[Country map of India]



Location: Southern Asia, bordering the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal, between Bangladesh and Pakistan

Map references: Asia

total area: 3,287,590 km2
land area: 2,973,190 km2
comparative area: slightly more than one-third the size of the US

Land boundaries: total 14,103 km, Bangladesh 4,053 km, Bhutan 605 km, Burma 1,463 km, China 3,380 km, Nepal 1,690 km, Pakistan 2,912 km

Coastline: 7,000 km

Maritime claims:
contiguous zone: 24 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
territorial sea: 12 nm

International disputes: boundaries with Bangladesh and China; status of Kashmir with Pakistan; water-sharing problems with downstream riparians, Bangladesh over the Ganges and Pakistan over the Indus

Climate: varies from tropical monsoon in south to temperate in north

Terrain: upland plain (Deccan Plateau) in south, flat to rolling plain along the Ganges, deserts in west, Himalayas in north

Natural resources: coal (fourth-largest reserves in the world), iron ore, manganese, mica, bauxite, titanium ore, chromite, natural gas, diamonds, petroleum, limestone

Land use:
arable land: 55%
permanent crops: 1%
meadows and pastures: 4%
forest and woodland: 23%
other: 17%

Irrigated land: 430,390 sq km (1989)

current issues: deforestation; soil erosion; overgrazing; desertification; air pollution from industrial effluents and vehicle emissions; water pollution from raw sewage and runoff of agricultural pesticides; tap water is not potable throughout the country; huge and rapidly growing population is overstraining natural resources
natural hazards: droughts, flash floods, severe thunderstorms common; earthquakes
international agreements: party to - Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber, Wetlands, Whaling; signed, but not ratified - Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Desertification, Law of the Sea

Note: dominates South Asian subcontinent; near important Indian Ocean trade routes


Population: 936,545,814 (July 1995 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 35% (female 159,921,309; male 168,812,255)
15-64 years: 61% (female 274,105,407; male 296,145,798)
65 years and over: 4% (female 18,870,762; male 18,690,283) (July 1995 est.)

Population growth rate: 1.77% (1995 est.)

Birth rate: 27.78 births/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Death rate: 10.07 deaths/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 76.3 deaths/1,000 live births (1995 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 59.04 years
male: 58.5 years
female: 59.61 years (1995 est.)

Total fertility rate: 3.4 children born/woman (1995 est.)

noun: Indian(s)
adjective: Indian

Ethnic divisions: Indo-Aryan 72%, Dravidian 25%, Mongoloid and other 3%

Religions: Hindu 80%, Muslim 14%, Christian 2.4%, Sikh 2%, Buddhist 0.7%, Jains 0.5%, other 0.4%

Languages: English enjoys associate status but is the most important language for national, political, and commercial communication, Hindi the national language and primary tongue of 30% of the people, Bengali (official), Telugu (official), Marathi (official), Tamil (official), Urdu (official), Gujarati (official), Malayalam (official), Kannada (official), Oriya (official), Punjabi (official), Assamese (official), Kashmiri (official), Sindhi (official), Sanskrit (official), Hindustani a popular variant of Hindu/Urdu, is spoken widely throughout northern India
note: 24 languages each spoken by a million or more persons; numerous other languages and dialects, for the most part mutually unintelligible

Literacy: age 7 and over can read and write (1991)
total population: 52%
male: 64%
female: 39%

Labor force: 314.751 million (1990)
by occupation: agriculture 65% (1993 est.)


conventional long form: Republic of India
conventional short form: India

Digraph: IN

Type: federal republic

Capital: New Delhi

Administrative divisions: 25 states and 7 union territories*; Andaman and Nicobar Islands*, Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chandigarh*, Dadra and Nagar Haveli*, Daman and Diu*, Delhi*, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Kerala, Lakshadweep*, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Orissa, Pondicherry*, Punjab, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal

Independence: 15 August 1947 (from UK)

National holiday: Anniversary of the Proclamation of the Republic, 26 January (1950)

Constitution: 26 January 1950

Legal system: based on English common law; limited judicial review of legislative acts; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: President Shankar Dayal SHARMA (since 25 July 1992); Vice President Kicheril Raman NARAYANAN (since 21 August 1992)
head of government: Prime Minister P. V. Narasimha RAO (since 21 June 1991)
cabinet: Council of Ministers; appointed by the president on recommendation of the prime minister

