India

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Geographic Map of India

The Republic of India is the second most populous country in the world, with a population of more than one billion. It is situated in South Asia and is the seventh largest country by geographical area. The Indian subcontinent was home to most of the Indus Valley Civilization and it has given birth to four major world religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism. Sikhism is the youngest of these religions and the founder of Sikhi, Guru Nanak was born in Punjab which formed part of old pre-colonial India. Punjab, a northern state of India is where the majority of Sikhs live; an estimated 21 million Sikhs are to be found in this state.

Before gaining independence in 1947, also referred to as the partition, India included present-day Pakistan and Bangladesh and all of Jammu & Kashmir. The Mughals called their Indian Kingdom, Hindustan (Land of the Hindus), but before Muslim rule, India was known as 'Bharat', a term still used by many of its citizens; the British of course called it British India, etc.

India's population and its strategic importance have grown significantly in importance in the last two decades. Indian's economy is the fourth largest in the world with respect to gross domestic product, measured in terms of purchasing power parity, and is one of the fastest growing economies in the world. As the world's largest liberal democracy, India has also emerged as an important regional power, possessing one of the world's largest military forces with a declared nuclear weapons capability. India also with its Chandrayaan Mission reached the moon, With worldwide economic downturn notwithstanding, India has plans to put men into space as well. It is one of the world's leaders in numbers of satellites, of various types, orbiting the earth.

India constitutes most of the Indian subcontinent, and straddles many important and historic trade routes. It shares its borders with Pakistan and Bangladesh (both once part of India), the People's Republic of China, Myanmar, Nepal, Bhutan, and Afghanistan. The country was a part of the British Empire .

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