The Republic of India (Hindi भारत गणराज्य Bhārata Gaṇarājya; see also other names), commonly known as India, is a sovereign country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second most populous country, and the most populous liberal democracy in the world. India, bounded by the Indian Ocean on the south, the Arabian Sea on the west, and the Bay of Bengal on the east, has a coastline of over 7000 kilometres.
It borders Pakistan to the west; China, Nepal, and Bhutan to the north-east; and Bangladesh and Myanmar to the east. In the Indian Ocean, India is in the vicinity of Sri Lanka, Maldives and Indonesia. Home to the Indus Valley civilization and a region of historic trade routes and vast empires, the Indian subcontinent was identified with its commercial and cultural wealth for much of its long history. Four major world religions, Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism originated here, while Islam, Christianity, Judaism and Zoroastrianism arrived in the first millennium CE and shaped the region’s variegated culture. Gradually annexed by the British East India Company from the early eighteenth century and colonised by Great Britain from the mid-nineteenth century, India became a modern nation-state in 1947 after a struggle for independence that was marked by widespread use of nonviolent resistance as a means of social protest. With the world’s 12th largest economy by exchange rates and the 4th largest in purchasing power, India has made rapid economic progress in the last decade. Although the country’s standard of living is projected to rise sharply in the next half-century, it currently battles high levels of poverty, illiteracy, persistent malnutrition, and environmental degradation. A pluralistic, multi-lingual, multi-ethnic society, India is also home to a diversity of wildlife in a variety of protected habitats.