India Terrain: upland plain (Deccan Plateau) in south, flat to rolling plain along the Ganges, deserts in west, Himalayas in north;

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

Natural Hazards: droughts; flash floods, as well as widespread and destructive flooding from monsoonal rains; severe thunderstorms; earthquakes

volcanism: Barren Island (elev. 354 m) in the Andaman Sea has been active in recent years;

Population: 1,220,800,359 (July 2013 est.)


India Profile: Interesting Facts and Figures

BackgroundThe Indus Valley civilization, one of the world’s oldest, flourished during the 3rd and 2nd millennia B.C. and extended into northwestern India. Aryan tribes from the northwest infiltrated the Indian subcontinent about 1500 B.C.; their merger with the earlier Dravidian inhabitants created the classical Indian culture. The Maurya Empire of the 4th and 3rd centuries B.C. – which reached its zenith under ASHOKA – united much of South Asia. The Golden Age ushered in by the Gupta dynasty (4th to 6th centuries A.D.) saw a flowering of Indian science, art, and culture. Islam spread across the subcontinent over a period of 700 years. In the 10th and 11th centuries, Turks and Afghans invaded India and established the Delhi Sultanate. In the early 16th century, the Emperor BABUR established the Mughal Dynasty which ruled India for more than three centuries. European explorers began establishing footholds in India during the 16th century. By the 19th century, Great Britain had become the dominant political power on the subcontinent. The British Indian Army played a vital role in both World Wars. Years of nonviolent resistance to British rule, led by Mohandas GANDHI and Jawaharlal NEHRU, eventually resulted in Indian independence, which was granted in 1947. Large-scale communal violence took place before and after the subcontinent partition into two separate states – India and Pakistan. The neighboring nations have fought three wars since independence, the last of which was in 1971 and resulted in East Pakistan becoming the separate nation of Bangladesh. India’s nuclear weapons tests in 1998 emboldened Pakistan to conduct its own tests that same year. In November 2008, terrorists originating from Pakistan conducted a series of coordinated attacks in Mumbai, India’s financial capital. Despite pressing problems such as significant overpopulation, environmental degradation, extensive poverty, and widespread corruption, economic growth following the launch of economic reforms in 1991 and a massive youthful population are driving India’s emergence as a regional and global power.


People and Society
Population1,220,800,359 (July 2013 est.)
LanguagesHindi 41%, Bengali 8.1%, Telugu 7.2%, Marathi 7%, Tamil 5.9%, Urdu 5%, Gujarati 4.5%, Kannada 3.7%, Malayalam 3.2%, Oriya 3.2%, Punjabi 2.8%, Assamese 1.3%, Maithili 1.2%, other 5.9%
note: English enjoys the status of subsidiary official language but is the most important language for national, political, and commercial communication; Hindi is the most widely spoken language and primary tongue of 41% of the people; there are 14 other official languages: Bengali, Telugu, Marathi, Tamil, Urdu, Gujarati, Malayalam, Kannada, Oriya, Punjabi, Assamese, Kashmiri, Sindhi, and Sanskrit; Hindustani is a popular variant of Hindi/Urdu spoken widely throughout northern India but is not an official language (2001 census)
ReligionsHindu 80.5%, Muslim 13.4%, Christian 2.3%, Sikh 1.9%, other 1.8%, unspecified 0.1% (2001 census)
Median Agetotal: 26.7 years
male: 26.1 years
female: 27.4 years (2013 est.)
Age Structure0-14 years: 28.9% (male 187,236,677/female 165,219,615)
15-24 years: 18.2% (male 117,385,009/female 104,516,448)
25-54 years: 40.4% (male 253,642,261/female 239,219,931)
55-64 years: 6.9% (male 42,307,170/female 41,785,413)
65 years and over: 5.7% (male 32,992,850/female 36,494,985) (2013 est.)


Government Typefederal republic
Capitalname: New Delhi
geographic coordinates: 28 36 N, 77 12 E
time difference: UTC+5.5 (10.5 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Legal Systemcommon law system based on the English model; separate personal law codes apply to Muslims, Christians, and Hindus; judicial review of legislative acts


LocationSouthern Asia, bordering the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal, between Burma and Pakistan
Area – Comparativeslightly more than one-third the size of the US
Areatotal: 3,287,263 sq km
land: 2,973,193 sq km
water: 314,070 sq km
Climatevaries from tropical monsoon in south to temperate in north
Terrainupland plain (Deccan Plateau) in south, flat to rolling plain along the Ganges, deserts in west, Himalayas in north
Natural Hazardsdroughts; flash floods, as well as widespread and destructive flooding from monsoonal rains; severe thunderstorms; earthquakes
volcanism: Barren Island (elev. 354 m) in the Andaman Sea has been active in recent years
Natural Resourcescoal (fourth-largest reserves in the world), iron ore, manganese, mica, bauxite, rare earth elements, titanium ore, chromite, natural gas, diamonds, petroleum, limestone, arable land


