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India is a large country in Asia. The country is more than 80 times the size of the Netherlands and has more than 1.3 billion inhabitants. The capital is New Delhi, the largest city is Mumbai.
According to ABBREVIATIONFINDER, India is located in southern Asia and is considered a subcontinent due to its size. The country is a large peninsula in the Indian Ocean. India borders Pakistan, China, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar and Bangladesh. Sri Lanka and the Maldives are also a short distance from the south coast. India also includes the Andaman and Nicobar Islands which form an archipelago between Myanmar and Indonesia. The country measures a maximum of 3,000 kilometers from north to south and 2,700 kilometers from west to east.
India has border disputes with some neighboring countries, most famously the situation in Kashmir, which is disputed with Pakistan. India controls the southern part of this, the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Pakistan controls the northern part of this. In addition, there are border disputes with China in the Himalayas. Although mostly remote and inaccessible high mountains, China also claims the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh. Famous but not disputed is the complex border situation on the northern side of Bangladesh, where there are many enclaves and exclaves.
The country has a varied landscape. The Himalayas are the highest mountain range in the world in the north of India. The 8,586 meter high Kangchenjunga is the highest point in India and the third highest mountain in the world. The Himalayas only cover a small part of India. South of the Himalayas lies the vast valley of the Ganges, a densely populated region. The valley of the Brahmaputra connects to it on the eastern side. The Ganges-Brahmaputra forms a large river delta, which lies largely in Bangladesh, but also partly in India.
In western India lies the Thar Desert, a fairly flat desert on the border with Pakistan, southwest of Delhi. In particular, the states of Rajasthan and Gujarat make up the Thar Desert. Central India is dominated by the Deccan Plateau, with mountain ranges on its edge. The Deccan Plateau covers a large part of India and is usually located at an altitude of 300 to 1,000 meters. In the southwest of India is a somewhat higher mountain range, with the 2,694 meter high Anamudi as the highest point. Plains of variable latitude can be found along the east and west coasts.
India is divided into 29 states and 7 territories, so-called Union Territories. The states vary in size, but most are larger than the Netherlands. In the northeast of India are the so-called Seven Sister States, a collection of small states that are connected to the rest of India through a close connection between Bangladesh and Nepal. The smallest state is Goa, the largest state is Rajasthan. Uttar Pradesh is the most populous state with 200 million inhabitants. Frequently abbreviated as UP, it is also the most populous subdivision in the world.
The 7 Union Territories are much smaller than most states, Lakshadweep is a collection of islands west of India with a combined area of only 32 km². Delhi, Chandigarh and Puducherry are cities that form their own Union Territory. The largest Union Territory in area are the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
Shortly after independence, especially in 1956, but also afterwards, the administrative division of India changed significantly, whereby the borders of states were changed, states were abolished and new states were created. Bombay State was divided into several states between 1956 and 1960, it originally had an area of almost 500,000 km².
Several states have a name that ends in ‘Pradesh’. Pradesh (प्रदेश) means ‘state’ or ‘region’. For example, Arunachal Pradesh means sunrise land, as it is the easternmost state of India. Himachal Pradesh means ‘snow land’, from which the name Himalaya is derived. Uttar Pradesh means ‘northern state’, although today it is no longer the northernmost part of India.
India is the sixth largest economy in the world and is also one of the fastest growing economies in the world. However, the GDP per capita is low, the size of the economy is mainly due to the high population of India, not the prosperity of the country. The largest economic sector is the service sector, India is known worldwide as a center of information technology outsourcing. The knowledge of English in India in combination with the low wage costs plays the most important role in this. The country also has a large government, Indian Railways is the largest employer in India with 1.4 million employees and is also one of the largest employers in the world. The Indian army is also an important employer.
The country also has a large industrial sector with a lot of manufacturing industry. The large domestic market also creates a large industrial sector, such as the automotive and transport sectors. Agriculture still plays an important role in the Indian economy, contributing just under a fifth of India’s GDP. The Indian film industry is also well-known, especially Bollywood, but other regions also have a sizeable film industry.
Problems in India are poverty, poor health care, corruption and tax collection. A large proportion of Indians pay no income tax. Moreover, there are major differences in the level of prosperity between the countryside, the slums and the more expensive districts of large cities. There is a growing middle class in India, but a significant proportion of the population lives in poverty or on very low incomes.
India has approximately 1.3 billion inhabitants and will overtake China as the country with the largest population. See India population density. India is a diverse country with more than 2,000 ethnic groups and hundreds of languages and numerous religions. The country is therefore considered to be one of the most diverse in the world. India is densely populated, with large megacities and a densely populated countryside. India is significantly more populous than China. While western China is very sparsely populated, India has no large regions with a low population density, only the Thar Desert in the border area with Pakistan is a larger region with a low population density.
The official language of the Government of India will be Hindi in the Devanagari script under the Constitution. In practice, English and Hindi are used side by side as the lingua franca in India. No official national language has been established. The number of languages in India is estimated to be over 150, although some sources claim over 1,000 languages depending on what is defined as a language or dialect. 29 languages have more than 1 million speakers. The largest native languages are Hindi (422 million), Bengali (83 million), Telugu (74 million), Marathi (72 million), Tamil (61 million) and Urdu (52 million).
In India it is common to know several languages. English is spoken as a mother tongue by only a fraction of the population, but it is the second largest second language of the population. In total, about 125 million Indians speak English as a second or third language.
The country has 54 cities with more than 1 million inhabitants. In addition, there are many suburbs surrounding the major cities that turn into densely populated countryside, making it difficult to define the boundaries of an urban or metropolitan area. The state of Uttar Pradesh has an average population density of 820 inhabitants per km², which is higher than many urban regions in North America.
In India, in the 3rd millennium BC, one of the first civilizations in the world emerged, the so-called Indus Valley Civilization that encompassed northwestern India and parts of Pakistan. Several great kingdoms have held power in India. In the Middle Ages, different religions came to India. The Mughal Empire in the 17th century caused India to develop more. India and India had great attraction for Europe, the discovery of the Americas was actually a result of the search for a western route from Europe to India and India. From the mid-18th century, the region came under British rule (the British Raj), but there were also Portuguese and Dutch colonies. During British rule, the region was developed with the construction of infrastructure such as railways, channels and telegraph lines. In the late 1800s, the people of India began to strive for self-government and eventually independence. More than 1 million Indians fought during the First World War. During World War II, the Indians fought alongside the British in Southeast Asia, North Africa and Western Europe.
In 1947, the British Raj was divided into two parts, India and Pakistan. The division into the two countries resulted in tense relations between the two new states. In 1971 Bangladesh seceded from Pakistan, sparking a war in both western and eastern India. The war lasted only 13 days, but more than 10,000 people were killed. It caused large population movements from Pakistan and Bangladesh to India. Both India and Pakistan developed nuclear weapons, and incidents are still frequent, especially in Kashmir. In addition, relations between India and China have cooled with some regularity. In 1998, India passed the 1 billion population mark.