India

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Posted by pompos 03/09/2009 @ 19:13

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Coverage of India's chaotic and colorful election process is largely focused on familiar issues such as communal tensions and the environment for investment. But when a television interviewer recently asked Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh what his...
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These were initially slated to be produced outside India. The investment in the project is still being decided, Chief Financial Officer K. Sridharan told Reuters from the southern Indian city of Chennai. For the quarter to March the company's net...

India

The Bombay Stock Exchange, in Mumbai, is Asia's oldest and India's largest stock exchange.

India, officially the Republic of India (Hindi: भारत गणराज्य Bhārat Gaṇarājya; see also other Indian languages), is a country 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 is bordered by Pakistan to the west; People's Republic of China (PRC), Nepal, and Bhutan to the north-east; and Bangladesh and Myanmar to the east. India is in the vicinity of Sri Lanka, the Maldives, and Indonesia in the Indian Ocean.

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 there, while Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam 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 an independent nation in 1947 after a struggle for independence that was marked by widespread nonviolent resistance.

India is a republic consisting of 28 states and seven union territories with a parliamentary system of democracy. It has the world's twelfth largest economy at market exchange rates and the fourth largest in purchasing power. Economic reforms since 1991 have transformed it into one of the fastest growing economies; however, it still suffers from high levels of poverty, illiteracy, and malnutrition. A pluralistic, multilingual, and multiethnic society, India is also home to a diversity of wildlife in a variety of protected habitats.

The name India (pronounced /ˈɪndiə/) is derived from Indus, which is derived from the Old Persian word Hindu, from Sanskrit Sindhu, the historic local appellation for the Indus River. The ancient Greeks referred to the Indians as Indoi (Ινδοί), the people of the Indus. The Constitution of India and common usage in various Indian languages also recognise Bharat ( pronunciation (help·info), /bʰɑːrət̪/) as an official name of equal status. Hindustan ( /hin̪d̪ust̪ɑːn/ ), which is the Persian word for “Land of the Hindus” and historically referred to northern India, is also occasionally used as a synonym for all of India.

Stone Age rock shelters with paintings at the Bhimbetka rock shelters in Madhya Pradesh are the earliest known traces of human life in India. The first known permanent settlements appeared over 9,000 years ago and gradually developed into the Indus Valley Civilisation, dating back to 3300 BCE in western India. It was followed by the Vedic period, which laid the foundations of Hinduism and other cultural aspects of early Indian society, and ended in the 500s BCE. From around 550 BCE, many independent kingdoms and republics known as the Mahajanapadas were established across the country.

In the third century BCE, most of South Asia was united into the Maurya Empire by Chandragupta Maurya and flourished under Ashoka the Great. From the third century CE, the Gupta dynasty oversaw the period referred to as ancient "India's Golden Age." Empires in Southern India included those of the Chalukyas, the Cholas and the Vijayanagara Empire. Science, engineering, art, literature, astronomy, and philosophy flourished under the patronage of these kings.

Following invasions from Central Asia between the 10th and 12th centuries, much of North India came under the rule of the Delhi Sultanate and later the Mughal Empire. Under the rule of Akbar the Great, India enjoyed much cultural and economic progress as well as religious harmony. Mughal emperors gradually expanded their empires to cover large parts of the subcontinent. However, in North-Eastern India, the dominant power was the Ahom kingdom of Assam, among the few kingdoms to have resisted Mughal subjugation. The first major threat to Mughal imperial power came from a Hindu state known as the Maratha confederacy, that dominated much of India in the mid-18th century.

From the 16th century, European powers such as Portugal, the Netherlands, France, and the United Kingdom established trading posts and later took advantage of internal conflicts to establish colonies in the country. By 1856, most of India was under the control of the British East India Company. A year later, a nationwide insurrection of rebelling military units and kingdoms, known as India's First War of Independence or the Sepoy Mutiny, seriously challenged the Company's control but eventually failed. As a result of the instability, India was brought under the direct rule of the British Crown.

In the 20th century, a nationwide struggle for independence was launched by the Indian National Congress and other political organisations. Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi led millions of people in national campaigns of non-violent civil disobedience. On 15 August 1947, India gained independence from British rule, but at the same time Muslim-majority areas were partitioned to form a separate state of Pakistan. On 26 January 1950, India became a republic and a new constitution came into effect.

Since independence, India has faced challenges from religious violence, casteism, naxalism, terrorism and regional separatist insurgencies, especially in Jammu and Kashmir and Northeast India. Since the 1990s terrorist attacks have affected many Indian cities. India has unresolved territorial disputes with P. R. China, which in 1962 escalated into the Sino-Indian War; and with Pakistan, which resulted in wars in 1947, 1965, 1971 and 1999. India is a founding member of the United Nations (as British India) and the Non-Aligned Movement. In 1974, India conducted an underground nuclear test and five more tests in 1998, making India a nuclear state. Beginning in 1991, significant economic reforms have transformed India into one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, increasing its global clout.

The Constitution of India, the longest and the most exhaustive constitution of any independent nation in the world, came into force on 26 January 1950. The preamble of the constitution defines India as a sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic republic. India has a bicameral parliament operating under a Westminster-style parliamentary system. Its form of government was traditionally described as being 'quasi-federal' with a strong centre and weaker states, but it has grown increasingly federal since the late 1990s as a result of political, economic and social changes.

The President of India is the head of state elected indirectly by an electoral college for a five-year term. The Prime Minister is the head of government and exercises most executive powers. Appointed by the President, the Prime Minister is by convention supported by the party or political alliance holding the majority of seats in the lower house of Parliament. The executive branch consists of the President, Vice-President, and the Council of Ministers (the Cabinet being its executive committee) headed by the Prime Minister. Any minister holding a portfolio must be a member of either house of parliament. In the Indian parliamentary system, the executive is subordinate to the legislature, with the Prime Minister and his Council being directly responsible to the lower house of the parliament.

