recording the dawning of Hinduism in India.[28][disputed ] The Dravidian languages of India were supplanted in the northern and western regions.[29] By 400 BCE, stratification and exclusion by caste had emerged within Hinduism,[30] and Buddhism and Jainism had arisen, proclaiming social orders unlinked to heredity.[31] Early political consolidations gave rise to the loose-knit Maurya and Gupta Empires based in the Ganges Basin.[32] Their collective era was suffused with wide-ranging creativity,[33] but also marked by the declining status of women,[34] and the incorporation of untouchability into an organised system of belief.[g][35] In South India, the Middle kingdoms exported Dravidian-languages scripts and religious cultures to the kingdoms of Southeast Asia.[36]

In the early medieval era, ChristianityIslamJudaism, and Zoroastrianism put down roots on India’s southern and western coasts.[37] Muslim armies from Central Asia intermittently overran India’s northern plains,[38] eventually establishing the Delhi Sultanate, and drawing northern India into the cosmopolitan networks of medieval Islam.[39] In the 15th century, the Vijayanagara Empire created a long-lasting composite Hindu culture in south India.[40] In the PunjabSikhism emerged, rejecting institutionalised religion.[41] The Mughal Empire, in 1526, ushered in two centuries of relative peace,[42] leaving a legacy of luminous architecture.[h][43] Gradually expanding rule of the British East India Company followed, turning India into a colonial economy, but also consolidating its sovereignty.[44] British Crown rule began in 1858. The rights promised to Indians were granted slowly,[45] but technological changes were introduced, and ideas of education, modernity and the public life took root.[46] A pioneering and influential nationalist movement emerged, which was noted for nonviolent resistance and became the major factor in ending British rule.[47] In 1947 the British Indian Empire was partitioned into two independent dominions, a Hindu-majority Dominion of India and a Muslim-majority Dominion of Pakistan, amid large-scale loss of life and an unprecedented migration.[48][49]

India has been a federal republic since 1950, governed in a democratic parliamentary system. It is a pluralistic, multilingual and multi-ethnic society. India’s population grew from 361 million in 1951 to 1.211 billion in 2011.[50] During the same time, its nominal per capita income increased from US$64 annually to US$1,498, and its literacy rate from 16.6% to 74%. From being a comparatively destitute country in 1951,[51] India has become a fast-growing major economy and a hub for information technology services, with an expanding middle class.[52] It has a space programme which includes several planned or completed extraterrestrial missions. Indian movies, music, and spiritual teachings play an increasing role in global culture.[53] India has substantially reduced its rate of poverty, though at the cost of increasing economic inequality.[54] India is a nuclear-weapon state, which ranks high in military expenditure. It has disputes over Kashmir with its neighbours, Pakistan and China, unresolved since the mid-20th century.[55] Among the socio-economic challenges India faces are gender inequalitychild malnutrition,[56] and rising levels of air pollution.[57] India’s land is megadiverse, with four biodiversity hotspots.[58] Its forest cover comprises 21.7% of its area.[59] India’s wildlife, which has traditionally been viewed with tolerance in India’s culture,[60] is supported among these forests, and elsewhere, in protected habitats.


India accounts for the bulk of the Indian subcontinent, lying atop the Indian tectonic plate, a part of the Indo-Australian Plate.[163] India’s defining geological processes began 75 million years ago when the Indian Plate, then part of the southern supercontinent Gondwana, began a north-eastward drift caused by seafloor spreading to its south-west, and later, south and south-east.[163] Simultaneously, the vast Tethyan oceanic crust, to its northeast, began to subduct under the Eurasian Plate.[163] These dual processes, driven by convection in the Earth’s mantle, both created the Indian Ocean and caused the Indian continental crust eventually to under-thrust Eurasia and to uplift the Himalayas.[163] Immediately south of the emerging Himalayas, plate movement created a vast trough that rapidly filled with river-borne sediment[164] and now constitutes the Indo-Gangetic Plain.[165] Cut off from the plain by the ancient Aravalli Range lies the Thar Desert.[166]

The original Indian Plate survives as peninsular India, the oldest and geologically most stable part of India. It extends as far north as the Satpura and Vindhya ranges in central India. These parallel chains run from the Arabian Sea coast in Gujarat in the west to the coal-rich Chota Nagpur Plateau in Jharkhand in the east.[167] To the south, the remaining peninsular landmass, the Deccan Plateau, is flanked on the west and east by coastal ranges known as the Western and Eastern Ghats;[168] the plateau contains the country’s oldest rock formations, some over one billion years old. Constituted in such fashion, India lies to the north of the equator between 6° 44′ and 35° 30′ north latitude[i] and 68° 7′ and 97° 25′ east longitude.[169]

