India is usually called the world's largest
democracy, with over one billion inhabitants. The
country, which is rather a whole continent, is teeming
with different cultures, languages and religions.
Here, modern mega-cities with age-old villages are
crowded, and a world-leading IT industry has developed
in a country still characterized by an ancient caste
system. India is in conflict with neighboring Pakistan
over the area of Kashmir. Both countries have nuclear
Brief profiles of India, including geography, history, politics, economics as well as common acronyms about this country.
Geography and climate
India (Bharat in Hindi) is one of the world's
largest surface countries, with three geographical areas
and two climate zones. In many parts of the country,
heavy monsoon rains each year cause severe flooding that
sometimes affects millions of people.
India is more than seven times the size of Sweden.
From north to south the distance is about 320 miles;
from west to east it is about 300 km.
India borders on the north to Tibet (now an
autonomous region of China), Nepal and Bhutan, on the
east to Bangladesh and Myanmar (Burma), and on the west
and northwest to Pakistan. Off the southwestern and
southeastern coasts are the island states of the
Maldives and Sri Lanka. The border with Pakistan goes
partly through the disputed area of Kashmir, where a
1949 standstill line (some changes were made in 1971)
has come to form an actual border. The border with
China, at Arunachal Pradesh in northeastern India, is
To the west of the Indian Peninsula lies the Arabian
Sea, to the east of the Bay of Bengal. Both are parts of
the Indian Ocean and meet at the southern tip of India,
Cape Komorin (Kanniyakumari). The west coast of India is
called the Malabar Coast, the East Coast of the
Koromandel Coast. India includes the Lakhadiver Islands
in the Arabian Sea and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands
in the Bay of Bengal. The latter two, like India's east
coast (southern Tamil Nadu), were hit hard in the
tsunami disaster of Christmas 2004; a total of about
15,000 people are estimated to have perished in these
Himalayas, Hindustan and Deccan
Geographically, India can be divided into three
areas: the Himalayan mountain ranges in the north (hima
= snow; laya = dwelling), the north Indian plain
immediately south of the Himalayas and the plateau of
the actual Indian peninsula to the south. As a special
part one can count the coastal areas. About 60 percent
of India's land is used for cultivation. The rest is
made up of forest, desert, urban areas, pasture and land
in the woods.
The Himalayas consist of parallel mountain ranges and
between them are fertile valleys, such as the Kashmir
valley. The plains south of it consist largely of clay
plains, which are pierced by a dense network of rivers
and canals and swamped by bamboo groves. Here are
India's most fertile agricultural areas, irrigated by
the country's most powerful rivers - Indus (which, for
the most part, flows through neighboring Pakistan),
Ganges, Brahmaputra and their tributaries. These parts
of India are also usually called Hindustan: here the
population speaks mainly Hindi and related languages. At
the far west of the state of Rajastan lies the sparsely
populated Thar desert and the large salt marsh Rann of
The plateau country in the south, Deccan, consists
largely of a soft, hilly landscape with shrub and
savanna vegetation. The Deccan Plateau is dominated by
highlands and slopes slowly towards the east, which
means that most of the area's rivers flow east towards
the Bay of Bengal. The Deccan is bounded by the eastern
and western Ghats. These two meet in the south, where
the Nilgiri and Cardamumm mountains rise. The state of
Kerala at the bottom of the southwest is a fertile
tropical area whose coastal lands are intersected by
canals. The coasts of India are generally shallow with
few natural ports.
India has a rich animal and plant life. The Indian
elephant, which is recognized to have smaller ears than
the African one, is scattered across the country. The
Indians catch wild elephants and tame them into working
animals. Especially in the south, it is also common for
the Hindu temples to have their own elephant, which is
adorned at ceremonies and celebrations and which is
dressed to receive money gifts from temple visitors.