Legislative branch: bicameral Parliament (Sansad)
Council of States (Rajya Sabha): body consisting of not more than 250 members, up to 12 appointed by the president, the remainder chosen by the elected members of the state and territorial assemblies
People's Assembly (Lok Sabha): elections last held 21 May, 12 and 15 June 1991 (next to be held by 1996); results - percent of vote by party NA; seats - (545 total, 543 elected, 2 appointed) Congress (I) Party 245, BJP 119, Janata Dal Party 39, Janata Dal (Ajit Singh) 20, CPI/M 35, CPI 14, Telugu Desam 13, AIADMK 11, Samajwadi Janata Party 5, Shiv Sena 4, RSP 4, BSP 1, Congress (S) Party 1, other 23, vacant 9; note - the distribution of seats as of 18 January 1995 is as follows: Congress (I) Party 260, BJP 117, CPI/M 36, Janata Dal Party 24, Samta Party 14, CPI 14, AIADMK 12, Janata Dal (Ajit) 7, Telugu Desam 7, RSP 4, Janata Dal (Ex-Ajit) 3, Samajwadi Party 3, BSP 3, AIFB 3, Shiv Sena 2, Congress (S) Party 1, Kerala Congress (Mani faction) 1, Bihar Peoples Party 1, India National League 1, other 14, vacant 16

Judicial branch: Supreme Court

Political parties and leaders: Congress (I) Party, P. V. Narasimha RAO, president; Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), L.K. ADVANI; Janata Dal Party, S.R. BOMMAI; Janata Dal (Ajit), Ajit SINGH; Janata Dal (Ex-Ajit), leader NA; Communist Party of India/Marxist (CPI/M), Harkishan Singh SURJEET; Communist Party of India (CPI), Indrajit GUPTA; Telugu Desam (a regional party in Andhra Pradesh), N. T. Rama RAO; All-India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazagham (AIADMK; a regional party in Tamil Nadu), Jayaram JAYALALITHA; Samajwadi Party (SP), Mulayam Singh YADAV (President), Om Prakash CHAUTALA, Devi LAL; Shiv Sena, Bal THACKERAY; Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP), Tridip CHOWDHURY; Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Kanshi RAM; Congress (S) Party, leader NA; Communist Party of India/Marxist-Leninist (CPI/ML), Vinod MISHRA; Dravida Munnetra Kazagham (a regional party in Tamil Nadu), M. KARUNANIDHI; Akali Dal factions representing Sikh religious community in the Punjab; National Conference (NC; a regional party in Jammu and Kashmir), Farooq ABDULLAH; Bihar Peoples Party, Lovely ANAND; Samta Party (formerly Janata Dal members), Natish KUMAR; Indian National League, Suliaman SAIT; Kerala Congress (Mani faction), K.M. MANI; All India Forward Bloc (AIFB), Prem Dutta PALIWAL (Chairman), Chitta BASU (General Secretary)

Other political or pressure groups: various separatist groups seeking greater communal and/or regional autonomy; numerous religious or militant/chauvinistic organizations, including Adam Sena, Ananda Marg, Vishwa Hindu Parishad, and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh


Diplomatic representation in US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Siddhartha Shankar RAY
chancery: 2107 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 939-7000
consulate(s) general: Chicago, New York, and San Francisco

US diplomatic representation:
chief of mission: Ambassador Frank G. WISNER
embassy: Shanti Path, Chanakyapuri 110021, New Delhi
mailing address: use embassy street address
telephone: [91] (11) 600651
FAX: [91] (11) 6872028
consulate(s) general: Bombay, Calcutta, Madras

Flag: three equal horizontal bands of orange (top), white, and green with a blue chakra (24-spoked wheel) centered in the white band; similar to the flag of Niger, which has a small orange disk centered in the white band


Overview: India's economy is a mixture of traditional village farming, modern agriculture, handicrafts, a wide range of modern industries, and a multitude of support services. Faster economic growth in the 1980s permitted a significant increase in real per capita private consumption. A large share of the population, perhaps as much as 40%, remains too poor to afford an adequate diet. Financial strains in 1990 and 1991 prompted government austerity measures that slowed industrial growth but permitted India to meet its international payment obligations without rescheduling its debt. Production, trade, and investment reforms since 1991 have provided new opportunities for Indian businessmen and an estimated 100 million to 200 million middle class consumers. New Delhi has always paid its foreign debts on schedule and has stimulated exports, attracted foreign investment, and revived confidence in India's economic prospects. Foreign exchange reserves, precariously low three years ago, now total more than $19 billion. Positive factors for the remainder of the 1990s are India's strong entrepreneurial class and the central government's recognition of the continuing need for market-oriented approaches to economic development, for example in upgrading the wholly inadequate communications facilities. Negative factors include the desperate poverty of hundreds of millions of Indians and the impact of the huge and expanding population on an already overloaded environment.

National product: GDP - purchasing power parity - $1.2539 trillion (1994 est.)

