General information: The Indus Valley civilization, one of the oldest on the planet, dates back at least 5,000 years. The Aryan tribes invaded this territory from the northwest around 1500 BC. BC, their merging with the locals created classical Indian culture. The Arabs who attacked India in the 8th century and the Turks who invaded in the 12th century were replaced in the 15th century. European merchants. By the 19th century Britain established political control over almost the entire territory of India. Non-violent resistance to British colonialism led by Mohandas GANDHI and Jawaharlal NEHRU led to Indian independence in 1947. The subcontinent was divided between the secular state of India and the smaller Muslim state of Pakistan. The third war between these two countries in 1971 ended with the transformation of East Pakistan into an independent state of Bangladesh. India’s major problems are the ongoing dispute with Pakistan over the Kashmir region, severe overpopulation, environmental degradation, widespread poverty and ethnic conflict, but the country has achieved impressive economic achievements.
Location: South Asia, located on the shores of the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal, between Myanmar and Pakistan.
Geographic coordinates: 20° 00′ N. latitude, 77° 00′ E
Reference map: Asia.
Area: total: 3,287,590 km2; land surface area: 2,973,190 km2; water surface area: 314,400 km2
Comparative area: a little over a third of the US.
Land borders: total: 14,103 km; with neighboring states: with Bangladesh 4,053 km, with Bhutan 605 km, with China 3,380 km, with Myanmar 1,463 km, with Nepal 1,690 km, with Pakistan 2,912 km.
Coastline: 7,000 km.
Maritime claims: neutral waters: 24 nautical miles; continental shelf: 200 nautical miles or to the outer limits of the continent; exclusive economic zone: 200 nautical miles; territorial waters: 12 nautical miles.
Climate: varies from tropical monsoon in the south to temperate in the north.
Terrain: elevated plain (Decan Plateau) in the south, turning into a hilly plain stretching along the Ganges; in the west of the desert, in the north of the Himalayas.
Maximum and minimum heights: lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m; highest point: Mount Kanchenjunga 8,598 m.
Natural resources: coal (fourth largest in the world in terms of reserves), iron ore, manganese, mica, bauxite, titanium ore, chromite, natural gas, diamonds, oil, limestone, arable land.
Land use: arable land: 56%; cultivated land: 1%; pastures: 4%; forests and plantations: 23%; others: 16% (1993 est.).
Irrigated land: 535,100 km2 (1995-96 est.).
Natural hazards: frequent droughts, flash floods and severe thunderstorms; earthquakes.
Current environmental issues: deforestation; soil erosion; overgrowth of pastoralism; desertification; air pollution from industrial waste and vehicle emissions; water pollution from waste and agricultural pesticides; tap water not suitable for drinking; a large population and its constant growth, depleting natural resources.
International agreements on environmental protection: party to: Antarctica – Environmental Protection Protocol, Conservation of Marine Life in Antarctica, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Change, Hazardous Waste, Law of the Sea, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Pollution from ships, Tropical Timber 1983, Tropical Timber 1994, Wetlands, Whaling; signed but not ratified: no.
Geography Note: Dominant in the South Asian subcontinent; India is close to important trade routes in the Indian Ocean.
Population: 1,029,991,145 (July 2001 est.).
Age structure: under 14: 33.12% (male 175,630,537; female 165,540,672); 15 to 64 years old: 62.2% (male 331,790,850; female 308,902,864); over 65: 4.68% (male 24,439,022; female 23,687,200) (2001 est.)
Population growth: 1.55% (2001 est.).
Birth rate: 24.28 newborns / 1000 people. (2001 est.).
Mortality: 8.74 deaths / 1000 people. (2001 est.).
Migration: -0.08 people / 1000 people (2001 est.).
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male/female; under 15: 1.06 male/female; 15 to 64 years old: 1.07 male/female; over 65: 1.03 male/female; for the general population: 1.07 male/female (2001 est.);
Child mortality: 63.19 deaths/1000 births (2001).
