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Background:  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. 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 a



Southern Asia, bordering the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal, between Burma and Pakistan


Geographic coordinates:


20 00 N, 77 00 E

Map references:






total: 3,287,263 sq km

country comparison to the world: 7

land: 2,973,193 sq km

water: 314,070 sq km

Area - comparative:

slightly more than one-third the size of the US

Land boundaries:

total: 14,103 km

border countries: Bangladesh 4,053 km, Bhutan 605 km, Burma 1,463 km, China 3,380 km, Nepal 1,690 km, Pakistan 2,912 km


7,000 km

Maritime claims:

territorial sea: 12 nm

contiguous zone: 24 nm

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm

continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin


varies from tropical monsoon in south to temperate in north


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

Elevation extremes:

lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m

highest point: Kanchenjunga 8,598 m

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

Land use:

arable land: 47.87%

permanent crops: 3.74%

other: 48.39% (2011)

Irrigated land:

663,340 sq km (2008)

Total renewable water resources:

1,911 cu km (2011)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):

total: 761 cu km/yr (7%/2%/90%)

per capita: 613 cu m/yr (2010)

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

Environment - current issues:

deforestation; soil erosion; overgrazing; desertification; air pollution from industrial effluents and vehicle emissions; water pollution from raw sewage and runoff of agricultural pesticides; tap water is not potable throughout the country; huge and growing population is overstraining natural resources

Environment - international agreements:

party to: Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography - note:

dominates South Asian subcontinent; near important Indian Ocean trade routes; Kanchenjunga, third tallest mountain in the world, lies on the border with Nepal

nd global power.

People and Society ::India


noun: Indian(s)

adjective: Indian

Ethnic groups:

Indo-Aryan 72%, Dravidian 25%, Mongoloid and other 3% (2000)


Hindi 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)


Hindu 80.5%, Muslim 13.4%, Christian 2.3%, Sikh 1.9%, other 1.8%, unspecified 0.1% (2001 census)


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

country comparison to the world: 2

Age structure:

0-14 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.)

population pyramid:

Median age:

total: 26.7 years

male: 26.1 years

female: 27.4 years (2013 est.)

Population growth rate:

1.28% (2013 est.)

country comparison to the world: 90

Birth rate:

20.24 births/1,000 population (2013 est.)

country comparison to the world: 86

Death rate:

7.39 deaths/1,000 population (2013 est.)

country comparison to the world: 117

Net migration rate:

-0.05 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2013 est.)

country comparison to the world: 111


urban population: 30% of total population (2010)

rate of urbanization: 2.4% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major cities - population:

NEW DELHI (capital) 21.72 million; Mumbai 19.695 million; Kolkata 15.294 million; Chennai 7.416 million; Bangalore 7.079 million (2009)

Sex ratio:

at birth: 1.12 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.13 male(s)/female

15-24 years: 1.12 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 1.06 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 1.01 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.91 male(s)/female

total population: 1.08 male(s)/female (2013 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 67.48 years

country comparison to the world: 163

male: 66.38 years

female: 68.7 years (2013 est.)

Total fertility rate:

2.55 children born/woman (2013 est.)

country comparison to the world: 81

Health expenditures:

4.1% of GDP (2010)

country comparison to the world: 164

Physicians density:

0.6 physicians/1,000 population (2005)

Hospital bed density:

0.9 beds/1,000 population (2005)

Drinking water source:


urban: 97% of population

rural: 90% of population

total: 92% of population


urban: 3% of population

rural: 10% of population

total: 8% of population (2010 est.)

Education expenditures:

3.3% of GDP (2010)

country comparison to the world: 131


definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 61%

male: 73.4%

female: 47.8% (2001 census)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24:

total: 10.2%

country comparison to the world: 106

male: 9.8%

female: 11.5% (2010)

Government ::India


Country name:

conventional long form: Republic of India

conventional short form: India

local long form: Republic of India/Bharatiya Ganarajya

local short form: India/Bharat

Government type:

federal republic


name: 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)

Administrative divisions:

28 states and 7 union territories*; Andaman and Nicobar Islands*, Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chandigarh*, Chhattisgarh, Dadra and Nagar Haveli*, Daman and Diu*, Delhi*, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Lakshadweep*, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Odisha, Puducherry*, Punjab, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, West Bengal

note: although its status is that of a union territory, the official name of Delhi is National Capital Territory of Delhi



15 August 1947 (from the UK)

National holiday:

Republic Day, 26 January (1950)


26 January 1950; amended many times

Legal system:

common law system based on the English model; separate personal law codes apply to Muslims, Christians, and Hindus; judicial review of legislative acts

International law organization participation:

accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; non-party state to the ICCt


18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:

chief of state: President Pranab MUKHERJEE (since 22 July 2012); Vice President Mohammad Hamid ANSARI (since 11 August 2007)

head of government: Prime Minister Manmohan SINGH (since 22 May 2004)

cabinet: Union Council of Ministers appointed by the president on the recommendation of the prime minister

(For more information visit the World Leaders website )

elections: president elected by an electoral college consisting of elected members of both houses of Parliament and the legislatures of the states for a five-year term (no term limits); election last held in July 2012 (next to be held in July 2017); vice president elected by both houses of Parliament for a five-year term; election last held in August 2012 (next to be held in August 2017); prime minister chosen by parliamentary members of the majority party following legislative elections; election last held April - May 2009 (next to be held no later than May 2014)

election results: Pranab MUKHERJEE elected president; percent of vote - Pranab MUKHERJEE 69.31%, Purno SANGMA - 30.69%

Legislative branch:

bicameral Parliament or Sansad consists of the Council of States or Rajya Sabha (a body consisting of 245 seats up to 12 of which are appointed by the president, the remainder chosen in staggered elections by the elected members of the state and territorial assemblies; members serve six-year terms) and the People`s Assembly or Lok Sabha (545 seats; 543 members elected by popular vote, 2 appointed by the president; members serve five-year terms)

elections: People`s Assembly - last held in five phases on 16, 22-23, 30 April and 7, 13 May 2009 (next must be held by May 2014)

election results: People`s Assembly - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - INC 206, BJP 116, SP 23, BSP 21, JD(U) 20, TMC 19, DMK 18, CPI(M) 16, BJD 14, SS 11, AIADMK 9, NCP 9, TDP 6, RLD 5, CPI 4, RJD 4, SAD 4, independent 9, other 29, vacant 2; note - seats by party (as of February 2013) - INC 204, BJP 115, SP 22, BSP 21, JD(U) 20, AITC 19, DMK 18, CPI(M) 16, BJD 14, SS 11, AIADMK 9, NCP 9, TDP 6, RLD 5, CPI 4, RJD 4, SAD 4, independents 9, other 31, nominated (INC) 2, vacant 2

Judicial branch:

Supreme Court (one chief justice and 25 associate justices are appointed by the president and remain in office until they reach the age of 65 or are removed for "proved misbehavior")

Flag description:

three equal horizontal bands of saffron (subdued orange) (top), white, and green, with a blue chakra (24-spoked wheel) centered in the white band; saffron represents courage, sacrifice, and the spirit of renunciation; white signifies purity and truth; green stands for faith and fertility; the blue chakra symbolizes the wheel of life in movement and death in stagnation

note: similar to the flag of Niger, which has a small orange disk centered in the white band

National symbol(s):

the Lion Capital of Ashoka, which depicts four Asiatic lions standing back to back mounted on a circular abacus, is the official emblem; the Bengal tiger is the national animal

National anthem:

name: "Jana-Gana-Mana" (Thou Art the Ruler of the Minds of All People)