The legislature of India is the bicameral Parliament, which consists of the upper house called the Rajya Sabha (Council of States) and the lower house called the Lok Sabha (House of People). The Rajya Sabha, a permanent body, has 245 members serving staggered six year terms. Most are elected indirectly by the state and territorial legislatures in proportion to the state's population. 543 of the Lok Sabha's 545 members are directly elected by popular vote to represent individual constituencies for five year terms. The other two members are nominated by the President from the Anglo-Indian community if the President is of the opinion that community is not adequately represented.

India has a unitary three-tier judiciary, consisting of the Supreme Court, headed by the Chief Justice of India, twenty-one High Courts, and a large number of trial courts. The Supreme Court has original jurisdiction over cases involving fundamental rights and over disputes between states and the Centre, and appellate jurisdiction over the High Courts. It is judicially independent, and has the power to declare the law and to strike down union or state laws which contravene the Constitution. The role as the ultimate interpreter of the Constitution is one of the most important functions of the Supreme Court.

India is a federal republic of twenty-eight states and seven Union Territories. All states, and the two union territories of Puducherry and the National Capital Territory of Delhi have elected governments. The other five union territories have centrally appointed administrators and hence are under direct rule of the President. In 1956, under the States Reorganisation Act, states were formed on a linguistic basis. Since then, this structure has remained largely unchanged. Each state or union territory is further divided into 610 districts for basic governance and administration. The districts in turn are further divided into tehsils and eventually into villages.

India is the most populous democracy in the world. For most of the years since independence, the federal government has been led by the Indian National Congress (INC). Politics in the states have been dominated by several national parties including the INC, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI(M)) and various regional parties. From 1950 to 1990, barring two brief periods, the INC enjoyed a parliamentary majority. The INC was out of power between 1977 and 1980, when the Janata Party won the election owing to public discontent with the state of emergency declared by the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. In 1989, a Janata Dal-led National Front coalition in alliance with the Left Front coalition won the elections but managed to stay in power for only two years. As the 1991 elections gave no political party a majority, the INC formed a minority government under Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao and was able to complete its five-year term.

The years 1996–1998 were a period of turmoil in the federal government with several short-lived alliances holding sway. The BJP formed a government briefly in 1996, followed by the United Front coalition that excluded both the BJP and the INC. In 1998, the BJP formed the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) with several other parties and became the first non-Congress government to complete a full five-year term. In the 2004 Indian elections, the INC won the largest number of Lok Sabha seats and formed a government with a coalition called the United Progressive Alliance (UPA), supported by various left-leaning parties and members opposed to the BJP.

Since its independence in 1947, India has maintained cordial relationships with most nations. It took a leading role in the 1950s by advocating the independence of European colonies in Africa and Asia. India was involved in two brief military interventions in neighboring countries - Indian Peace Keeping Force in Sri Lanka and Operation Cactus in Maldives. India is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations and a founding member of the Non-Aligned Movement. After the Sino-Indian War and the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965, India's relationship with the Soviet Union warmed at the expense of ties with the United States and continued to remain so until the end of the Cold War. India has fought three wars with Pakistan, primarily over Kashmir but it also facilitated the creation of Bangladesh in 1971. Additional skirmishes have taken place between the two nations particularly in 1984 over Siachen Glacier and in 1999 over Kargil.

In recent years, India has played an influential role in the SAARC, and the WTO. India has provided as many as 55,000 Indian military and police personnel to serve in thirty-five UN peace keeping operations across four continents. Despite criticism and military sanctions, India has consistently refused to sign the CTBT and the NPT, preferring instead to maintain sovereignty over its nuclear program. Recent overtures by the Indian government have strengthened relations with the United States, P. R. China and Pakistan. In the economic sphere, India has close relationships with other developing nations in South America, Asia and Africa.

India maintains the third-largest military force in the world, which consists of the Indian Army, Navy and Air Force. Auxiliary forces such as the Paramilitary Forces, the Coast Guard, and the Strategic Forces Command also come under the military's purview. The President of India is the supreme commander of the Indian armed forces. India maintains close defence cooperation with Russia, France and Israel, who are the chief suppliers of arms. The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has overseen the indigenous development of sophisticated arms and military equipment, including ballistic missiles, fighter aircrafts and main battle tanks, to reduce India's dependence on foreign imports. India became a nuclear power in 1974 after conducting an initial nuclear test, Operation Smiling Buddha and further underground testing in 1998. India maintains a "no first use" nuclear policy. On 10 October, 2008 Indo-US civilian nuclear agreement was signed, prior to which India received the IAEA and NSG waivers, ending restrictions on nuclear technology commerce with which India became de facto sixth nuclear power in world.

India, the major portion of the Indian subcontinent, sits atop the Indian tectonic plate, a minor plate within the Indo-Australian Plate.

India's defining geological processes commenced seventy-five million years ago, when the Indian subcontinent, then part of the southern supercontinent Gondwana, began a northeastwards drift—lasting fifty million years—across the then unformed Indian Ocean. The subcontinent's subsequent collision with the Eurasian Plate and subduction under it, gave rise to the Himalayas, the planet's highest mountains, which now abut India in the north and the north-east. In the former seabed immediately south of the emerging Himalayas, plate movement created a vast trough, which, having gradually been filled with river-borne sediment, now forms the Indo-Gangetic Plain. To the west of this plain, and cut off from it by the Aravalli Range, lies the Thar Desert. The original Indian plate now survives as peninsular India, the oldest and geologically most stable part of India, and extending as far north as the Satpura and Vindhya ranges in central India. These parallel ranges run from the Arabian Sea coast in Gujarat in the west to the coal-rich Chota Nagpur Plateau in Jharkhand in the east. To their south, the remaining peninsular landmass, the Deccan Plateau, is flanked on the left and right by the coastal ranges, Western Ghats and Eastern Ghats respectively; the plateau contains the oldest rock formations in India, some over one billion years old. Constituted in such fashion, India lies to the north of the equator between 6°44' and 35°30' north latitude and 68°7' and 97°25' east longitude.

