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India A Snapshot

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India at a Glance

June, 2011

India – aptly described as a country with unity in diversity – has been known for its rich cultural heritage and historic events. The country saw the rise and fall of the Aryans, the Mauryan Empire, the Gupta dynasty and the Mughals before the British empire flourished here. Attainment of independence in 1947 provided wings to the country and eventually it made its presence felt on the world canvas. Where on one hand India is known for its old ayurvedic science and invention of ‘zero’, it has the second largest railway and road networks in the world on the other. It is increasingly becoming a hub for foreign investments because of its vast pool of natural resources, talented work force and cost efficient environment.

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 per cent

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