Life expectancy: for the general population: 62.86 years; men: 62.22 years; women: 63.53 years (2001 est.).
General birth rate: 3.04 children/wives. (2001 est.).
Proportion of adults infected with HIV: 0.7% (1999 est.).
Number of people infected with HIV: 3.7 million (1999 est.).
AIDS deaths: 310,000 (1999 est.).
Nationality: noun: Indian; adjective: Indian.
Ethnic groups: Indo-Aryans 72%, Dravidians 25%, Mongoloids and others 3% (2000).
Believers: Hindus 81.3%, Muslims 12%, Christians 2.3%, Sikhs 1.9%, others, including Buddhists, Jains, Parsis 2.5% (2000).
Languages): English has a limited status, but remains the most important language for state, political and commercial relations, Hindi is the state language and the main language for 30% of the population, other languages: Bengali (official), Telugu (official), Marathi (official), Tamil ( official), Urdu (official), Gujarati (official), Malayalam (official), Kannada (official), Orisi (official), Punjabi (official), Assamese (official), Kashmiri (official), Sindh (official), Sanskrit (official), Hindustani (a folk version of a mixture of Hindi and Urdu, widespread in northern India); note: there are 24 languages, each of which is spoken by 1 million or more people; numerous other languages and dialects are also common,
Literacy: definition: persons aged 15 and over who can read and write; for the general population: 52%; men: 65.5%; women: 37.7% (1995 est.). State Name:
Common long form: Republic of India;
Common short form: India.
State structure: federal republic. See a2zgov.com to know more about India government and politics.
Capital: New Delhi.
Administrative divisions: 28 states and 7 union territories*: Andaman and Nicobar Islands*, Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Goa, Gujarat, Dadra and Nagarha Veli*, Daman and Diu*, Delhi*, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Karnataka, Kerala, Lakshadweep*, Madhya Pradesh, Manipur, Maharashtra, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Orissa, Punjab, Pondicherry*, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Tripura, Uttaranchal, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh*, Chhattisgarh.
Independence: from August 15, 1947 (until 1947 – a British colony).
National holiday: Anniversary of the Proclamation of the Republic, 26 January (1950).
Constitution: adopted January 26, 1950
Legal system: based on English common law; limited judicial review of legislative acts is possible; subject to the compulsory jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice.
Suffrage: from 18 years old; universal.
chief of state: President Kicheril Raman NARAYANAN (since 25 July 1997) Vice President Krishnan KANT (since August 21, 1997);
head of government: Prime Minister Atal Behari VAJPAYEE (since 19 March 1998)
Government: members of the Council of Ministers are appointed by the President on the proposal of the Prime Minister; elections: the president is elected for a five-year term by an electoral college composed of elected members of both houses of parliament and state legislatures; elections last held 14 July 1997 (next to be held in July 2002); the vice president is elected for a five-year term by members of both houses of parliament; elections last held 16 August 1997 (next to be held in August 2002); the prime minister is elected by a parliamentary majority following legislative elections; elections last held in October 1999 (next to be held in October 2004); election results: Kicheril Raman NARAYANAN elected president; percentage of electoral college votes – n/a; Krishnan Kant elected Vice President; percentage of votes of parliamentarians – no data; Atal Behari VAJPAI elected prime minister; percentage of votes – no data.
Legislature: Bicameral Parliament (Sansad) consisting of the Council of States (Rajya Sabha) (a body of no more than 250 members, up to 12 of whom are appointed by the president, the remainder being elected by the elected members of the state and territory legislatures; term of office is 6 years) and the People’s Assembly (Lok Sabha) (545 seats; 543 members are elected by popular vote, 2 are appointed by the president; the term of the chamber is 5 years); elections: People’s Assembly – last held 5 September to 3 October 1999 (next to be held in 2004); election results: People’s Assembly – distribution of votes between parties – BJP coalition 40.8%, Indian National Congress coalition 33.8%, others 25.4%; seats – BJP coalition 304, Indian National Congress coalition 134, others 105.
