Geographic and Governmental Profile of India

Background
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 onto 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. The British Indian Army played a vital role in both World Wars. Nonviolent resistance to British rule, led by Mohandas GANDHI and Jawaharlal NEHRU, eventually brought about independence in 1947. Communal violence led to the subcontinent's bloody partition, which resulted in the creation of two separate states, India and Pakistan. The two countries have fought three wars since independence, the last of which in 1971 resulted in East Pakistan becoming the separate nation of Bangladesh. India's nuclear weapons tests in 1998 caused 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. In January 2011, India assumed a nonpermanent seat in the UN Security Council for the 2011-12 term. Despite pressing problems such as significant overpopulation, environmental degradation, extensive poverty, and widespread corruption, rapid economic development is fueling India's rise on the world stage.
Location
Southern Asia, bordering the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal, between Burma and Pakistan
Geographic coordinates
20 00 N, 77 00 E
Continent / Subcontinent
Asia
Area
total:
3,287,263 sq km
rank:
7
land:
2,973,193 sq km
water:
314,070 sq km
Area - comparative
slightly more than one-third the size of the US
Land boundaries
total:
14,103 km
border countries:
Bangladesh 4,053 km, Bhutan 605 km, Burma 1,463 km, China 3,380 km, Nepal 1,690 km, Pakistan 2,912 km
Coastline
7,000 km
Maritime claims
territorial sea:
12 nm
contiguous zone:
24 nm
exclusive economic zone:
200 nm
continental shelf:
200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin
Climate
varies from tropical monsoon in south to temperate in north
Terrain
upland plain (Deccan Plateau) in south, flat to rolling plain along the Ganges, deserts in west, Himalayas in north
Elevation extremes
lowest point:
Indian Ocean 0 m
highest point:
Kanchenjunga 8,598 m
Natural resources
coal (fourth-largest reserves in the world), iron ore, manganese, mica, bauxite, rare earth elements, titanium ore, chromite, natural gas, diamonds, petroleum, limestone, arable land
Land use
arable land:
48.83%
permanent crops:
2.8%
other:
48.37% (2005)
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Irrigated land
622,860 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources
1,907.8 cu km (1999)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)
total:
645.84 cu km/yr (8%/5%/86%)
per capita:
585 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards
droughts; flash floods, as well as widespread and destructive flooding from monsoonal rains; severe thunderstorms; earthquakes
volcanism:
Barren Island (elev. 354 m) in the Andaman Sea has been active in recent years
Environment - current issues
deforestation; soil erosion; overgrazing; desertification; air pollution from industrial effluents and vehicle emissions; water pollution from raw sewage and runoff of agricultural pesticides; tap water is not potable throughout the country; huge and growing population is overstraining natural resources
Environment - international agreements
party to:
Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified:
none of the selected agreements
Geography - note
dominates South Asian subcontinent; near important Indian Ocean trade routes; Kanchenjunga, third tallest mountain in the world, lies on the border with Nepal
Country name
conventional long form:
Republic of India
conventional short form:
India
local long form:
Republic of India/Bharatiya Ganarajya
local short form:
India/Bharat
Government type
federal republic
Capital
name:
New Delhi
geographic coordinates:
28 36 N, 77 12 E
time difference:
UTC+5.5 (10.5 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions
28 states and 7 union territories*; Andaman and Nicobar Islands*, Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chandigarh*, Chhattisgarh, Dadra and Nagar Haveli*, Daman and Diu*, Delhi*, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Lakshadweep*, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Odisha, Puducherry*, Punjab, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, West Bengal
although its status is that of a union territory, the official name of Delhi is National Capital Territory of Delhi
Independence
15 August 1947 (from the UK)
Constitution
26 January 1950; amended many times
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
International law organization participation
accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; non-party state to the ICCt
Suffrage
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch
chief of state:
President Pranab MUKHERJEE (since 22 July 2012); Vice President Mohammad Hamid ANSARI (since 11 August 2007)
head of government:
Prime Minister Manmohan SINGH (since 22 May 2004)
cabinet:
Cabinet appointed by the president on the recommendation of the prime minister
elections:
president elected by an electoral college consisting of elected members of both houses of Parliament and the legislatures of the states for a five-year term (no term limits); election last held in July 2012 (next to be held in July 2017); vice president elected by both houses of Parliament for a five-year term; election last held in August 2007 (next to be held in August 2012); prime minister chosen by parliamentary members of the majority party following legislative elections; election last held April - May 2009 (next to be held no later than May 2014)
