The Republic of India, located in the south of Asia, is the second most populated country in the word and is the world's largest democracy with about a billion people and a thousand plus languages. The cradle of one of the world's first civilizations can be located here, the Indus valley.
India used to be a great colonial master herself, in the days of the Mauryas. But this diminished with the fall of the empire and India herself became a colony of the British Empire. India's wealth attracted many invaders, the Muslims, the Dutch, the Portuguese and the British all wanted a piece of the treasures of India.
Nonviolent resistance to British colonialism under Mohandas Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru led to independence in 1947. The subcontinent was divided into the secular state of India and the smaller Muslim state of Pakistan. A third war between the two countries in 1971 resulted in East Pakistan becoming the separate nation of Bangladesh. Fundamental concerns in India include the ongoing dispute with Pakistan over Kashmir, massive overpopulation, environmental degradation, extensive poverty, and ethnic strife, all this despite impressive gains in economic investment and output.
India's economy encompasses traditional village farming, modern agriculture, handicrafts, a wide range of modern industries, and a multitude of support services. More than a third of the population is too poor to be able to afford an adequate diet, and market surveys indicate that fewer than 5% of all households had an annual income equivalent to $2,300 or more in 1995-96. India's international payments position remained strong in 1999 with adequate foreign exchange reserves, reasonably stable exchange rates, and booming exports of software services. Lower production of some non-foodgrain crops offset recovery in industrial production.
From the CIA World Factbook 2000. Not Wikified.
- Transnational Issues