The Indus Valley civilization, one of the world's oldest, flourished during the 3rd and 2nd millennia B.C. and extended into northwestern India. Aryan tribes from the northwest infiltrated the Indian subcontinent about 1500 B.C.; their merger with the earlier Dravidian inhabitants created the classical Indian culture. The Maurya Empire of the 4th and 3rd centuries B.C. - which reached its zenith under ASHOKA - united much of South Asia. The Golden Age ushered in by the Gupta dynasty (4th to 6th centuries A.D.) saw a flowering of Indian science, art, and culture. Islam spread across the subcontinent over a period of 700 years. In the 10th and 11th centuries, Turks and Afghans invaded India and established the Delhi Sultanate. In the early 16th century, the Emperor BABUR established the Mughal Dynasty, which ruled India for more than three centuries. European explorers began establishing footholds in India during the 16th century. By the 19th century, Great Britain had become the dominant political power on the subcontinent and India was seen as the "Jewel in the Crown" of the British Empire. The British Indian Army played a vital role in both World Wars. Years of nonviolent resistance to British rule, led by Mohandas GANDHI and Jawaharlal NEHRU, eventually resulted in Indian independence in 1947. Large-scale communal violence took place before and after the subcontinent partition into two separate states - India and Pakistan. The neighboring countries have fought three wars since independence, the last of which was in 1971 and resulted in East Pakistan becoming the separate nation of Bangladesh. India's nuclear weapons tests in 1998 emboldened Pakistan to conduct its own tests that same year. In November 2008, terrorists originating from Pakistan conducted a series of coordinated attacks in Mumbai, India's financial capital. India's economic growth following the launch of economic reforms in 1991, a massive youthful population, and a strategic geographic location have contributed to India's emergence as a regional and global power. However, India still faces pressing problems such as environmental degradation, extensive poverty, and widespread corruption, and its restrictive business climate is dampening economic growth expectations.



20.0° N, 77. 0° E
Southern Asia, bordering the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal, between Burma and Pakistan


3,287,263 sq km
2,973,193 sq km
314,070 sq km

land boundaries

13,888 km


7,000 km


varies from tropical monsoon in south to temperate in north


upland plain (Deccan Plateau) in south, flat to rolling plain along the Ganges, deserts in west, Himalayas in north


160 m
lowest point
Indian Ocean
0 m
highest point
8,586 m

natural resources

  • coal
  • antimony
  • iron ore
  • lead
  • manganese
  • mica
  • bauxite
  • rare earth elements
  • titanium ore
  • chromite
  • natural gas
  • diamonds
  • petroleum
  • limestone
  • arable land

land use

arable land
52.8 %
permanent crops
4.2 %
permanent pasture
3.5 %
23.1 %
16.4 %

population distribution

with the notable exception of the deserts in the northwest, including the Thar Desert, and the mountain fringe in the north, a very high population density exists throughout most of the country; the core of the population is in the north along the banks of the Ganges, with other river valleys and southern coastal areas also having large population concentrations



  • 1,326,093,247
  • 2
    global rank


  • Indian(s)
  • Indian

ethnic groups

72 %
25 %
Mongoloid and other
3 %


  • Hindi
  • Bengali
  • Marathi
  • Telugu
  • Tamil
  • Gujarati
  • Urdu
  • Kannada
  • Odia
  • Malayalam
  • Punjabi
  • Assamese
  • Maithili
  • other


79.8 %
14.2 %
2.3 %
1.7 %
other and unspecified
2 %

birth rate

  • 18.2
    per 1,000 population
  • 87
    global rank

death rate

  • 7.3
    per 1,000 population
  • 113
    global rank

urban population

34.9 %

major urban areas

  • New Delhi
    pop. 30,291,000
  • Mumbai
    pop. 20,411,000
  • Kolkata
    pop. 14,850,000
  • Bangalore
    pop. 1,237,000
  • Chennai
    pop. 10,971,000
  • Hyderabad
    pop. 10,004,000

life expectancy

  • 69.7
    total population
  • 167
    global rank

adult obesity rate

  • 3.9%
    percent of adults
  • 189
    global rank


country name


  • Republic of India
    long form
  • India
    short form


  • Republic of India/Bharatiya Ganarajya
    long form
  • India/Bharat
    short form

