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India, officially the Republic of India, is a sovereign nation in South Asia. It is the seventh largest country by geographical area, the second most populous country, and the most populous democracy in the world. Bounded by the Indian Ocean on the south, the Arabian Sea on the west, and the Bay of Bengal on the east, India has a coastline of 7,517 kilometers (4,671 mi). It borders Pakistan to the west; China, Nepal, and Bhutan to the north-east; Bangladesh and Burma to the east.
Home to the Indus Valley civilization 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 major world religions, Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism originated here, while Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Islam and Christianity arrived in the first millennium CE and shaped the region’s diverse culture. Gradually annexed by the British East India Company from the early eighteenth century and colonised by the United Kingdom from the mid-nineteenth century, India became a modern nation-state in 1947 after a struggle for independence that was marked by widespread nonviolent resistance.
India is the world’s twelfth largest economy at market exchange rates and the third largest economy in purchasing power. Economic reforms have transformed it into the second fastest growing large economy; however, it still suffers from high levels of poverty, illiteracy, malnutrition and environmental degradation. A pluralistic, multi-lingual, and multi-ethnic society, India is also home to a diversity of wildlife in a variety of protected habitats.