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 India [Country Flag of India]
Geography
People
Government
Economy
Communications
Transportation
Military
Transnational Issues
[Country map of India]

India

Geography

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

Geographic coordinates: 20 00 N, 77 00 E

Map references: Asia

Area:
total: 3,287,590 sq km
land: 2,973,190 sq km
water: 314,400 sq km

Area—comparative: slightly more than one-third the size of the US

Land boundaries:
total: 14,103 km
border countries: 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

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

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
highest point: Kanchenjunga 8,598 m

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: 56%
permanent crops: 1%
permanent pastures: 4%
forests and woodland: 23%
other: 16% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: 480,000 sq km (1993 est.)

Natural hazards: droughts, flash floods, severe thunderstorms common; earthquakes

Environment—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

Environment—international agreements:
party to: Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography—note: dominates South Asian subcontinent; near important Indian Ocean trade routes

People

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Population: 984,003,683 (July 1998 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 34% (male 174,578,403; female 164,755,937)
15-64 years: 61% (male 310,995,355; female 288,344,336)
65 years and over: 5% (male 23,051,278; female 22,278,374) (July 1998 est.)

Population growth rate: 1.71% (1998 est.)

Birth rate: 25.91 births/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Death rate: 8.69 deaths/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Net migration rate: -0.08 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.08 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 1.04 male(s)/female (1998 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 63.14 deaths/1,000 live births (1998 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 62.9 years
male: 62.11 years
female: 63.73 years (1998 est.)

Total fertility rate: 3.24 children born/woman (1998 est.)

Nationality:
noun: Indian(s)
adjective: Indian

Ethnic groups: 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:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 52%
male: 65.5%
female: 37.7% (1995 est.)

Government

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

Data code: IN

Government type: federal republic

National 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 Kicheril Raman NARAYANAN (since NA July 1997); Vice President Krishnan KANT (since NA September 1997)
head of government: Prime Minister Atal Bihari VAJPAYEE (since 19 March 1998)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president on the recommendation of the prime minister
elections: president elected by an electoral college consisting of elected members of both houses of Parliament and the legislatures of the states for a five-year term; vice president elected by both houses of Parliament; prime minister elected by parliamentary members of the majority party following legislative elections
election results: Kicheril Raman NARAYANAN elected president; percent of electoral college vote—NA; Krishnan KANT elected vice president; percent of Parliament vote - NA; Atal Bihari VAJPAYEE elected prime minister; percent of vote—NA

Legislative branch: bicameral Parliament or Sansad consists of the Council of States or Rajya Sabha (a body consisting of not more than 250 members, up to 12 of which are appointed by the president, the remainder are chosen by the elected members of the state and territorial assemblies; members serve six-year terms) and the People's Assembly or Lok Sabha (545 seats; 543 elected by popular vote, 2 appointed; members serve five-year terms)
elections: People's Assembly—last held 16 February through 7 March 1998 (next to be held NA March 2003)
election results: People's Assembly—percent of vote by party—NA; seats by party - NA

Judicial branch: Supreme Court, judges are appointed by the president and remain in office until they reach the age of 65

Political parties and leaders: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Kushabhau THAKRE, president, L. K. ADVANI, A. B. VAJPAYEE; Congress (I) Party, Sonia GANDHI, president; Janata Dal Party, Sharad YADAV, president, I. K. GUJRAL; Janata Dal (Ajit), Ajit SINGH; Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Laloo Prasad YADAV; Communist Party of India/Marxist (CPI/M), Harkishan Singh SURJEET; Tamil Maanila Congress, G. K. MOOPANAR; Dravida Munnetra Kazagham (a regional party in Tamil Nadu), M. KARUNANIDHI; Samajwadi Party (SP), Mulayam Singh YADAV (president), Om Prakash CHAUTALA, Devi LAL; Telugu Desam (Naidu) (a regional party in Andhra Pradesh), Chandrababu NAIDU; Communist Party of India (CPI), Indrajit GUPTA; Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP), Tridip CHOWDHURY; Asom Gana Parishad, Prafulla Kumar MAHANTA; Congress (Tiwari), Arjun SINGH and N. D. TIWARI; All India Forward Bloc (AIFB), Prem Dutta PALIWAL (chairman), Chitta BASU (general secretary); Muslim League, G. M. BANATWALA; Madhya Pradesh Vikas Congress, Madhavro SCINDIA; Karnataka Congress Party, S. BANGARAPPA; Shiv Sena, Bal THACKERAY; Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Kanshi RAM; Communist Party of India/Marxist-Leninist (CPI/ML), Vinod MISHRA; 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; Samata Party (formerly Janata Dal members), George FERNANDES; Indian National League, Suliaman SAIT; Kerala Congress (Mani faction), K. M. MANI

