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India A Snapshot

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India at a Glance

September, 2010


Capital: New Delhi

Located in South Asia, India is the seventh largest, and the second most populous country in the world. Home to the Indus Valley civilisation and known for its historic trade routes and vast empires, India is recognised for its commercial and cultural wealth. It is the centre of amalgamation of many religions and ethnicities which have shaped the country's diverse culture. Colonised by the United Kingdom from early eighteenth century, India became a modern nation state in 1947, after a struggle for independence that was remarkable for its largely non-violent resistance and is the most populous democracy in the world today.

Location: South Asia, bordering the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal, between Mynamar and Pakistan.

Geographic Coordinates: 20 00 N, 77 00 E

Border Countries: Afghanistan and Pakistan to the north-west; China, Bhutan and Nepal to the north; Myanmar to the east; and Bangladesh to the east of West Bengal. Sri Lanka is separated from India by a narrow channel of sea, formed by Palk Strait and the Gulf of Mannar.

Coastline: 7,516.6 km encompassing the mainland, Lakshadweep Islands, and the Andaman & Nicobar Islands

Climate: Mainly tropical in southern India but temperatures in the north range from sub-zero degrees to 50 degrees celsius. There are well-defined seasons in the northern region: winter (Dec - Feb), Spring (Mar - Apr), Summer (May - Jun), Monsoons (Jul - Sep) and Autumn (Oct - Nov).

Area: total: 3,287,263 sq km

Land: 2,973,193 sq km

Water: 314,070 sq km

Natural Resources: coal (fourth largest reserves in the world), iron ore, manganese, mica, bauxite, titanium ore, chromite, natural gas, diamonds, petroleum, limestone, arable land.

Land Use: arable land: 48.83 percent

Irrigated Land: 60.2 million hectares (2005-06)

Political Profile

Political System and Government:

The 1950 Constitution provides for a parliamentary system of Government with a bicameral parliament and three independent branches: the executive, the legislature and the judiciary. The country has a federal structure with elected governments in States.

Administrative Divisions: 28 States and 7 Union Territories

Constitution: The Constitution of India came into force on 26th January 1950