Judiciary: Supreme Court, judges are appointed by the president and remain in office until the age of 65.
Political parties and leaders: Ol India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) (Jayala-litha JAYARAM [S. Jayalalitha JAYARAM]); All India Progressive Bloc (AIFB) (Prem Dutta PALIWAL, Chairman, Chitta BASU, General Secretary); Asom Gana Parishad (Prafulla Kumar MAHANTA); Bahayan Samai Party (BSP) (Kanshi RAM); Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) (Bangaru LAXMAN, chairman); Biju Janata Dal (BJD) (Navin PATNAIK [Navin PATNAIK]); Communist Party of India (CPI) (Ardhendu Bhushan BARDHAN [Ardhendu Bhushan BARD-HAN]); Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) (CPI/ML) (Vinod MISHRA); Indian National Congress (I) (Sonia GANDHI, Chairman); Dravida Munnetra Kazagam (DMK) (Regional Party of Tamil Nadu) (M. KARUNANIDHI [M. KA-RUNANIDHI]); Indian National League (Su-layman SITE [Suliaman SAIT]); Janata dal (secular) (Deva GOWDA [N. D. Deve GOWDA]); Janata Dal (Joint) (JDU) (Sharad YADAV, Chairman, GUJRAL [I. K. GUJ-RAL]); Congress of Kerala (Mani faction) (MANI [K. M. MANI]); Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK) (VAIKO); Muslim League (BANATWALA [GM BANATWALA]); Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) (Sharad PAWAR); National Democratic Alliance, a coalition of 16 parties including BJP, DMK, Janata Dal(o), SHS, Shiromani Akali Dal, Telugu Desam, BJD, Trina-Mul Congress; Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) (Laloo Prasad YADAV); Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) (Tridip CHOWDHURY); Samaiwadi Party (SP) (Mulayam Singh YADAV), chairman); Shiromani Akali gave (Prakash Singh BADAL [Prakash Singh BADAL]); Shiv Sena (SHS) (Bal THACKERAY); Tamil Maanil Congress (MUPANAR [G. K. MOOPANAR]); Telugu Desam Party (Andhra Pradesh Regional Party) (Chandrababu NAIDU); Trinamule Congress (Mamata BANNERJEE).
Political pressure groups and their leaders: Numerous religious or military chauvinist organizations including Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Bajrangdal and Rashtriya Swayamse-wak Sangh; various separatist groups seeking to expand national and/or regional autonomy.
Participation in international organizations: AfDB, ARF (dialogue partner), AsDB, ASEAN (dialogue partner), BIS, C, CCC, CP, ESCAP, FAO, G-6, G-15, G-19, G-24, G -77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IEA (observer), IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), ISO, ITU, MINURSO, MIPONUH, MONUC, NAM, OAS (observer), OPCW, PCA, SAARC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIFIL, UNIKOM, UNMEE, UNMIBH, UNMIK, UNU, UPU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO.
US Diplomatic Mission: Head of Mission: Ambassador Naresh CHANDRA; office: 2107 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008; note – the embassy is located at 2536 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008; phone:  (202) 939-7000; fax: [\] (202) 483-3972; consulates general: New York, San Francisco, Houston, Chicago.
US Mission: Chief of Mission: Ambassador Richard F. CELESTE; embassy: Shanti Path, Chanakyapuri 110021, New Delhi; postal address: use the address of the embassy; phone:  (11) 688-9033, 611-3033; fax:  (11) 419-0017; consulates general: Kolkata (Calcutta), Mumbai (Bombay), Chennai (Madras).
Flag Description: three identical horizontal stripes of orange (top), white and green with a blue chakra (wheel with 24 spokes) located in the center of the white stripe; the flag is similar to the flag of Niger, with a small orange disc in the center of the white stripe.