India (Hindi: भारत Bharat; see also other languages), officially the Republic of India (Hindi: भारतीय गणराज्य Bharatiya Ganarajya), is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh largest country by geographical area, the second most populous country, and the largest democracy in the world. Bounded by the Indian Ocean on the south, the Arabian Sea on the west, and the Bay of Bengal on the east, India has a coastline of 7,517 kilometers (4,671 mi). It borders Pakistan to the west; China, Nepal, and Bhutan to the north-east; and Bangladesh and Burma to the east. The disputed Northern Areas of Jammu and Kashmir claimed by India and currently administered by Pakistan shares a small border with Afghanistan to the extreme northwest. Sri Lanka, Maldives, and Indonesia are in India’s vicinity in Indian Ocean.
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 Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam arrived in the first millennium CE and shaped the region’s diverse culture. Gradually annexed by the British East India Company from the early eighteenth century and colonised by the United Kingdom from the mid-nineteenth century, India became a modern nation state in 1947 after a struggle for independence that was marked by widespread nonviolent resistance.
India is the world’s twelfth largest economy at market exchange rates and the third largest in purchasing power. Economic reforms have transformed it into the second fastest growing large economy; however, it still suffers from high levels of poverty, illiteracy, and malnutrition. As a pluralistic, multilingual, and multiethnic society, India is also home to a diversity of wildlife in a variety of protected habitats.