The Republic of India, located in the south of Asia and comprising most of the Indian subcontinent, is the second most populous country in the world and is the world's largest democracy with over one billion people and more than one hundred distinct languages.
The Indian economy is the fourth-largest in the world, in terms of purchasing power parity.
The name India is derived from Sindhu, the local name for the river Indus.
The country is called Bharat (pronounced as bhaarat; after the wise and pious King Bharata of ancient times) among Indians.
India borders Bangladesh, Myanmar, China, Bhutan, Nepal and Pakistan on land, with Sri Lanka and the Maldives just across the Indian mainland in the Indian Ocean.
National motto: "Satyameva Jayate" (Sanskrit: Truth Alone Triumphs)
Official language; Hindi (+17 other nat. lang.)
Capital; New Delhi
Largest City; Mumbai (Bombay)
President; APJ Abdul Kalam
Prime Minister; Atal Behari Vajpayee
Area; 3,287,590 km²
Independence; - Date From the British Empire August 15, 1947
Currency; Indian Rupee (INR)
Time zone; UTC +5.30
National anthem; Jana-Gana-Mana
National song; Vande Mataram
National game; Hockey? Cricket
Internet TLD; .IN
Phone Calling Code; 91
The Indus Valley civilisation (also called the Sindhu-Sarasvati Tradition) is one of the oldest cultural traditions in the world, that goes back to at least 3000 BC.
The rock art tradition of India has been traced to 40000 BC in the art in Bhimbetaka in Central India and other sites.
According to the Aryan invasion theory, Aryan tribes from the northwest of India invaded about 1500 BC, and their merger with the earlier inhabitants created the classical Vedic culture.
Arab incursions starting in the 8th century and Turkic in the 12th were followed by incursions by European traders beginning in the late 15th century.
It is noteworthy that the above-mentioned Aryan Invasion Theory is now being widely challenged with the use of modern & scientific tools such as satellite imagery from NASA.
Events mentioned in the Vedic texts have been astronomically calculated to date back to the 5th millennium BC.
By subjugating the Mughal empire in the 19th century, the British Empire had assumed political control of virtually all Indian lands.
Mostly non-violent resistance to British colonialism under Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru led to independence in 1947.
The subcontinent was divided into the secular state of India and the smaller Muslim state of Pakistan.
Pakistan occupied two non-contiguous areas, and a civil war between West and East Pakistan in 1971, in which India eventually intervened, resulted in the sedition of East Pakistan to form the separate nation of Bangladesh.
Fundamental concerns in India include the ongoing dispute with Pakistan over Kashmir, massive overpopulation, environmental degradation, extensive poverty, and ethnic and religious strife, all this despite impressive gains in economic investment and output.