Political pressure groups and leaders: 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

International organization participation: AfDB, AG (observer), AsDB, BIS (pending member), C, CCC, CP, ESCAP, FAO, G- 6, G-15, G-19, G-24, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), ISO, ITU, MIPONUH, MONUA, NAM, OAS (observer), PCA, SAARC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIKOM, UNITAR, UNMIBH, UNOMIL, UNU, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Naresh CHANDRA
chancery: 2107 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008; note—Embassy located at 2536 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 939-7000
FAX: [1] (202) 483-3972
consulate(s) general: Chicago, Houston, New York, and San Francisco

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Richard CELESTE
embassy: Shanti Path, Chanakyapuri 110021, New Delhi
mailing address: use embassy street address
telephone: [91] (11) 688-9033, 611-3033
FAX: [91] (11) 419-0017
consulate(s) general: Calcutta, Chennai (Madras), Mumbai (Bombay)

Flag description: 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

Economy

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Economy—overview: India's economy encompasses traditional village farming, modern agriculture, handicrafts, a wide range of modern industries, and a multitude of support services. 67% of India's labor force of nearly 400 million work in agriculture, which contributes 30% of the country's GDP. Production, trade, and investment reforms since 1991 have provided new opportunities for Indian businesspersons and an estimated 300 million middle class consumers. New Delhi has avoided debt rescheduling, attracted foreign investment, and revived confidence in India's economic prospects since 1991. Many of the country's fundamentals - including savings rates (26% of GDP) and reserves (now about $24 billion) - are healthy. Inflation eased to 7% in 1997, and interest rates dropped to between 10% and 13%. Even so, the Indian Government needs to restore the early momentum of reform, especially by continuing reductions in the extensive remaining government regulations. Moreover, economic policy changes have not yet significantly increased jobs or reduced the risk that international financial strains will reemerge within the next few years. Nearly 40% of the Indian population remains too poor to afford an adequate diet. India's exports, currency, and foreign institutional investment were affected by the East Asian crisis in late 1997 and early 1998, but capital account controls, a low ratio of short-term debt to reserves, and enhanced supervision of the financial sector helped insulate it from near term balance-of-payments problems. Export growth, has been slipping in 1996-97, averaging only about 4% to 5%—a large drop from the more than 20% increases it was experiencing over the prior three years—mainly because of the fall in Asian currencies relative to the rupee. Energy, telecommunications, and transportation shortages and the legacy of inefficient factories constrain industrial growth which expanded only 6.7% in 1997—down from more than 11% in 1996. Growth of the agricultural sector is still fairly slow rebounding to only 5.7% in 1997 from a fall of 0.1% in 1996. Agricultural investment has slowed, while costly subsidies on fertilizer, food distribution, and rural electricity remain. Nevertheless, even if a series of weak coalition governments continue to rule in New Delhi over the next few years and are unable to push reforms aggressively, parts of the economy that have already benefited from deregulation will continue to grow. Indian think tanks project GDP growth of at least 5.5% in 1998.

GDP: purchasing power parity—$1.534 trillion (1997 est.)

GDP—real growth rate: 5% (1997 est.)

GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$1,600 (1997 est.)

GDP—composition by sector:
agriculture: 30%
industry: 28%
services: 42% (1996 est.)

Inflation rate—consumer price index: 7% (1997 est.)

Labor force:
total: 390 million (1997 est.)
by occupation: agriculture 67%, services 18%, industry 15% (1995 est.)

Unemployment rate: NA%

Budget:
revenues: $39 billion
expenditures: $61 billion, including capital expenditures of $10 billion (FY97/98 est.)

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

Industrial production growth rate: 6.7% (1997 est.)

