India is a country that occupies the greater part of the Indian subcontinent in Asia. It has a coastline of over 4300 miles , borders Pakistan to the west, Nepal, China 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 Indus River. The Constitution of India and common usage also recognise Bh?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, India has long played a major 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. Colonised as part of 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 recognises twenty-two official languages spoken across its diverse regions, including Hindi and English which are the official languages of the Union government. India's economy defined by GDP in terms of purchasing power parity is today the fourth-largest in the world and the tenth-largest in nominal terms.