India's coast is 7,517 kilometers (4,671 mi) long; of this distance, 5,423 kilometers (3,370 mi) belong to peninsular India, and 2,094 kilometers (1,301 mi) to the Andaman, Nicobar, and Lakshadweep Islands. According to the Indian naval hydrographic charts, the mainland coast consists of the following: 43% sandy beaches, 11% rocky coast including cliffs, and 46% mudflats or marshy coast.

Major Himalayan-origin rivers that substantially flow through India include the Ganges and the Brahmaputra, both of which drain into the Bay of Bengal. Important tributaries of the Ganges include the Yamuna and the Kosi, whose extremely low gradient causes disastrous floods every year. Major peninsular rivers whose steeper gradients prevent their waters from flooding include the Godavari, the Mahanadi, the Kaveri, and the Krishna, which also drain into the Bay of Bengal; and the Narmada and the Tapti, which drain into the Arabian Sea. Among notable coastal features of India are the marshy Rann of Kutch in western India, and the alluvial Sundarbans delta, which India shares with Bangladesh. India has two archipelagos: the Lakshadweep, coral atolls off India's south-western coast; and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, a volcanic chain in the Andaman Sea.

India's climate is strongly influenced by the Himalayas and the Thar Desert, both of which drive the monsoons. The Himalayas prevent cold Central Asian katabatic winds from blowing in, keeping the bulk of the Indian subcontinent warmer than most locations at similar latitudes. The Thar Desert plays a crucial role in attracting the moisture-laden southwest summer monsoon winds that, between June and October, provide the majority of India's rainfall. Four major climatic groupings predominate in India: tropical wet, tropical dry, subtropical humid, and montane.

India, which lies within the Indomalaya ecozone, displays significant biodiversity. One of eighteen megadiverse countries, it is home to 7.6% of all mammalian, 12.6% of all avian, 6.2% of all reptilian, 4.4% of all amphibian, 11.7% of all fish, and 6.0% of all flowering plant species. Many ecoregions, such as the shola forests, exhibit extremely high rates of endemism; overall, 33% of Indian plant species are endemic. India's forest cover ranges from the tropical rainforest of the Andaman Islands, Western Ghats, and North-East India to the coniferous forest of the Himalaya. Between these extremes lie the sal-dominated moist deciduous forest of eastern India; the teak-dominated dry deciduous forest of central and southern India; and the babul-dominated thorn forest of the central Deccan and western Gangetic plain. Important Indian trees include the medicinal neem, widely used in rural Indian herbal remedies. The pipal fig tree, shown on the seals of Mohenjo-daro, shaded Gautama Buddha as he sought enlightenment.

Many Indian species are descendants of taxa originating in Gondwana, to which India originally belonged. Peninsular India's subsequent movement towards, and collision with, the Laurasian landmass set off a mass exchange of species. However, volcanism and climatic changes 20 million years ago caused the extinction of many endemic Indian forms. Soon thereafter, mammals entered India from Asia through two zoogeographical passes on either side of the emerging Himalaya. Consequently, among Indian species, only 12.6% of mammals and 4.5% of birds are endemic, contrasting with 45.8% of reptiles and 55.8% of amphibians. Notable endemics are the Nilgiri leaf monkey and the brown and carmine Beddome's toad of the Western Ghats. India contains 172, or 2.9%, of IUCN-designated threatened species. These include the Asiatic Lion, the Bengal Tiger, and the Indian white-rumped vulture, which suffered a near-extinction from ingesting the carrion of diclofenac-treated cattle.

In recent decades, human encroachment has posed a threat to India's wildlife; in response, the system of national parks and protected areas, first established in 1935, was substantially expanded. In 1972, India enacted the Wildlife Protection Act and Project Tiger to safeguard crucial habitat; in addition, the Forest Conservation Act was enacted in 1980. Along with more than five hundred wildlife sanctuaries, India hosts thirteen biosphere reserves, four of which are part of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves; twenty-five wetlands are registered under the Ramsar Convention.

For an entire generation from the 1950s until the 1980s, India followed socialist-inspired policies. The economy was shackled by extensive regulation, protectionism, and public ownership, leading to pervasive corruption and slow growth. Since 1991, the nation has moved towards a market-based system.

With an average annual GDP growth rate of 5.8% for the past two decades, the economy is among the fastest growing in the world. It has the world's second largest labour force, with 516.3 million people. In terms of output, the agricultural sector accounts for 28% of GDP; the service and industrial sectors make up 54% and 18% respectively. Major agricultural products include rice, wheat, oilseed, cotton, jute, tea, sugarcane, potatoes; cattle, water buffalo, sheep, goats, poultry; fish. Major industries include textiles, chemicals, food processing, steel, transportation equipment, cement, mining, petroleum, machinery, software. India's trade has reached a relatively moderate share 24% of GDP in 2006, up from 6% in 1985. India's share of world trade has reached 1%. Major exports include petroleum products, textile goods, gems and jewelry, engineering goods, chemicals, leather manufactures. Major imports include crude oil, machinery, gems, fertilizer, chemicals.

