The Republic of India is a country that occupies the greater part of the Indian subcontinent. It has a coastline of over seven thousand kilometers (4349 miles) , borders Pakistan to the west, the People's Republic of China, Nepal, and Bhutan to the north, and Bangladesh and Myanmar to the east. In the Indian Ocean, it is adjacent to the island nation of Sri Lanka. India is the seventh-largest country by geographical area and has one of the most diverse populations of wildlife, geographical terrain and climate systems found anywhere in the world.
The name India is derived from the Old Persian version of Sindhu, the historic local appellation for the River Indus. The Constitution of India and common usage also recognise Bha-rat as an official name of equal status. A third name, Hindustan has been used since the twelfth century, though its contemporary use is unevenly applied. Home to one of the four major ancient civilisations, a center of important trade routes and vast empires of the Mauryas, Guptas and the Mughals, India has long played a significant role in human history. Four religions, Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism and Sikhism–all have their origins in India, and Islam and Christianity enjoy a strong cultural heritage. Colonized in the British Empire in the nineteenth century, India gained independence in 1947 as a unified nation after an intensive struggle for independence.
With over one billion people, it is the second most populous country in the world and the world's largest liberal democracy. India has 28 states and 7 territories, and recognizes 22 official languages spoken across its diverse regions, including the official national languages, Hindi, and English, which too is widely spoken. After decades of intensive efforts to combat the widespread poverty, illiteracy and poor living conditions across the country, India's economy is today the fourth-largest in the world in terms of purchasing power parity (PPP) and the tenth-largest in nominal terms. Once reliant heavily on agriculture, India's economy is one of the fastest-growing in the world, and the nation is home to modern businesses and high-technology industries. India became a declared nuclear weapons state in 1974, and today, it is considered a major world power.
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