India’s coastline measures 7,517 kilometres (4,700 mi) in length; of this distance, 5,423 kilometres (3,400 mi) belong to peninsular India and 2,094 kilometres (1,300 mi) to the Andaman, Nicobar, and Lakshadweep island chains.[170] According to the Indian naval hydrographic charts, the mainland coastline consists of the following: 43% sandy beaches; 11% rocky shores, including cliffs; and 46% mudflats or marshy shores.[170]



Rashtrapati Bhavan, the official residence of the President of India, was designed by British architects Edwin Lutyens and Herbert Baker for the Viceroy of India, and constructed between 1911 and 1931 during the British Raj.[226]

India is a federation with a parliamentary system governed under the Constitution of India—the country’s supreme legal document. It is a constitutional republic and representative democracy, in which “majority rule is tempered by minority rights protected by law“. Federalism in India defines the power distribution between the union and the states. The Constitution of India, which came into effect on 26 January 1950,[227] originally stated India to be a “sovereigndemocratic republic;” this characterisation was amended in 1971 to “a sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic republic”.[228] India’s form of government, traditionally described as “quasi-federal” with a strong centre and weak states,[229] has grown increasingly federal since the late 1990s as a result of political, economic, and social changes.[230][231]

National symbols[1]
FlagTiranga (Tricolour)
EmblemSarnath Lion Capital
AnthemJana Gana Mana
SongVande Mataram
Currency (Indian rupee)
GameNot declared[232]

The Government of India comprises three branches:[233]

Administrative divisions

India is a federal union comprising 28 states and 8 union territories (listed below as 1–28 and A–H, respectively).[249] All states, as well as the union territories of Jammu and KashmirPuducherry and the National Capital Territory of Delhi, have elected legislatures and governments following the Westminster system of governance. The remaining five union territories are directly ruled by the central government through appointed administrators. In 1956, under the States Reorganisation Act, states were reorganised on a linguistic basis.[250] There are over a quarter of a million local government bodies at city, town, block, district and village levels.[251]

AfghanistanMyanmarChinaTajikistanIndian OceanBay of BengalAndaman SeaArabian SeaLaccadive SeaAndaman and Nicobar IslandsChandigarhDadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and DiuDelhiLakshadweepPuducherryPuducherryGoaKeralaManipurMeghalayaMizoramNagalandSikkimTripuraPakistanNepalBhutanBangladeshSri LankaSri LankaSri LankaSri LankaSri LankaSri LankaSri LankaSri LankaSri LankaSiachen GlacierDisputed territory in Jammu and KashmirDisputed territory in Jammu and KashmirJammu and KashmirLadakhChandigarhDelhiDadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and DiuDadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and DiuPuducherryPuducherryPuducherryPuducherryGoaGujaratKarnatakaKeralaMadhya PradeshMaharashtraRajasthanTamil NaduAssamMeghalayaAndhra PradeshArunachal PradeshNagalandManipurMizoramTelanganaTripuraWest BengalSikkimBiharJharkhandOdishaChhattisgarhUttar PradeshUttarakhandHaryanaPunjabHimachal Pradesh

A clickable map of the 28 states and 8 union territories of India

  1. Andhra Pradesh
  2. Arunachal Pradesh
  3. Assam
  4. Bihar
  5. Chhattisgarh
  6. Goa
  7. Gujarat
  8. Haryana
  9. Himachal Pradesh
  10. Jharkhand
  11. Karnataka
  12. Kerala
  13. Madhya Pradesh
  14. Maharashtra
  15. Manipur
  16. Meghalaya
  17. Mizoram
  18. Nagaland
  19. Odisha
  20. Punjab
  21. Rajasthan
  22. Sikkim
  23. Tamil Nadu
  24. Telangana
  25. Tripura
  26. Uttar Pradesh
  27. Uttarakhand
  28. West Bengal
  1. Andaman and Nicobar Islands
  2. Chandigarh
  3. Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu
  4. Jammu and Kashmir
  5. Ladakh
  6. Lakshadweep
  7. National Capital Territory of Delhi
  8. Puducherry


A farmer in northwestern Karnataka ploughs his field with a tractor even as another in a field beyond does the same with a pair of oxen. In 2018, 44% of India’s total workforce was employed in agriculture.[284]
India is the world’s largest producer of milk, with the largest population of cattle. In 2018, nearly 80% of India’s milk was sourced from small farms with herd size between one and two, the milk harvested by hand milking.[286]
Women tend to a recently planted rice field in Junagadh district in Gujarat. 57% of India’s female workforce was employed in agriculture in 2018.[285]

