About India - Basic Facts & Information
India is located in South Asia and is the second largest country in the world with 1.1 Billion people.
India is one of the world's fastest growing countries. It has seen exceptionally high economic growth rates for many years and is now the world's 12th largest economy.
India is a democracy that came into being on 26 January 1950. That date is now celebrated nationwide as Republic Day each year. Previously, India was a British colony.
Politically, India is divided into 28 states and 7 union territories of varying sizes and populations. Some of the better known states include West Bengal, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Punjab. India is governed by a parliamentary system of government and conducts elections regularly.
India is a large country (3.3 M km2) and has many geographic regions ranging from intensely tropical areas along the coasts to coniferous forests in the Himalayan regions. The presence of the Himalayas greatly influence the weather patterns in the country, including the great monsoons that sweep across India each year.
India shares borders with two very important neighbors, China and Pakistan, as many smaller countries, including Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, and Myanmar.
Ethnically, India is a very diverse country with several large ethnic groups and many, many smaller ones. Hindi is the official language of the country and is the most widely spoken language, but there are many other languages spoken, too, including English (particularly in business), Marathi, Bengali, and Gujurati, among others.
About 80% of the population is Hindu and about 14% are Muslims. There are also sizable communities of Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, and Jains, among other groups.
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