India's GDP is US$1.089 trillion, which makes it the twelfth-largest economy in the world or fourth largest by purchasing power adjusted exchange rates. India's nominal per capita income US$977 is ranked 128th in the world. In the late 2000s, India's economic growth has averaged 7½% a year, which will double the average income in a decade.

India remains one of the poorest countries in the world. The percentage of people living below the new international poverty line $1.25 a day (PPP, in nominal terms Rs 21.6 a day in urban areas and Rs 14.3 in rural areas in 2005) decreased from 60% in 1981 to 42% in 2005. 85.7% of the population was living on less than $2.50 (PPP) a day in 2005, compared with 80.5% for Sub-Saharan Africa. Even though India has avoided famines in recent decades, half of children are underweight, one of the highest rates in the world and nearly double the rate of Sub-Saharan Africa.

Ongoing reforms are watched closely as India could become potentially important for the global economy. A Goldman Sachs report predicts that "from 2007 to 2020, India’s GDP per capita will quadruple," and that the Indian economy will surpass the United States by 2043, but India "will remain a low-income country for several decades, with per capita incomes well below its other BRIC peers. But if it can fulfill its growth potential, it can become a motor for the world economy, and a key contributor to generating spending growth.". Although the Indian economy has grown steadily over the last two decades; its growth has been uneven when comparing different social groups, economic groups, geographic regions, and rural and urban areas. World Bank suggests that the most important priorities are public sector reform, infrastructure, agricultural and rural development, removal of labor regulations, reforms in lagging states, and HIV/AIDS.

With an estimated population of 1.15 billion, representing 17% of the world population, India is the world's second most populous country. The last 50 years have seen a rapid increase in population due to medical advances and massive increase in agricultural productivity made by the green revolution. Almost 70% of Indians reside in rural areas, although in recent decades migration to larger cities has led to a dramatic increase in the country's urban population. India's largest cities are Mumbai (formerly Bombay), Delhi, Kolkata (formerly Calcutta), Chennai (formerly Madras), Bengaluru (formerly Bangalore), Hyderabad and Ahmedabad.

India is the most culturally, linguistically and genetically diverse geographical entity after the African continent. India is home to two major linguistic families: Indo-Aryan (spoken by about 74% of the population) and Dravidian (spoken by about 24%). Other languages spoken in India come from the Austro-Asiatic and Tibeto-Burman linguistic families. Hindi, with the largest number of speakers, is the official language of the union. English, which is extensively used in business and administration, has the status of a 'subsidiary official language;' it is also important in education, especially as a medium of higher education. In addition, every state and union territory has its own official languages, and the constitution also recognises in particular 21 other languages that are either abundantly spoken or have classical status. While Sanskrit and Tamil have been studied as classical languages for many years, the Government of India, using its own criteria, has also accorded classical language status to Kannada and Telugu. The number of dialects in India is as high as 1,652.

Over 800 million Indians (80.5%) are Hindu. Other religious groups include Muslims (13.4%), Christians (2.3%), Sikhs (1.9%), Buddhists (0.8%), Jains (0.4%), Jews, Zoroastrians, Bahá'ís and others. Tribals constitute 8.1% of the population.

India's literacy rate is 64.8% (53.7% for females and 75.3% for males). The state of Kerala has the highest literacy rate (91%); Bihar has the lowest (47%). The national human sex ratio is 944 females per 1,000 males. India's median age is 24.9, and the population growth rate of 1.38% per annum; there are 22.01 births per 1,000 people per year.

India's culture is marked by a high degree of syncretism and cultural pluralism. It has managed to preserve established traditions while absorbing new customs, traditions, and ideas from invaders and immigrants and spreading its cultural influence to other parts of Asia.

Traditional Indian society is defined by relatively strict social hierarchy. The Indian caste system describes the social stratification and social restrictions in the Indian subcontinent, in which social classes are defined by thousands of endogamous hereditary groups, often termed as jātis or castes.

Traditional Indian family values are highly respected, and multi-generational patriarchal joint families have been the norm, although nuclear family are becoming common in urban areas. An overwhelming majority of Indians have their marriages arranged by their parents and other respected family-members, with the consent of the bride and groom. The marriage is thought to be for life, and the divorce rate is extremely low. Child marriage is still a common practice, with half of women in India marry before the legal age of 18.

Indian cuisine is characterized by a wide variety of regional styles and sophisticated use of herbs and spices. The staple foods in the region are rice (especially in the south and the east) and wheat (predominantly in the north). Spices originally native to the Indian subcontinent that are now consumed world wide include black pepper; in contrast, hot chili peppers, popular across India, were introduced by the Portuguese.

Traditional Indian dress varies across the regions in its colours and styles and depends on various factors, including climate. Popular styles of dress include draped garments such as sari for women and dhoti or lungi for men; in addition, stitched clothes such as salwar kameez for women and kurta-pyjama and European-style trousers and shirts for men, are also popular.

Many Indian festivals are religious in origin, although several are celebrated irrespective of caste and creed. Some popular festivals are Diwali, Ganesh Chaturthi, Ugadi, Thai Pongal, Holi, Onam, Vijayadasami, Durga Puja, Eid ul-Fitr, Bakr-Id, Christmas, Buddha Jayanti and Vaisakhi. India has three national holidays. Other sets of holidays, varying between nine and twelve, are officially observed in individual states. Religious practices are an integral part of everyday life and are a very public affair.

Indian architecture is one area that represents the diversity of Indian culture. Much of it, including notable monuments such as the Taj Mahal and other examples of Mughal architecture and South Indian architecture, comprises a blend of ancient and varied local traditions from several parts of the country and abroad. Vernacular architecture also displays notable regional variation.