Despite extensive efforts to save the endangered
Bengali tiger more than halved, India's tiger population
in the first decade of the 21st century. Subsequently,
an improvement has taken place. In an inventory in 2019,
it was estimated that there were 2,967 wild tigers in
India, which is 70 percent of all tigers in the world
and around 30 percent more tigers than in the 2014
inventory when the number of individuals was estimated
at 2,226. India inventory its tiger population every
five years. Professional poaching (mainly for the
Chinese market) and increasing pressure on forests where
the tigers live from a growing population still make the
future uncertain for the tigers.
There are more than 200 types of snakes, of which a
quarter are poison worms, including the world's largest:
king cobra. There are an incredible amount of birds. The
peacock originates from India and is its national bird,
just as the tiger is its national animal.
The banyan tree has gained an important place in
Indian mythology. Its branches form new roots from which
new stems and branches then grow. A banyan tree can thus
be extensive and because it also becomes very old it is
considered immortal. The banyan tree is often a
gathering point for the people in the villages.
The mango tree is the Hindu sacred tree. In addition
to the good fruit, its leaves are also used, among other
things, for decoration at holidays. You make boats and
furniture from the wood. The beautiful lotus flower is
considered India's national flower. It is considered
sacred and around it revolves around many religious
stories and myths. The lotus is also the Hindu
nationalist BJP's symbol.
The Cancer tropic runs across northern India and is
an approximate border between two climate zones: a
smaller, temperate in the north and a larger, tropical
in the south. In the north, the temperature switches
between about 15 degrees in January and 30-40 degrees in
May. In the south, the differences are small, where the
average temperature is 26-35 degrees year-round.
Southern India has a pronounced monsoon climate.
After a dry and hot spring (April – May), the humid
southwest monsoon usually blows during the summer (June
– September), when heavy rain falls mainly on the
western and southern slopes of the mountains. Deccan's
inland, on the other hand, lies in the rain shadow. If
the monsoon here, like the North Indian plain, becomes
weak for a year, it easily leads to catastrophic
drought. However, on the east coast, rainfall also falls
during winter (October – December).
In spring, when the monsoon turns, and especially in
the fall, tropical cyclones often occur on the coasts.
Every year, many, sometimes millions, of Indians in
especially the northeastern part of the country, on the
west coast, in the eastern states of Orissa and Bihar,
and in northern Uttar Pradesh, are affected when monsoon
rains with heavy rainfall cause severe flooding and
landslides. Kashmir has also suffered extensive flooding
as a result of heavy monsoon rains.
While in northern India, in recent decades, generally
more severe rainfall, the drought has increased in
Deccan with water shortages and lowered groundwater
levels as a result. Many analysts believe that this is
due to climate change, but undoubtedly an extensive
logging also plays a big role.
About our sources
FACTS - GEOGRAPHY AND CLIMATE
3 288 000 km2 (2018)
Swedish + 4.5 hours
Adjacent country (s)
Pakistan, China (Tibet), Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar
(formerly Burma), Bangladesh
Capital with number of inhabitants
New Delhi 142,000 (Census 2011) 1
Other major cities
Mumbai (Mumbai) 12.5 million (with suburbs), Delhi 11
million, Bangalore 8.4 million, Hyderabad 6.8 million,
Ahmedabad 5.6 million, Madras (Chennai) 4.7 million,
Calcutta (Kolkata) 4, 5 million (census 2011)
Kanchenjunga (8,598 m asl)
Ganges, Brahmaputra, Indus
Average Precipitation / month
New Delhi 180mm (July), 4mm (Nov); Mattress 309 mm
(Nov), 7 mm (Feb)
Average / day
New Delhi 35 °C (June), 14 °C (Jan); Mattress 33 °C
(May), 25 °C (Jan)
- New Delhi is a district in the metropolis of
Delhi but is traditionally considered as the capital
Anti-corruption activist criticizes new bill
Anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare is also critical of the new tougher
anti-corruption bill (see September 2011). He demands that it be
amended to allow an examination of India's highest anti-corruption authority.
Hazare threatens to launch a campaign of civil disobedience if he is not heard
for his demands.