Economy – OverviewIndia is developing into an open-market economy, yet traces of its past autarkic policies remain. Economic liberalization measures, including industrial deregulation, privatization of state-owned enterprises, and reduced controls on foreign trade and investment, began in the early 1990s and have served to accelerate the country’s growth, which averaged under 7% per year since 1997. India’s diverse economy encompasses traditional village farming, modern agriculture, handicrafts, a wide range of modern industries, and a multitude of services. Slightly more than half of the work force is in agriculture, but services are the major source of economic growth, accounting for nearly two-thirds of India’s output, with less than one-third of its labor force. India has capitalized on its large educated English-speaking population to become a major exporter of information technology services, business outsourcing services, and software workers. In 2010, the Indian economy rebounded robustly from the global financial crisis – in large part because of strong domestic demand – and growth exceeded 8% year-on-year in real terms. However, India’s economic growth began slowing in 2011 because of a slowdown in government spending and a decline in investment, caused by investor pessimism about the government’s commitment to further economic reforms and about the global situation. High international crude prices have exacerbated the government’s fuel subsidy expenditures, contributing to a higher fiscal deficit and a worsening current account deficit. In late 2012, the Indian Government announced additional reforms and deficit reduction measures to reverse India’s slowdown, including allowing higher levels of foreign participation in direct investment in the economy. The outlook for India’s medium-term growth is positive due to a young population and corresponding low dependency ratio, healthy savings and investment rates, and increasing integration into the global economy. India has many long-term challenges that it has yet to fully address, including poverty, corruption, violence and discrimination against women and girls, an inefficient power generation and distribution system, ineffective enforcement of intellectual property rights, decades-long civil litigation dockets, inadequate transport and agricultural infrastructure, limited non-agricultural employment opportunities, inadequate availability of quality basic and higher education, and accommodating rural-to-urban migration.
GDP (Official Exchange Rate)$1.817 trillion (2012 est.)
Budgetrevenues: $172.1 billion
expenditures: $263.8 billion (2012 est.)
Current Account Balance$-91.47 billion (2012 est.)
$-62.8 billion (2011 est.)
Imports – Commoditiescrude oil, precious stones, machinery, fertilizer, iron and steel, chemicals
Exports – Commoditiespetroleum products, precious stones, machinery, iron and steel, chemicals, vehicles, apparel


Broadcast MediaDoordarshan, India’s public TV network, operates about 20 national, regional, and local services; a large and increasing number of privately owned TV stations are distributed by cable and satellite service providers; by 2011, more than 100 million homes had access to cable and satellite TV offering more than 700 TV channels; government controls AM radio with All India Radio operating domestic and external networks; news broadcasts via radio are limited to the All India Radio Network; since 2000, privately-owned FM stations have been permitted and their numbers have increased rapidly (2007)
Internet Users61.338 million (2009)
Internet Hosts6.746 million (2012)
Telephones – Mobile Cellular893.862 million (2013)
Telephones – Main Lines in Use31.08 million (2012)


Airports346 (2013)
Heliports45 (2013)
Roadwaystotal: 4,689,842 km
note: includes 79,116 km of national highways and expressways, 155,716 km of state highways, and 4,455,010 km of other roads (2013)
Waterways14,500 km (5,200 km on major rivers and 485 km on canals suitable for mechanized vessels) (2012)
Ports and TerminalsChennai, Jawaharal Nehru Port, Kandla, Kolkata (Calcutta), Mumbai (Bombay), Sikka, Vishakhapatnam
Merchant Marinetotal: 340
by type: bulk carrier 104, cargo 78, chemical tanker 22, container 14, liquefied gas 11, passenger 4, passenger/cargo 15, petroleum tanker 92
foreign-owned: 10 (China 1, Hong Kong 2, Jersey 2, Malaysia 1, UAE 4)
registered in other countries: 76 (Cyprus 4, Dominica 2, Liberia 8, Malta 3, Marshall Islands 10, Nigeria 1, Panama 24, Saint Kitts and Nevis 2, Singapore 21, unknown 1) (2010)


Manpower Fit for Military Servicemales age 16-49: 249,531,562
females age 16-49: 240,039,958 (2010 est.)


Transnational Issues
Disputes – Internationalsince China and India launched a security and foreign policy dialogue in 2005, consolidated discussions related to the dispute over most of their rugged, militarized boundary, regional nuclear proliferation, Indian claims that China transferred missiles to Pakistan, and other matters continue; Kashmir remains the site of the world’s largest and most militarized territorial dispute with portions under the de facto administration of China (Aksai Chin), India (Jammu and Kashmir), and Pakistan (Azad Kashmir and Northern Areas); India and Pakistan resumed bilateral dialogue in February 2011 after a two-year hiatus, have maintained the 2003 cease-fire in Kashmir, and continue to have disputes over water sharing of the Indus River and its tributaries; UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan has maintained a small group of peacekeepers since 1949; India does not recognize Pakistan’s ceding historic Kashmir lands to China in 1964; to defuse tensions and prepare for discussions on a maritime boundary, India and Pakistan seek technical resolution of the disputed boundary in Sir Creek estuary at the mouth of the Rann of Kutch in the Arabian Sea; Pakistani maps continue to show its Junagadh claim in Indian Gujarat State; Prime Minister Singh’s September 2011 visit to Bangladesh resulted in the signing of a Protocol to the 1974 Land Boundary Agreement between India and Bangladesh, which had called for the settlement of longstanding boundary disputes over undemarcated areas and the exchange of territorial enclaves, but which had never been implemented; Bangladesh referred its maritime boundary claims with Burma and India to the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea; Joint Border Committee with Nepal continues to examine contested boundary sections, including the 400 square kilometer dispute over the source of the Kalapani River; India maintains a strict border regime to keep out Maoist insurgents and control illegal cross-border activities from Nepal
Refugees and Internally Displaced Personsrefugees (country of origin): 100,003 (Tibet/China); 67,165 (Sri Lanka); 9,633 (Afghanistan); 7,671 (Burma) (2012)
IDPs: at least 540,000 (about 250,000 are Kashmiri Pandits from Jammu and Kashmir) (2012)