Indian music covers a wide range of traditions and regional styles. Classical music largely encompasses the two genres – North Indian Hindustani, South Indian Carnatic traditions and their various offshoots in the form of regional folk music. Regionalised forms of popular music include filmi and folk music; the syncretic tradition of the bauls is a well-known form of the latter.

Indian dance too has diverse folk and classical forms. Among the well-known folk dances are the bhangra of the Punjab, the bihu of Assam, the chhau of West Bengal, Jharkhand and sambalpuri of Orissa and the ghoomar of Rajasthan. Eight dance forms, many with narrative forms and mythological elements, have been accorded classical dance status by India's National Academy of Music, Dance, and Drama. These are: bharatanatyam of the state of Tamil Nadu, kathak of Uttar Pradesh, kathakali and mohiniyattam of Kerala, kuchipudi of Andhra Pradesh, manipuri of Manipur, odissi of Orissa and the sattriya of Assam.

Theatre in India often incorporates music, dance, and improvised or written dialogue. Often based on Hindu mythology, but also borrowing from medieval romances, and news of social and political events, Indian theatre includes the bhavai of state of Gujarat, the jatra of West Bengal, the nautanki and ramlila of North India, the tamasha of Maharashtra, the burrakatha of Andhra Pradesh, the terukkuttu of Tamil Nadu, and the yakshagana of Karnataka.

The Indian film industry is the largest in the world. Bollywood, based in Mumbai, makes commercial Hindi films and is the most prolific film industry in the world. Established traditions also exist in Bengali, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Tamil, and Telugu language cinemas.

The earliest works of Indian literature were transmitted orally and only later written down. These included works of Sanskrit literature – such as the early Vedas, the epics Mahābhārata and Ramayana, the drama Abhijñānaśākuntalam (The Recognition of Śakuntalā), and poetry such as the Mahākāvya – and the Tamil language Sangam literature. Among Indian writers of the modern era active in Indian languages or English, Rabindranath Tagore won the Nobel Prize in 1913.

India's official national sport is field hockey, administered by the Indian Hockey Federation. The Indian field hockey team won the 1975 Men's Hockey World Cup and 8 gold, 1 silver and 2 bronze medals at the Olympic games. However, cricket is the most popular sport; the India national cricket team won the 1983 Cricket World Cup and the 2007 ICC World Twenty20, and shared the 2002 ICC Champions Trophy with Sri Lanka. Cricket in India is administered by the Board of Control for Cricket in India, and domestic competitions include the Ranji Trophy, the Duleep Trophy, the Deodhar Trophy, the Irani Trophy and the Challenger Series. In addition Indian cricket league and Indian premier league organize Twenty20 competitions.

Tennis has become increasingly popular, owing to the victories of the India Davis Cup team. Association football is also a popular sport in northeast India, West Bengal, Goa and Kerala. The Indian national football team has won the South Asian Football Federation Cup several times. Chess, commonly held to have originated in India, is also gaining popularity with the rise in the number of Indian Grandmasters. Traditional sports include kabaddi, kho kho, and gilli-danda, which are played nationwide. India is also home to the ancient martial arts, Kalarippayattu and Varma Kalai.

The Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna and the Arjuna Award are India's highest awards for achievements in sports, while the Dronacharya Award is awarded for excellence in coaching. India hosted or co-hosted the 1951 and the 1982 Asian Games, the 1987 and 1996 Cricket World Cup. It is also scheduled to host the 2010 Commonwealth Games and the 2011 Cricket World Cup.

For dependent and other territories, see Dependent territory.

1 Partly or significantly in Europe.  2 The Republic of China (Taiwan) is not officially recognized by the United Nations; see Political status of Taiwan. 3 Partly or significantly in Africa.  4 Partly or wholly reckoned in Oceania.

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Foreign relations of India

India's trade minister, Kamal Nath, at World Economic Forum meet in Geneva in 2007. India has often played the crucial role of representing the interests of developing nations on economic and trade issues such as the Doha Development Round.

The Republic of India is the world's most-populous democracy and has one of the fastest economic growth rates in the world (8.9 percent GDP increase in 2007, the second-fastest major economy in the world after China). With the world's fourth largest armed forces, and twelfth largest economy by market-exchange rates, it is considered to be a regional power and a potential superpower. It is India's growing international influence that increasingly gives it a more prominent voice in global affairs.

After India gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1947, it soon joined the Commonwealth of Nations and strongly supported independence movements in other colonies, like the Indonesian National Revolution. A nuclear bomb test in 1974 made India the first confirmed nuclear state outside the United Nations Security Council. What is notable about the foreign relations of India is that it maintains good relationships with both Russia and United States at the same time; showing how important India is to the welfare of Asia, especially South Asia.

In the region, India-Pakistan relations have been bad since the partition of India in 1947. The two countries have fought four wars, of which three were related to the Kashmir conflict. In the latest war in 1999 both were nuclear-armed nations. There are long-standing controversies with the People's Republic of China and India had one war with PRC in 1962.

During the Cold War, India adopted a foreign policy of not aligning itself with any major power bloc. However, India developed close ties with the Soviet Union and received extensive military support from it. The end of the Cold War significantly affected Indian foreign policy, as it did for much of the world. The country now seeks to strengthen its diplomatic and economic ties with the United States, the People's Republic of China, the European Union, Japan, Israel, Mexico, and Brazil. India has also forged close ties with the member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the African Union, and the Arab League. India has friendly relations with Myanmar and Iran. There are controversies with Bangladesh. Though India continues to have a military relationship with Russia, Israel has emerged as India's second largest military partner while India has built a strong strategic partnership with the United States reflecting India's policy of balanced and non-aligned relations. Indo-US civilian nuclear agreement in 2008 created a foundation for nuclear energy generation in India.