According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Indian economy in 2019 was nominally worth $2.9 trillion; it is the fifth-largest economy by market exchange rates, and is around $11 trillion, the third-largest by purchasing power parity (PPP).[19] With its average annual GDP growth rate of 5.8% over the past two decades, and reaching 6.1% during 2011–2012,[287] India is one of the world’s fastest-growing economies.[288] However, the country ranks 139th in the world in nominal GDP per capita and 118th in GDP per capita at PPP.[289] Until 1991, all Indian governments followed protectionist policies that were influenced by socialist economics. Widespread state intervention and regulation largely walled the economy off from the outside world. An acute balance of payments crisis in 1991 forced the nation to liberalise its economy;[290] since then it has moved slowly towards a free-market system[291][292] by emphasising both foreign trade and direct investment inflows.[293] India has been a member of WTO since 1 January 1995.[294]

The 513.7-million-worker Indian labour force is the world’s second-largest, as of 2016.[275] The service sector makes up 55.6% of GDP, the industrial sector 26.3% and the agricultural sector 18.1%. India’s foreign exchange remittances of US$70 billion in 2014, the largest in the world, were contributed to its economy by 25 million Indians working in foreign countries.[295] Major agricultural products include: rice, wheat, oilseed, cotton, jute, tea, sugarcane, and potatoes.[249] Major industries include: textiles, telecommunications, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, food processing, steel, transport equipment, cement, mining, petroleum, machinery, and software.[249] In 2006, the share of external trade in India’s GDP stood at 24%, up from 6% in 1985.[291] In 2008, India’s share of world trade was 1.68%;[296] In 2011, India was the world’s tenth-largest importer and the nineteenth-largest exporter.[297] Major exports include: petroleum products, textile goods, jewellery, software, engineering goods, chemicals, and manufactured leather goods.[249] Major imports include: crude oil, machinery, gems, fertiliser, and chemicals.[249] Between 2001 and 2011, the contribution of petrochemical and engineering goods to total exports grew from 14% to 42%.[298] India was the world’s second largest textile exporter after China in the 2013 calendar year.[299]

Averaging an economic growth rate of 7.5% for several years prior to 2007,[291] India has more than doubled its hourly wage rates during the first decade of the 21st century.[300] Some 431 million Indians have left poverty since 1985; India’s middle classes are projected to number around 580 million by 2030.[301] Though ranking 51st in global competitiveness, as of 2010, India ranks 17th in financial market sophistication, 24th in the banking sector, 44th in business sophistication, and 39th in innovation, ahead of several advanced economies.[302] With seven of the world’s top 15 information technology outsourcing companies based in India, as of 2009, the country is viewed as the second-most favourable outsourcing destination after the United States.[303] India’s consumer market, the world’s eleventh-largest, is expected to become fifth-largest by 2030.[301] Increasing access to electricity and clean cooking have been the priorities for energy in India:[304] the country’s coal is a major cause of greenhouse gas emissions by India but the country’s renewable energy is competing strongly.[305]

Driven by growth, India’s nominal GDP per capita increased steadily from US$329 in 1991, when economic liberalisation began, to US$1,265 in 2010, to an estimated US$1,723 in 2016. It is expected to grow to US$2,191 by 2021.[306] However, it has remained lower than those of other Asian developing countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Thailand, and is expected to remain so in the near future.


A tea garden in Sikkim. India, the world’s second largest-producer of tea, is a nation of one billion tea drinkers, who consume 70% of India’s tea output.

India’s telecommunication industry is the second-largest in the world with over 1.2 billion subscribers. It contributes 6.5% to India’s GDP. [311] After the third quarter of 2017, India surpassed the US to become the second largest smartphone market in the world after China.[312]

The Indian automotive industry, the world’s second-fastest growing, increased domestic sales by 26% during 2009–2010,[313] and exports by 36% during 2008–2009.[314] India’s capacity to generate electrical power is 300 gigawatts, of which 42 gigawatts is renewable.[315] At the end of 2011, the Indian IT industry employed 2.8 million professionals, generated revenues close to US$100 billion equalling 7.5% of Indian GDP, and contributed 26% of India’s merchandise exports.[316]

The pharmaceutical industry in India is among the significant emerging markets for the global pharmaceutical industry. The Indian pharmaceutical market is expected to reach $48.5 billion by 2020. India’s R & D spending constitutes 60% of the biopharmaceutical industry.[317][318] India is among the top 12 biotech destinations in the world.[319][320] The Indian biotech industry grew by 15.1% in 2012–2013, increasing its revenues from ₹204.4 billion (Indian rupees) to ₹235.24 billion (US$3.94 billion at June 2013 exchange rates).[321]