However, it continues to face the challenges of poverty, corruption, malnutrition and inadequate public healthcare.
A nuclear weapons state and a regional power, it has the third-largest standing army in the world and ranks sixth in military expenditure among nations.
It is also home to a diversity of wildlife in a variety of protected habitats.
is used by many Indian languages in its variations. It was introduced into India by the Mughals and widely used since then.
It is a modernisation of the historical name Bharatavarsha, which traditionally referred to the Indian subcontinent and gained increasing currency from the mid-19th century as a native name for India.) is a Persian name for India dating back to the 3rd century B. Its meaning varied, referring to a region that encompassed northern India and Pakistan or India in its entirety.
Centred around cities such as Mohenjo-daro, Harappa, Dholavira, and Kalibangan, and relying on varied forms of subsistence, the civilisation engaged robustly in crafts production and wide-ranging trade.
It is the seventh-largest country by area, the second-most populous country (with over 1.2 billion people), and the most populous democracy in the world.
Bounded by the Indian Ocean on the south, the Arabian Sea on the south-west, and the Bay of Bengal on the south-east, it shares land borders with Pakistan to the west; China, Nepal, and Bhutan to the north-east; and Myanmar (Burma) and Bangladesh to the east.
In the Indian Ocean, India is in the vicinity of Sri Lanka and the Maldives; in addition, India's Andaman and Nicobar Islands share a maritime border with Thailand and Indonesia.
Home to the ancient Indus Valley Civilisation 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 religions—Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism—originated here, whereas Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam arrived in the 1st millennium CE and also shaped the region's diverse culture.
Gradually annexed by and brought under the administration of the British East India Company from the early 18th century and administered directly by the United Kingdom after the Indian Rebellion of 1857, India became an independent nation in 1947 after a struggle for independence that was marked by non-violent resistance led by Mahatma Gandhi.
In 2015, the Indian economy was the world's seventh-largest by nominal GDP and third-largest by purchasing power parity (PPP).