Trials begin in the telecom scandal
Trials are initiated in Delhi against persons charged with, among other
things, bribery in connection with the sale of mobile licenses in 2008 (see also
November 2010 and July 2011). The deal is considered India's
biggest corruption scandal ever and is estimated to have cost the Indians nearly
$ 40 billion in lost revenue, which corresponds to the country's annual defense
budget. Among the defendants is the former Minister of Telecommunications and
several high ranking people in the Government Offices and Business. The
dismissed telecommunications minister is being prosecuted for, for example,
forgery, bribery and abuse of power.
Lifetime convictions for the rattles in Gujarat 2002
Thirty-three people, mostly Hindus, are sentenced to life imprisonment for
murder, attempted murder, arson, riots and other crimes directed against Muslims
during the riots in Gujarat in 2002 (see Modern History and March 2011).
Strike with demands for new state
In the Telangana region of the state of Andhra Pradesh, around 800,000 public
servants strike for the region to become its own state. The strike lasts for
several weeks and causes schools to be closed, public communications stand still
and a number of electricity outages occur. A large part of Telangana's
population wants the region to break out of Andhra Pradesh, while the current
state government is divided.
Many dead in blast in Delhi
At least 14 people are killed and nearly 80 injured when an explosive charge
detonates outside a Delhi court. A number of people with connections to an
internet cafe in Indian Kashmir are arrested. A government official says the
deed has probably been planned in India.
Protests and hunger strike against corruption
Around 1,500 people are arrested around the country in connection with mass
protests against the corruption. The demonstrations are held after the Mahatma
Gandhi-inspired activist Anna Hazare was arrested during her anti-corruption
campaign. The demonstrations are taking place at the same time as a bill on
combating corruption is being considered in Parliament. Hazare and the other
protesters consider the proposal too watered down. Hazare leaves the jail after
a few days and continues the hunger strike he initiated there in a park in
Delhi; Thousands of followers gather in the park. When Hazare's hunger strike
for twelve days, Parliament decides to tighten the bill and with this promise
Hazare ends its hunger strike.
Indian mujahedin is suspected of the deed in Mumbai
The interior minister says there was probably a domestic group behind the
Mumbai attacks in July 2011. During the course of the investigation, the
suspicions were directed at the Indian mujahedin.
Many dead in terrorist act in Mumbai
Mumbai - India's economic heart - is subjected to a terrorist attack that
requires 26 people's lives and injures more than 130. Within 15 minutes, during
rush hour, in the evening, three concerted explosions are carried out at three
crowded places in the city. Police suspect militant Islamist groups who have
previously conducted similar attacks in India. The last major terrorist attack
that hit Mumbai happened in November 2008 and claimed 165 lives (see Modern
Another minister resigns in the telecom scandal
The Minister of Textiles, who belongs to an alliance party to the Congress
Party, resigns after being accused of involvement in the corruption scandal
surrounding the sale of mobile licenses in 2008 (see November 2010).
The judgment of Babri Mosque is being torn down
India's highest court rescinded the ruling by the Uttar Pradesh Regional
Court in September 2010 that the ownership of the land at Babrimoski should be
divided into three parts. Both Muslims and Hindus had appealed the decision.
The head of the anti-corruption unit is suspected of corruption
The head of India's anti-corruption unit is forced to resign after the
Supreme Court found that he himself is suspected of corruption in connection
with a 1992 deal. The incident puts a burden on Prime Minister Singh's
government who has been forced to deal with a series of corruption scandals over
the past year.
Eleven Muslims are sentenced to death
A court in the state of Gujarat sentenced eleven Muslim men to death for the
train fire in the city of Godhra in February 2002, when a Muslim mob set fire to
a railway wagon with Hindu pilgrims and activists on their way home from
Ayodhya, where they were preparing a temple building. At least 58 people were
burned inside (see Modern History). At the trial, 20 Muslim men are also
sentenced to life imprisonment.