government type

federal parliamentary republic


New Delhi
28.36 N, 77.12 E


national holidays

  • Republic Day
    26 January

legal system

common law system based on the English model; separate personal law codes apply to Muslims, Christians, and Hindus; judicial review of legislative acts; note - in late 2019 the Government of India began discussions to overhaul its penal code, which dates to the British colonial period

age of suffrage


flag description

three equal horizontal bands of saffron (subdued orange) (top), white, and green, with a blue chakra (24-spoked wheel) centered in the white band; saffron represents courage, sacrifice, and the spirit of renunciation; white signifies purity and truth; green stands for faith and fertility; the blue chakra symbolizes the wheel of life in movement and death in stagnation

national colors

  • saffron
  • white
  • green

national anthem

"Jana-Gana-Mana" (Thou Art the Ruler of the Minds of All People)



India's diverse economy encompasses traditional village farming, modern agriculture, handicrafts, a wide range of modern industries, and a multitude of services. Slightly less than half of the workforce is in agriculture, but services are the major source of economic growth, accounting for nearly two-thirds of India's output but employing less than one-third of its labor force. India has capitalized on its large educated English-speaking population to become a major exporter of information technology services, business outsourcing services, and software workers. Nevertheless, per capita income remains below the world average. India is developing into an open-market economy, yet traces of its past autarkic policies remain. Economic liberalization measures, including industrial deregulation, privatization of state-owned enterprises, and reduced controls on foreign trade and investment, began in the early 1990s and served to accelerate the country's growth, which averaged nearly 7% per year from 1997 to 2017. India's economic growth slowed in 2011 because of a decline in investment caused by high interest rates, rising inflation, and investor pessimism about the government's commitment to further economic reforms and about slow world growth. Investors’ perceptions of India improved in early 2014, due to a reduction of the current account deficit and expectations of post-election economic reform, resulting in a surge of inbound capital flows and stabilization of the rupee. Growth rebounded in 2014 through 2016. Despite a high growth rate compared to the rest of the world, India’s government-owned banks faced mounting bad debt, resulting in low credit growth. Rising macroeconomic imbalances in India and improving economic conditions in Western countries led investors to shift capital away from India, prompting a sharp depreciation of the rupee through 2016. The economy slowed again in 2017, due to shocks of "demonetizaton" in 2016 and introduction of GST in 2017. Since the election, the government has passed an important goods and services tax bill and raised foreign direct investment caps in some sectors, but most economic reforms have focused on administrative and governance changes, largely because the ruling party remains a minority in India’s upper house of Parliament, which must approve most bills. India has a young population and corresponding low dependency ratio, healthy savings and investment rates, and is increasing integration into the global economy. However, long-term challenges remain significant, including: India's discrimination against women and girls, an inefficient power generation and distribution system, ineffective enforcement of intellectual property rights, decades-long civil litigation dockets, inadequate transport and agricultural infrastructure, limited non-agricultural employment opportunities, high spending and poorly targeted subsidies, inadequate availability of quality basic and higher education, and accommodating rural-to-urban migration.


9,474,000,000,000 USD

agriculture products

  • rice
  • wheat
  • oilseed
  • cotton
  • jute
  • tea
  • sugarcane
  • lentils
  • onions
  • potatoes
  • dairy products
  • sheep
  • goats
  • poultry
  • fish

poverty level



  • 238,200,000,000
    revenue (USD)
  • 329,000,000,000
    expenditures (USD)



    fixed lines

  • 21,868,192
    total subscriptions
  • 11
    global rank

    mobile cellular

  • 1,176,021,869
    total subscriptions
  • 2
    global rank

broadcast media

Doordarshan, India's public TV network, has a monopoly on terrestrial broadcasting and operates about 20 national, regional, and local services; a large and increasing number of privately owned TV stations are distributed by cable and satellite service providers; in 2015, more than 230 million homes had access to cable and satellite TV offering more than 700 TV channels; government controls AM radio with All India Radio operating domestic and external networks; news broadcasts via radio are limited to the All India Radio Network; since 2000, privately owned FM stations have been permitted and their numbers have increased rapidly


country code


  • 446,759,327
  • 34.45
    % of population
  • 2
    global rank


electricity access



air transport

    national system

  • 20
    registered air carriers
  • 98,927,860
    annual passenger traffic


  • 346
  • 253


68,525 km
total length


4,699,024 km
total length


14,500 km
total length



expenditures here

service age