India has a long history of collaboration with several countries and is considered a leader of the developing world. India was one of the founding members of several international organizations, most notably the United Nations, the Non-Aligned Movement, the Asian Development Bank and the G20 industrial nations. India has also played an important and influential role in other international organizations like East Asia Summit, World Trade Organization, IMF, G8+5 and IBSA Dialogue Forum. Regional organizations India is a part of include SAARC and BIMSTEC. India has taken part in several UN peacekeeping missions and in 2007, it was the second-largest troop contributor to the United Nations. India is currently seeking a permanent seat in the UNSC, along with the G4 nations.

India's foreign policy has always regarded the concept of neighborhood as one of widening concentric circles, around a central axis of historical and cultural commonalties.

The guiding principles of India's Foreign Policy have been founded on Panchsheel, pragmatism and pursuit of national interest. In a period of rapid and continuing change, foreign policy must be capable of responding optimally to new challenges and opportunities. It has to be an integral part of the larger effort of building the nation's capabilities through economic development, strengthening social fabric and well-being of the people and protecting India's sovereignty and territorial integrity. India's foreign policy is a forward-looking engagement with the rest of the world, based on a rigorous, realistic and contemporary assessment of the bilateral, regional and global geo-political and economic milieu.

As many as 20 million people of Indian origin live and work abroad and constitute an important link with the mother country. An important role of India's foreign policy has been to ensure their welfare and well being within the framework of the laws of the country where they live.

Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru set the pattern for the formation of Indian foreign policy: a strong personal role for the prime minister but a weak institutional structure. Nehru served concurrently as prime minister and minister of external affairs; he made all major foreign policy decisions himself after consulting with his advisers and then entrusted the conduct of international affairs to senior members of the Indian Foreign Service. His successors continued to exercise considerable control over India's international dealings, although they generally appointed separate ministers of external affairs.

India's second prime minister, Lal Bahadur Shastri (1964-66), expanded the Office of Prime Minister (sometimes called the Prime Minister's Secretariat) and enlarged its powers. By the 1970s, the Office of the Prime Minister had become the de facto coordinator and supraministry of the Indian government. The enhanced role of the office strengthened the prime minister's control over foreign policy making at the expense of the Ministry of External Affairs. Advisers in the office provided channels of information and policy recommendations in addition to those offered by the Ministry of External Affairs. A subordinate part of the office—the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW)--functioned in ways that significantly expanded the information available to the prime minister and his advisers. The RAW gathered intelligence, provided intelligence analysis to the Office of the Prime Minister, and conducted covert operations abroad.

The prime minister's control and reliance on personal advisers in the Office of the Prime Minister was particularly strong under the tenures of Indira Gandhi (1966-77 and 1980-84) and her son, Rajiv (1984-89), who succeeded her, and weaker during the periods of coalition governments. Observers find it difficult to determine whether the locus of decision-making authority on any particular issue lies with the Ministry of External Affairs, the Council of Ministers, the Office of the Prime Minister, or the prime minister himself.

Besides the Office of the Prime Minister and the Ministry of External Affairs, there are other government agencies that have foreign policy-making roles. In theory, the ministers of defence, commerce, and finance provide input to foreign policy decisions discussed in cabinet meetings, but their influence in practical terms is overshadowed by the predominant position of the prime minister and his advisers. The armed forces are removed from policy making and have influence only through the minister of defence, to whom they are subordinate.

Only a limited role in foreign policy making is provided for India's bicameral Parliament. Negotiated treaties and international agreements become legally binding on the state but are not part of domestic law unless passed by an act of Parliament, which also has no say in the appointment of diplomats and other government representatives dealing with foreign affairs. For the most part, because of the widespread domestic support for India's foreign policy, Parliament has endorsed government actions or sought information. The most important official link between Parliament and the executive in the mid-1990s is the Committee on External Affairs of the Lok Sabha (House of the People), the lower chamber of Parliament. The committee meets regularly and draws its membership from many parties. Usually it has served either as a forum for government briefings or as a deliberative body.

Institutional connections between public opinion and foreign policy making are tenuous as they have been since independence. Although international issues receive considerable attention in the media and in academic circles, the views expressed by journalists and scholars in these publications have little impact on foreign policy making. Interest groups concerned with foreign relations exist inside and outside Parliament but are less organized or articulate than in most other democracies. These organizations include such business groups as the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce International; religious groups, especially among Muslims; and various friendship or cultural societies promoting closer ties with specific countries. Among the latter are informal groups known as the "Russian" and "American" lobbies.

India's relations with the world have evolved since the British Raj (1757–1947), when the British Empire monopolized external and defense relations. When India gained independence in 1947, few Indians had experience in making or conducting foreign policy. However, the country's oldest political party, the Indian National Congress, had established a small foreign department in 1925 to make overseas contacts and to publicize its freedom struggle. From the late 1920s on, Jawaharlal Nehru, who had a long-standing interest in world affairs among independence leaders, formulated the Congress stance on international issues. As a member of the interim government in 1946, Nehru articulated India's approach to the world.

During Nehru's tenure as the first Prime Minister of India (1947-64), he achieved a domestic consensus on the definition of Indian national interests and foreign policy goals — building a unified and integrated nation-state based on secular, democratic principles; defending Indian territory and protecting its security interests; guaranteeing India's independence internationally through nonalignment; and promoting national economic development unencumbered by over-reliance on any country or group of countries. These objectives were closely related to the determinants of India's foreign relations: the historical legacy of South Asia; India's geopolitical position and security requirements; and India's economic needs as a large developing nation. From 1947 until the late 1980s, India's foreign policy goals enabled it to achieve some successes in carving out an independent international role. Regionally, India was the predominant power because of its size, its population (the world's second-largest after China), and its growing military strength. However, relations with its neighbors, Pakistan in particular, were often tense and fraught with conflict. In addition, globally India's nonaligned stance was not a viable substitute for the political and economic role it wished to play.

