India, officially Republic of India (Hindi Bharat), country in southern Asia, located on the subcontinent of India. It is bounded on the north by Afghanistan, China, Nepal, and Bhutan; on the east by Bangladesh, Myanmar (formerly known as Burma), and the Bay of Bengal; on the south by the Palk Strait and the Gulf of Mannar (which separates it from Sri Lanka) and the Indian Ocean; and on the west by the Arabian Sea and Pakistan. India is divided into 28 states and 7 union territories (including the National Capital Territory of Delhi). New Delhi is the country''s capital.
The world’s seventh largest country in area, India occupies more than 3 million sq km (1 million sq mi), encompassing a varied landscape rich in natural resources. The Indian Peninsula forms a rough triangle framed on the north by the world’s highest mountains, the Himalayas, and on the east, south, and west by oceans. Its topography varies from the barren dunes of the Thar Desert to the dense tropical forests of rain-drenched Assam state. Much of India, however, consists of fertile river plains and high plateaus. Several major rivers, including the Ganges, Brahmaputra, and Indus, flow through India. Arising in the northern mountains and carrying rich alluvial soil to the plains below, these mighty rivers have supported agriculture-based civilizations for thousands of years.
India’s long history stretches back to the Indus Valley civilization of about 2500-1700 bc. For hundreds of years, India was home to massive empires and regional kingdoms. British rule in India began in the ad 1700s. Foreign domination engendered Indian nationalism, which eventually led to India winning its independence in 1947. Split from Pakistan at independence, India struggled with its Muslim neighbor over border differences and Hindu-Muslim relations. India and Pakistan fought two wars over the Jammu and Kashmīr region, and the status of the territory remains in dispute. India’s federal political system, a democracy for more than 50 years, has demonstrated a remarkable resilience in resolving domestic and international crises. India has grown since independence to have great influence on Asia and a massive world presence. The country is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, an association of political entities that once gave or currently give allegiance to the British monarchy.