India consists geographically of the entire Indian Peninsula and portions of the Asian mainland. The length of India from north to south is 3,050 km (1,900 mi); from east to west it is 2,950 km (1,830 mi). India also has two island chains, each forming its own union territory. The Andaman and Nicobar island chain lies east of the mainland between the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea. Its southernmost island is only 200 km (120 mi) from the northern tip of the Indonesian island of Sumatra. The Lakshadweep island group is located off Indias southwest coast. Excluding the portions of Jammu and Kashmīr claimed by India but occupied by Pakistan or China, India has an area of 3,165,596 sq km (1,222,243 sq mi). India
s land frontier?the length of its border with other countries?measures more than 15,200 km (9,400 mi). It also has 7,000 km (4,300 mi) of coastline, including the island territories, or 5,600 km (3,500 mi) of coastline without the islands.
Indias most important natural resources are land and water. About 54 percent of the land area is arable, and groundwater resources are considerable. The Gangetic Plain is one of India
s most fertile regions. The soils of this region were formed by the alluvial deposits of the Ganges and its tributaries. In this area, as well as in the peninsular deltas, groundwater is plentiful and close to the surface, making year-round irrigation possible. These regions may produce two or three harvests a year. Most of India''s wheat and rice are grown here.
Forests constitute another natural resource for India, with woodlands covering 22 percent of its land area. India''s highly varied climate and land produce diverse forests. The majority are deciduous forests, which are either tropical-dry, experiencing a significant dry season, or tropical-moist, receiving relatively uniform rainfall year-round. The remainder of forests range in type from tropical evergreen to Himalayan temperate and alpine. Major commercial tree species include teak, rosewood, and sal. Bamboo is a widely used construction material.
The mineral resources of India include a vast belt of coal reserves stretching from the eastern part of Maharashtra state through Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand states to West Bengal state. The same geographical area, with the addition of Orissa state, contains major deposits of bauxite. Iron ore is also found here, as well as in the Western Ghats in and around Goa. Other mineral deposits include manganese (found mainly in central India), copper, and chromite. There are significant oil and natural gas reserves in Assam and Gujarāt states, and on the continental shelf off Maharashtra and Gujarat. India also has ample reserves of phosphate rock, apatite, gypsum, limestone, and mica.