India's international influence varied over the years after independence. Indian prestige and moral authority were high in the 1950s and facilitated the acquisition of developmental assistance from both East and West. Although the prestige stemmed from India's nonaligned stance, the nation was unable to prevent Cold War politics from becoming intertwined with interstate relations in South Asia. In the 1960s and 1970s, India's international position among developed and developing countries faded in the course of wars with China and Pakistan, disputes with other countries in South Asia, and India's attempt to balance Pakistan's support from the United States and China by signing the Indo-Soviet Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation in August 1971. Although India obtained substantial Soviet military and economic aid, which helped to strengthen the nation, India's influence was undercut regionally and internationally by the perception that its friendship with the Soviet Union prevented a more forthright condemnation of the Soviet presence in Afghanistan. In the late 1980s, India improved relations with the United States, other developed countries, and China while continuing close ties with the Soviet Union. Relations with its South Asian neighbors, especially Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Nepal, occupied much of the energies of the Ministry of External Affairs.

In the 1990s, India's economic problems and the demise of the bipolar world political system forced India to reassess its foreign policy and adjust its foreign relations. Previous policies proved inadequate to cope with the serious domestic and international problems facing India. The end of the Cold War gutted the core meaning of nonalignment and left Indian foreign policy without significant direction. The hard, pragmatic considerations of the early 1990s were still viewed within the nonaligned framework of the past, but the disintegration of the Soviet Union removed much of India's international leverage, for which relations with Russia and the other post-Soviet states could not compensate. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, India improved its relations with the United States, Canada, France, Japan and Germany. In 1992, India established formal diplomatic relations with Israel.

In the mid-1990s, India attracted the world attention towards the alleged Pakistan-backed terrorism in Kashmir. The Kargil War resulted in a major diplomatic victory for India. The United States and European Union recognized the fact that Pakistani military had illegally infiltrated into Indian territory and pressurized Pakistan to withdraw from Kargil. Several anti-India militant groups based in Pakistan were labeled as terrorist groups by the United States and European Union.

In 1998, India tested nuclear weapons for the second time (see Pokhran-II) which resulted in several U.S., Japanese and European sanctions on India. India's then defense minister, George Fernandes, said that India's nuclear program was necessary as it provided a deterrence to potential Chinese nuclear threat. Most of the sanctions imposed on India were removed by 2001.

After the September 11, 2001 attacks, Indian intelligence agencies provided the U.S. with significant information on Al-Qaeda and related groups' activities in Pakistan and Afghanistan. India's extensive contribution to the War on Terrorism, coupled with a surge in its economy, has helped India's diplomatic relations with several countries. Over the past three years, India has held numerous joint military exercises with U.S. and European nations that have resulted in a strengthened U.S.-India and E.U.-India bilateral relationship. India's bilateral trade with Europe and U.S. has more than doubled in the last five years.

India has been pushing for reforms in the UN and WTO with mixed results. India's candidature for a permanent seat at the UN Security Council is currently backed by several countries including France, Russia, the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, Brazil Australia, African Union nations and recently China. In 2004, the United States signed a nuclear co-operation agreement with India even though the latter is not a part of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The US argued that India's strong nuclear non-proliferation record made it an exception, however this has not persuaded other Nuclear Suppliers Group members to sign similar deals with India.

In response to the attack it was reported that India was considering a further force augmentation to for anti-piracy operations. Even at the time of the incident the Navy was in the process of deploying a maritime reconnaissance aircraft in order to respond to merchant vessels under pirate attack more quickly. The matter was reported to be high on the agenda of defence dialogues between India and France that began just days later. Following international praise and U.N. sanction authorising India to go in "hot pursuit" of pirates vessels, India decided to bring the INS Mysore as it was a larger ship and better able to deal with a "growing menace." An Indian naval source said that "The UN approval which allows Indian warships to enter Somali waters has been conveyed to us recently, We can now enter the Somali territorial waters under certain circumstances. It would be only to check piracy." This in turn follows Indian calls for greater cooperation in this fight against piracy.

India reached out to Pakistan as well when the country gave stern warning that it was ready to go by all means necessary to protect itself. The first step came in in an assesment that India may share the latest developments in its investigations into the February 2007 Samjhauta Express bombings as Pakistan was expected to reiterate that India share with them the progress in the investigation. As Pakistani president Asif Ali Zardari promised a "no first use" policy on its nuclear weapons India was set to review progress on the composite dialogue process during the Pakistani foreign minister, Shah Mehmood Qureshi visit on Wednesday. At the same time, as legislative assembly election were running in Jammu and Kashmir. The elections has triggered a war of words between India and Pakistan. The Indian ministry of external affairs has strongly objected to comments made by the Pakistan foreign ministry, questioning the credibility of the ongoing democratic process in Jammu and Kashmir and Indian External Affairs spokesperson commented on Pakistan's reaction to the election that it was "most unfortunate that Pakistan has commented on an internal matter of India. We strongly object to these remarks." The Ministry added that Pakistan ought to behave in a responsible manner as "It is in Pakistan’s own interest to play a responsible role in the region. Comments such as these hardly suggest that it is prepared to do so." This came at the time when Pakistan's Indus Water Commissioner Jamaat Ali Shah said India could make Pakistan a barren land by 2014 by blocking water through construction of dams in violation of the Indus Water Treaty. He said that India had, and continued to, construct dams at various rivers in violation of the Treaty. He said that the Treaty allowed India to generate electricity on the flow of the river but it also said that water to Pakistan cannot be stopped. He commented in regards to India having already stopped water earlier in the year.

