Area: 3,287,782 sq km
Officially the Republic of India, republic S Asia. The second most populous country in the world, it is also sometimes called Bharat, its ancient name. India's land frontier stretches from the Arabian Sea on the west to the Bay of Bengal on the east and touches Pakistan; China, Nepal, and Bhutan; Bangladesh, which forms an enclave in the northeast; and Myanmar. New Delhi is India's capital and Bombay (Mumbai) its largest city.
People and Culture
India is the world's second most populous nation (after China). Its ethnic composition is complex, but two major strains predominate: the Aryan, in the north, and the Dravidian, in the south. India is a land of great cultural diversity, as is evidenced by the enormous number of different languages spoken throughout the country. Although Hindi (spoken in the north) and English (the language of politics and commerce) are used officially, more than 1,500 languages and dialects are spoken. The Indian constitution recognizes 15 regional languages (Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Malayalam, Marathi, Oriya, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, and Urdu). Ten of the major states of India are generally organized along linguistic lines.
India has an economy ranked tenth in the world in terms of currency conversion (GNP), and fourth largest in terms of PPP.It recorded one of the fastest growth rate (8.1%) for the fourth quarter of 2005. India's per-capita income (by purchasing power parity) is US$ 3,200, ranked 125th according to the World Bank. India's foreign exchange reserves amount to over US$ 145 billion. Mumbai is the nation's financial capital, and is also home to the headquarters of both the Reserve Bank of India and the pre-eminent Bombay Stock Exchange. While a quarter of Indians still live below the poverty line, a large middle class has now emerged along with the rapid growth of the IT and service industries.
The Indian economy has shed much of its historical dependence on agriculture, which now contributes about 21% to the GDP. Other important industries are mining, petroleum, diamond polishing, films, textiles, IT and business process outsourcing (BPO) services, pharmaceuticals and chemicals and handicrafts. Most of India's industrial regions are centered around major cities. In recent years, India has emerged as one of the largest players in the software and BPO service industries, with revenues of US$ 17.2 billion in 2004 to 2005. Many small-scale industries provide steady employment to workers in small towns and villages.
India's main exports include agricultural products, textile goods, gems and jewelry, software services, engineering goods, chemicals and leather products, while its main imports are crude oil, machinery, gems, fertilizer, and chemicals. For the year 2004, India's total exports stood at US$ 69.18 billion, while the imports were worth at US $89.33 billion.