National product real growth rate: 5% (1994 est.)

National product per capita: $1,360 (1994 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 10% (1994 est.)

Unemployment rate: NA%

revenues: $30.85 billion
expenditures: $48.35 billion, including capital expenditures of $10.5 billion (FY93/94)

Exports: $24.4 billion (f.o.b., 1994 est.)
commodities: clothing, gems and jewelry, engineering goods, chemicals, leather manufactures, cotton yarn, and fabric
partners: US, Japan, Germany, UK, Hong Kong

Imports: $25.5 billion (c.i.f., 1994 est.)
commodities: crude oil and petroleum products, machinery, gems, fertilizer, chemicals
partners: US, Germany, Saudi Arabia, UK, Belgium, Japan

External debt: $89.2 billion (November 1994)

Industrial production: growth rate 7% (1994 est.); accounts for 28% of GDP

capacity: 81,200,000 kW
production: 314 billion kWh
consumption per capita: 324 kWh (1993)

Industries: textiles, chemicals, food processing, steel, transportation equipment, cement, mining, petroleum, machinery

Agriculture: accounts for 34% of GDP; principal crops - rice, wheat, oilseeds, cotton, jute, tea, sugarcane, potatoes; livestock - cattle, buffaloes, sheep, goats, poultry; fish catch of about 3 million metric tons ranks India among the world's top 10 fishing nations

Illicit drugs: licit producer of opium poppy for the pharmaceutical trade, but an undetermined quantity of opium is diverted to illicit international drug markets; major transit country for illicit narcotics produced in neighboring countries; illicit producer of hashish and methaqualone; produced 82 metric tons of illicit opium in 1994

Economic aid:
recipient: US commitments, including Ex-Im (FY70-89), $4.4 billion; Western (non-US) countries, ODA and OOF bilateral commitments (1980-89), $31.7 billion; OPEC bilateral aid (1979-89), $315 million; USSR (1970-89), $11.6 billion; Eastern Europe (1970-89), $105 million

Currency: 1 Indian rupee (Re) = 100 paise

Exchange rates: Indian rupees (Rs) per US$1 - 31.374 (January 1995), 31.374 (1994), 30.493 (1993), 25.918 (1992), 22.742 (1991), 17.504 (1990)

Fiscal year: 1 April - 31 March


total: 62,211 km (6,500 km electrified; 12,617 km double track)
broad gauge: 34,544 km 1.676-m gauge
narrow gauge: 23,599 km 1.000-m gauge; 4,068 km 0.762-m and 0.610-m gauge (1994 est.)

total: 1.97 million km
paved: 960,000 km
unpaved: gravel, crushed stone, earth 1.01 million km (1989)

Inland waterways: 16,180 km; 3,631 km navigable by large vessels

Pipelines: crude oil 3,497 km; petroleum products 1,703 km; natural gas 902 km (1989)

Ports: Bombay, Calcutta, Cochin, Haldia, Kandla, Madras, Mormugao, New Mangalore, Pondicherry, Port Blair (Andaman Islands), Tuticorin, Vishakhapatnam

Merchant marine:
total: 299 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 6,288,902 GRT/10,454,178 DWT
ships by type: bulk 114, cargo 78, chemical tanker 9, combination bulk 2, combination ore/oil 5, container 10, liquefied gas tanker 6, oil tanker 68, passenger-cargo 5, roll-on/roll-off cargo 1, short-sea passenger 1

total: 352
with paved runways over 3,047 m: 11
with paved runways 2,438 to 3,047 m: 48
with paved runways 1,524 to 2,437 m: 85
with paved runways 914 to 1,523 m: 72
with paved runways under 914 m: 81
with unpaved runways 2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
with unpaved runways 1,524 to 2,438 m: 7
with unpaved runways 914 to 1,523 m: 46


Telephone system: NA telephones; 5 telephones/1,000 persons; domestic telephone system is poor; long-distance telephoning has been improved by a domestic satellite system which also carries TV
local: NA
intercity: NA
international: 3 INTELSAT (Indian Ocean) earth stations and submarine cables to Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates

broadcast stations: AM 96, FM 4, shortwave 0
radios: NA

broadcast stations: 274 (government controlled)
televisions: NA

Defense Forces

Branches: Army, Navy, Air Force, various security or paramilitary forces (includes Border Security Force, Assam Rifles, and Coast Guard)

Manpower availability: males age 15-49 253,134,487; males fit for military service 148,814,104; males reach military age (17) annually 9,461,907 (1995 est.)

Defense expenditures: exchange rate conversion - $7.8 billion, 2.8% of GDP (FY94/95)