Electricity—capacity: 83.288 million kW (1996)

Electricity—production: 398.28 billion kWh (1995)

Electricity—consumption per capita: 427 kWh (1995)

Agriculture—products: rice, wheat, oilseed, cotton, jute, tea, sugarcane, potatoes; cattle, water buffalo, sheep, goats, poultry; fish catch of about 3 million metric tons ranks India among the world's top 10 fishing nations

Exports:
total value: $33.9 billion (f.o.b., 1997)
commodities: gems and jewelry, clothing, engineering goods, chemicals, leather manufactures, cotton yarn, and fabric
partners: US, Hong Kong, UK, Germany

Imports:
total value: $39.7 billion (c.i.f., 1997)
commodities: crude oil and petroleum products, machinery, gems, fertilizer, chemicals
partners: US, Belgium, Germany, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, UK, Japan

Debt—external: $90.7 billion (1997)

Economic aid:
recipient: ODA, $1.237 billion (1993); US ODA bilateral commitments $171 million; US Ex-Im bilateral commitments $680 million; Western (non-US) countries, ODA bilateral commitments $2.48 billion; OPEC bilateral aid $200 million; World Bank (IBRD) multilateral commitments $2.8 billion; Asian Development Bank (AsDB) multilateral commitments $760 million; International Finance Corporation (IFC) multilateral commitments $200 million; other multilateral commitments $554 million (1995-96)

Currency: 1 Indian rupee (Re) = 100 paise

Exchange rates: Indian rupees (Rs) per US$1—39.358 (January 1998), 36.313 (1997), 35.433 (1996), 32.427 (1995), 31.374 (1994), 30.493 (1993)

Fiscal year: 1 April—31 March

Communications

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Telephones: 12 million (1996)

Telephone system: probably the least adequate telephone system of any of the industrializing countries; three of every four villages have no telephone service; only 5% of India's villages have long-distance service; poor telephone service significantly impedes commercial and industrial growth and penalizes India in global markets; slow improvement is taking place with the recent admission of private and private-public investors, but demand for communication services is also growing rapidly
domestic: local service is provided mostly by open wire and obsolete electromechanical and manual switchboard systems; within the last 10 years a substantial amount of digital switch gear has been introduced for local service; long-distance traffic is carried mostly by open wire, coaxial cable, and low-capacity microwave radio relay; since 1985, however, significant trunk capacity has been added in the form of fiber-optic cable and a domestic satellite system with over 100 earth stations
international: satellite earth stations—8 Intelsat (Indian Ocean) and 1 Inmarsat (Indian Ocean Region); submarine cables to Malaysia and UAE

Radio broadcast stations: AM 96, FM 4, shortwave 0

Radios: 70 million (1992 est.)

Television broadcast stations: 274 (government controlled)

Televisions: 33 million (1992 est.)

Transportation

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Railways:
total: 62,660 km (12,296 km electrified; 12,617 km double track)
broad gauge: 39,612 km 1.676-m gauge
narrow gauge: 19,210 km 1.000-m gauge; 3,838 km 0.762-m and 0.610-m gauge (1995 est.)

Highways:
total: 2.06 million km
paved: 1,034,120 km
unpaved: 1,025,880 km (1996 est.)

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

Pipelines: crude oil 3,005 km; petroleum products 2,687 km; natural gas 1,700 km (1995)

Ports and harbors: Calcutta, Chennai (Madras), Cochin, Jawaharal Nehru, Kandla, Mumbai (Bombay), Vishakhapatnam

Merchant marine:
total: 299 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 6,605,619 GRT/10,988,439 DWT
ships by type: bulk 126, cargo 58, chemical tanker 9, combination bulk 1, combination ore/oil 3, container 11, liquefied gas tanker 9, oil tanker 75, passenger-cargo 5, roll-on/roll-off cargo 1, short-sea passenger 1 (1997 est.)

Airports: 343 (1997 est.)

Airports—with paved runways:
total: 237
over 3,047 m: 12
2,438 to 3,047 m: 47
1,524 to 2,437 m: 87
914 to 1,523 m: 72
under 914 m: 19 (1997 est.)

Airports—with unpaved runways:
total: 106
2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 6
914 to 1,523 m: 47
under 914 m: 51 (1997 est.)

Heliports: 16 (1997 est.)

Military

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

Military manpower—military age: 17 years of age

Military manpower—availability:
males age 15-49: 263,765,005 (1998 est.)

Military manpower—fit for military service:
males: 154,925,081 (1998 est.)

Military manpower—reaching military age annually:
males: 10,566,718 (1998 est.)

Military expenditures—dollar figure: $8 billion (FY95/96)

Military expenditures—percent of GDP: 2.7% (FY95/96)

Transnational Issues

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Disputes—international: boundary with China in dispute; status of Kashmir with Pakistan; water-sharing problems with Pakistan over the Indus River (Wular Barrage); a portion of the boundary with Bangladesh is indefinite

Illicit drugs: world's largest licit producer of opium 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; cultivated 2,050 hectares of opium in 1997, a 34% decrease from 1996, with a potential production of 30 metric tons, a 36% decrease from 1996