India

Flag of India

Capital - New Delhi
Area - 3,287,591 sq km
Population - 1,181,412,000
Time zone - GMT +05:30
Currency - Indian Rupee (Re)
Life expectancy - 67 years

Trade

Exports include petroleum products, jewellery, software, textile products, machinery, chemicals and vehicles.

Imports include crude oil, machinery, fertilizer, iron and steel, and chemicals.

GDP per capita (PPP) – $3,700 (in 2011)

Cultural aspects/religion

Religion - India is a secular state and freedom of religion is protected under the Constitution. The main religious groups are Hindus (80.5%), Muslims (13.4%), Christians (2.3%) and Sikhs (1.9%).

Languages - The official language of India is Hindi. Since 1965 English has been recognised as an 'associated language'. In addition there are 18 main and regional languages recognised as official state languages.

Biosphere

Terrain - Upland plains in the south, flat to rolling plains along the Ganges, deserts in the west, Himalayas in the north.

Mountains – The highest point is Kanchenjunga at 8598 m.

Ecology/Wildlife - India is home to tigers, lions, leopards, snow leopards, pythons, wolves, foxes, bears, crocodiles, rhinoceroses camels, wild dogs, monkeys, snakes, antelope species, deer species, varieties of bison and the Asian elephant. The region's rich and diverse wildlife is preserved in 89 national parks, 13 Bio reserves and 400+ wildlife sanctuaries across the country. Since India is home to a number of rare and threatened animal species, wildlife management in the country is essential to preserve these species.

Natural resources – Coal (the fourth-largest reserves in the world), iron ore, manganese, mica, bauxite, rare earth elements, titanium ore, chromites, natural gas, diamonds, petroleum, limestone and arable land.

Natural hazards – Droughts and flash floods, widespread and destructive flooding from monsoonal rains, severe thunderstorms and earthquakes.

Famous personalities

Mohandas Gandhi (non-violent leader of liberation from British rule), Ravi Shankar (musician), M. Night Shyamalan (film director).

Famous Bollywood actors include Amitabh Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai.

Sport

Main sports: field hockey and cricket.

Key athletes: Vijay Kumar won a silver medal in shooting, and Sushil Kumar a silver in wrestling at the 2012 Olympics. Sachin Tendulkar (cricket), Leander Paes and Sania Mirza (tennis).

Key historic events

Nonviolent resistance to British rule, led by Mohandas Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru, eventually brought about independence in 1947. Communal violence led to the subcontinent's bloody partition, which resulted in the creation of two separate states, India and Pakistan.

Connections with Britain

By the 19th century, Great Britain had become the dominant political power on the subcontinent. The rule of the British in India was known as the Raj. The British Indian Army played a vital role in both World Wars.

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