election results:
Pranab MUKHERJEE elected president; percent of vote - Pranab MUKHERJEE 69.31%, Purno SANGMA - 30.69%
Legislative branch
bicameral Parliament or Sansad consists of the Council of States or Rajya Sabha (a body consisting of 245 seats up to 12 of which are appointed by the president, the remainder are chosen by the elected members of the state and territorial assemblies; members serve six-year terms) and the People's Assembly or Lok Sabha (545 seats; 543 members elected by popular vote, 2 appointed by the president; members serve five-year terms)
elections:
People's Assembly - last held in five phases on 16, 22-23, 30 April and 7, 13 May 2009 (next must be held by May 2014)
election results:
People's Assembly - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - INC 206, BJP 116, SP 23, BSP 21, JD (U) 20, AITC 19, DMK 18, CPI-M 16, BJD 14, SS 11, AIADMK 9, NCP 9, other 61, vacant 2; note - seats by party as of December 2011 - INC 208, BJP 115, SP 22, BSP 21, JD(U) 20, AITC 18, DMK 18, CPI(M) 16, BJD 14, SS 14, AIADMK 9, NCP 9, TDP 6, RLD 5 other 49, vacant 1
Judicial branch
Supreme Court (one chief justice and 25 associate justices are appointed by the president and remain in office until they reach the age of 65 or are removed for "proved misbehavior")
Political parties and leaders
All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam or AIADMK [J. JAYALALITHAA]; All India Trinamool Congress or AITC [Mamata BANERJEE]; Bahujan Samaj Party or BSP [MAYAWATI]; Bharatiya Janata Party or BJP [Nitin GADKARI]; Biju Janata Dal or BJD [Naveen PATNAIK]; Communist Party of India or CPI [A.B. BARDHAN]; Communist Party of India-Marxist or CPI-M [Prakash KARAT]; Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam or DMK [M.KARUNANIDHI]; Indian National Congress or INC [Sonia GANDHI]; Janata Dal (United) or JD(U) [Sharad YADAV]; Nationalist Congress Party or NCP [Sharad PAWAR]; Rashtriya Janata Dal or RJD [Lalu Prasad YADAV]; Rashtriya Lok Dal or RLD [Ajit SINGH]; Samajwadi Party or SP [Mulayam Singh YADAV]; Shiromani Akali Dal or SAD [Parkash Singh BADAL]; Shiv Sena or SS [Bal THACKERAY]; Telugu Desam Party or TDP [Chandrababu NAIDU]; note - India has dozens of national and regional political parties; only parties with four or more seats in the People's Assembly are listed
Political pressure groups and leaders
All Parties Hurriyat Conference in the Kashmir Valley (separatist group); Bajrang Dal (religious organization); India Against Corruption [Anna HAZAREI]; Jamiat Ulema-e Hind (religious organization); Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh [Mohan BHAGWAT] (religious organization); Vishwa Hindu Parishad [Ashok SINGHAL] (religious organization)
other:
numerous religious or militant/chauvinistic organizations; various separatist groups seeking greater communal and/or regional autonomy; hundreds of social reform, anti-corruption, and environmental groups at state and local level
International organization participation
ABEDA, ADB, AfDB (nonregional member), ARF, ASEAN (dialogue partner), BIMSTEC, BIS, BRICS, C, CD, CERN (observer), CICA, CP, EAS, FAO, FATF, G-15, G-20, G-24, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, LAS (observer), MIGA, MONUSCO, NAM, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW, PCA, PIF (partner), SAARC, SACEP, SCO (observer), UN, UNCTAD, UNDOF, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIFIL, UNISFA, UNITAR, UNMISS, UNMIT, UNOCI, UNSC (temporary), UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US
chief of mission:
Ambassador Nirupama RAO
chancery:
2107 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008; note - Consular Wing located at 2536 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone:
[1] (202) 939-7000
FAX:
[1] (202) 265-4351
consulate(s) general:
Chicago, Houston, New York, San Francisco
Diplomatic representation from the US
chief of mission:
Ambassador Nancy J. POWELL
embassy:
Shantipath, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi 110021
mailing address:
use embassy street address
telephone:
[91] (011) 2419-8000
FAX:
[91] (11) 2419-0017
consulate(s) general:
Chennai (Madras), Hyderabad; Kolkata (Calcutta), Mumbai (Bombay)
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
similar to the flag of Niger, which has a small orange disk centered in the white band
National symbol(s)
Bengal tiger
National anthem
name:
"Jana-Gana-Mana" (Thou Art the Ruler of the Minds of All People)
lyrics/music:
Rabindranath TAGORE
adopted 1950; Rabindranath TAGORE, a Nobel laureate, also wrote Bangladesh's national anthem
Data source 1: All Above textual data, maps and flags were extracted from The World Factbook which was prepared by the Central Intelligence Agency and made available on the following link: The World Factbook. Lebanese Economy Forum is not sponsered or affiliated, in any way, by the US Central Intelligence Agency
Data source 2: Plots and Charts are constructed using the world bank public data catalog which can be viewed by visiting the following link: World Bank Data Catalog. Lebanese Economy Forum is not sponsored or affiliated, in any way, by the worldbank

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