Map of India Republic of India
National name: Bharat
President: Pratibha Patil (2007)
Prime Minister: Manmohan Singh (2004)
Current government officials
Land area: 1,147,949 sq mi (2,973,190 sq km); total area: 1,269,338 sq mi (3,287,590 sq km)
Population (2007 est.): 1,129,866,154 (growth rate: 1.6%); birth rate: 22.7/1000; infant mortality rate: 34.6/1000; life expectancy: 68.6; density per sq mi: 984
Capital (2003 est.): New Delhi, 15,334,000 (metro. area), 9,817,439 (city proper)
Largest cities: Bombay (Mumbai), 18,336,000 (metro. area), 11,914,398 (city proper); Calcutta (Kolkata), 14,299,000 (metro. area), 4,760,800 (city proper); Bangalore, 4,461,100; Madras (Chennai), 4,382,100; Ahmedabad, 3,653,700; Hyderabad, 3,585,600; Kanpur, 2,631,800
Monetary unit: Rupee
Principal languages: Hindi 30%, English, Bengali, Gujarati, Kashmiri, Malayalam, Marathi, Oriya, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu, Kannada, Assamese, Sanskrit, Sindhi (all official); Hindi/Urdu; 1,600+ dialects
Ethnicity/race: Indo-Aryan 72%, Dravidian 25%, Mongoloid and other 3% (2000)
Religions: Hindu 81%, Islam 13%, Christian 2%, Sikh 2% (2001)
Literacy rate: 60% (2003 est.)
Economic summary: GDP/PPP (2005 est.): $3.699 trillion; per capita $3,400. Real growth rate: 7.6%. Inflation: 4.6%. Unemployment: 9.9%. Arable land: 54%. Agriculture: rice, wheat, oilseed, cotton, jute, tea, sugarcane, potatoes; cattle, water buffalo, sheep, goats, poultry; fish. Labor force: 496.4 million; agriculture 60%, services 23%, industry 17% (1999). Industries: textiles, chemicals, food processing, steel, transportation equipment, cement, mining, petroleum, machinery, software. Natural resources: coal (fourth-largest reserves in the world), iron ore, manganese, mica, bauxite, titanium ore, chromite, natural gas, diamonds, petroleum, limestone, arable land. Exports: $76.23 billion f.o.b. (2005 est.): textile goods, gems and jewelry, engineering goods, chemicals, leather manufactures. Imports: $113.1 billion f.o.b. (2005 est.): crude oil, machinery, gems, fertilizer, chemicals. Major trading partners: U.S., UAE, China, Hong Kong, UK, Singapore, Switzerland, Belgium (2004).
Member of Commonwealth of Nations
Communications: Telephones: main lines in use: 48.917 million (2003); mobile cellular: 26,154,400 (2003). Radio broadcast stations: AM 153, FM 91, shortwave 68 (1998). Television broadcast stations: 562 (of which 82 stations have 1 kW or greater power and 480 stations have less than 1 kW of power) (1997). Internet hosts: 86,871 (2003). Internet users: 18.481 million (2003).
Transportation: Railways: total: 63,230 km (16,693 km electrified) (2004). Highways: total: 2,525,989 km; paved: 1,448,655 km; unpaved: ,077,334 km (1999). Waterways: 14,500 km; note: 5,200 km on major rivers and 485 km on canals suitable for mechanized vessels (2004). Ports and harbors: Chennai, Haldia, Jawaharal Nehru, Kandla, Kolkata (Calcutta), Mumbai (Bombay), New Mangalore, Vishakhapatnam. Airports: 333 (2004 est.).
One-third the area of the United States, the Republic of India occupies most of the subcontinent of India in southern Asia. It borders on China in the northeast. Other neighbors are Pakistan on the west, Nepal and Bhutan on the north, and Burma and Bangladesh on the east.
The country can be divided into three distinct geographic regions: the Himalayan region in the north, which contains some of the highest mountains in the world, the Gangetic Plain, and the plateau region in the south and central part. Its three great river systems—the Ganges, the Indus, and the Brahmaputra—have extensive deltas and all rise in the Himalayas.
Government Federal republic.
One of the earliest civilizations, the Indus Valley civilization flourished on the Indian subcontinent from c. 2600 B.C. to c. 2000 B.C. It is generally accepted that the Aryans entered India c. 1500 B.C. from the northwest, finding a land that was already home to an advanced civilization. They introduced Sanskrit and the Vedic religion, a forerunner of Hinduism. Buddhism was founded in the 6th century B.C. and was spread throughout northern India, most notably by one of the great ancient kings of the Mauryan dynasty, Asoka (c. 269–232 B.C.), who also unified most of the Indian subcontinent for the first time.
In 1526, Muslim invaders founded the great Mogul Empire, centered on Delhi, which lasted, at least in name, until 1857. Akbar the Great (1542–1605) strengthened and consolidated this empire. The long reign of his great-grandson, Aurangzeb (1618–1707), represents both the greatest extent of the Mogul Empire and the beginning of its decay.
Vasco da Gama, the Portuguese explorer, landed in India in 1498, and for the next 100 years the Portuguese had a virtual monopoly on trade with the subcontinent. Meanwhile, the English founded the East India Company, which set up its first factory at Surat in 1612 and began expanding its influence, fighting the Indian rulers and the French, Dutch, and Portuguese traders simultaneously.
Bombay, taken from the Portuguese, became the seat of English rule in 1687. The defeat of French and Mogul armies by Lord Clive in 1757 laid the foundation of the British Empire in India. The East India Company continued to suppress native uprisings and extend British rule until 1858, when the administration of India was formally transferred to the British Crown following the Sepoy Mutiny of native troops in 1857–1858...
In one of the most dramatic political upsets in modern Indian history, the Indian National Congress Party, led by Sonia Gandhi, prevailed in parliamentary elections in May 2004, prompting Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee to resign. Although the country prospered economically under Vajpayee's rule, a substantial number of India's poor felt they had not benefitted from India's economic growth. Sonia Gandhi, the Italian-born widow of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, dealt a further shock to the country when she refused to become prime minister. The BJP had vociferously protested Gandhi's expected elevation to prime minister because of her foreign birth. The Congress Party instead chose former finance minister Manmohan Singh, who became India's first Sikh prime minister...
Pratibha Patil, of the governing Congress party, was elected president in July 2007, becoming the country's first woman to hold the post. She defeated Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, of the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party. See also Encyclopedia: India. U.S. State Dept. Country Notes: India Registrar General (Census Information) www.censusindia.net/ ; Department of Statistics (General Statistics) http://mospi.nic.in/ . Infoplease.com