Welcome to India
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India is a sovereign country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country
by geographical area, the second most populous country, and the most populous
democracy in the world. Bounded by the Indian Ocean on the south, the Arabian
Sea on the west, and the Bay of Bengal on the east, India has a coastline
of over 7000 kilometers. It borders Pakistan to the west; China, Nepal, and
Bhutan to the north-east; and Bangladesh and Myanmar to the east. In the Indian
Ocean, India is in the vicinity of Sri Lanka, Maldives, and Indonesia. Home
to the Indus Valley civilization and a region of historic trade routes and
vast empires, the Indian subcontinent was identified with its commercial and
cultural wealth for much of its long history. Four major world religions,
Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism originated here, while Islam, Christianity,
Judaism and Zoroastrianism arrived in the first millennium CE and shaped the
region's variegated culture. Gradually annexed by the British East India Company
from the early eighteenth century and colonized by the United Kingdom from
the mid-nineteenth century, India became a modern nation-state in 1947 after
a struggle for independence that was marked by widespread use of nonviolent
resistance as a means of social protest. India is the world's 4th largest
economy in terms of purchasing power and the 12th largest economy at market
exchange rates. As India continues to make rapid economic progress, the country's
standard of living is projected to rise sharply in the next half-century.
A pluralistic, multi-lingual, and multi-ethnic society, India is also home
to a diversity of wildlife in a variety of protected habitats. The country
can be divided into three distinct geographic regions: the Himalayan region
in the north, which contains some of the highest mountains in the world, the
Gangetic Plain, and the plateau region in the south and central part. Its
three great river systems, the Ganges, the Indus, and the Brahmaputra have
extensive deltas and all rise in the Himalayas.
The climate of India comprises a wide range of weather conditions across
a large geographic scale and varied topography, making generalisations difficult.
Analysed according to the Köppen system, India hosts six major climatic
subtypes, ranging from desert in the west, to alpine tundra and glaciers in
the north, to humid tropical regions supporting rainforests in the southwest
and the island territories. Many regions have starkly different microclimates.
The nation has four seasons: winter (January and February), summer (March
to May), a monsoon (rainy) season (June to September), and a post-monsoon
period (October to December). As in much of the tropics, monsoonal and other
weather conditions in India are unstable: major droughts, floods, cyclones
and other natural disasters are sporadic, but have killed or displaced millions.
India's long-term climatic stability is further threatened by global warming.
Climatic diversity in India makes the analysis of these issues complex.
Population (2007 est.): 1,129,866,154 (growth rate: 1.6%);
birth rate: 22.7/1000;
infant mortality rate: 34.6/1000;
life expectancy: 68.6;
density per sq mi: 984