India's growing economy, strategic location, friendly foreign policy and large and vibrant diaspora has won it more allies than enemies. India has friendly relations with several countries in the developing world. Though India is not a part of any major military alliance, it has close strategic and military relationship with most of the major powers.

Countries considered India's closest allies include the Russian Federation, Israel, Iran, Nepal, Bhutan, and Tajikistan. After the collapse of the Soviet Union and economic liberalization in 1991, India has fostered a close relationship with the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, and Japan. India's military and economic collaboration with the United States, Japan, Italy, and Israel has grown significantly in the past few years, while it has built upon its traditional military relations with United Kingdom, Russia and France. India has also forged relationships with developing countries, especially South Africa, Brazil, Mexico, and the People's Republic of China (PRC). India, along with Mexico, Brazil, and South Africa, often represents the interests of the developing countries through economic forums such as the G8+5, IBSA and WTO. India played the main role of the representing the G20 developing nations during the Doha Development Round. India's "Look East" Policy has helped it develop greater economic and strategic partnership with South East Asian countries, South Korea, the PRC, Japan, and Taiwan. India also enjoys friendly relations with the Persian Gulf countries and the African Union.

Bilateral relations between India and Afghanistan have been traditionally strong and friendly. While India was the only South Asian country to recognize the Soviet-backed Democratic Republic of Afghanistan in the 1980s, its relations were diminished during the Afghan civil wars and the rule of the Islamist Taliban in the 1990s. India aided the overthrow of the Taliban and became the largest regional provider of humanitarian and reconstruction aid.

The new democratically-elected Afghan government strengthened its ties with India in wake of persisting tensions and problems with Pakistan, which was suspected of continuing to shelter and support the Taliban. India pursues a policy of close cooperation in order to bolster its standing as a regional power and contain its rival Pakistan, which it maintains is supporting Islamic militants in Kashmir and other parts of India. India is the largest regional investor in Afghanistan, having committed more than US$2.2 billion for reconstruction purposes..

Both states are part of the Indian subcontinent and have had a long common cultural, economic and political history. The people of the two countries are indistinguishable to most outsiders. The cultures of the two countries are similar; in particular India's West Bengal state and Bangladesh are both Bengali speaking. India gave large amounts of aid to Bangladesh. In recent years India provides co-operation and assistance during annual natural calamities. India is a supplier of staple foods such as rice and live animals which helps keep their prices affordable for the masses of Bangladesh. Most of differences are of sharing water resources between the two countries. Also Bangladesh has been accused of providing shelter to militants.

In the revised treaty it now reads as, "In keeping with the abiding ties of close friendship and cooperation between Bhutan and India, the Government of the Kingdom of Bhutan and the Government of the Republic of India shall cooperate closely with each other on issues relating to their national interests. Neither government shall allow the use of its territory for activities harmful to the national security and interest of the other." The revised treaty also includes in it the preamble "Reaffirming their respect for each other's independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity", an element that was absent in the earlier version. The Indo-Bhutan Friendship Treaty of 2007 strengthens Bhutan's status as an independent and sovereign nation.

Tata Power, is building a hydro-electric dam. This dam, will greatly develop the Bhutanese economy, by providing employment, and by selling electricity, to India, to fulfil India's burgeoning energy needs. Due to this dam, Bhutan, grew at 20+%, the second highest growth rate in the world.

India was one of the leading supporters of Burmese independence and established diplomatic relations after Burma's independence from Great Britain in 1948. For many years, Indo-Burmese relations were strong due to cultural links, flourishing commerce, common interests in regional affairs and the presence of a significant Indian community in Burma. India provided considerable support when Burma struggled with regional insurgencies. However, the overthrow of the democratic government by the Military of Burma led to strains in ties. Along with much of the world, India condemned the suppression of democracy and Burma ordered the expulsion of the Burmese Indian community, increasing its own isolation from the world. Only China maintained close links with Burma while India supported the pro-democracy movement.

However, due to geo-political concerns, India revived its relations with Burma in 1993 overcoming strains over drug trafficking, the suppression of democracy and the rule of the military junta in Burma. Burma is situated to the south of the states of Mizoram, Manipur, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh in Northeast India. and the proximity of the People's Republic of China gives strategic importance to Indo-Burmese relations. The Indo-Burmese border stretches over 1,600 miles and some insurgents in North-East India seek refuge in Burma. Consequently, India has been keen on increasing military cooperation with Burma in its counter-insurgency activities. In 2001, the Indian Army completed the construction of a major road along its border with Burma. India has also been building major roads, highways, ports and pipelines within Burma in an attempt to increase its strategic influence in the region and also to counter China's growing strides in the Indochina peninsula. Indian companies have also sought active participation in oil and natural gas exploration in Burma.

India is a major customer of Burmese oil and gas. In 2007, Indian exports to Burma totaled US$185 million, while its imports from Burma were valued at around US$810 million, comprising mostly of oil and gas. India has granted US$100 million credit to fund highway infrastructure projects in Burma, while US$ 57 million has been offered to upgrade Burmese railways. A further US$27 million in grants has been pledged for road and rail projects. India is one of the few countries that has provided military assistance to the Burmese junta. However, there has been increasing pressure on India to cut some of its military supplies to Burma. Relations between the two remain close which was evident in the aftermath of Cyclone Nargis, when India was one of the few countries whose relief and rescue aid proposals were accepted by Burma's ruling junta.

India enjoys a considerable influence over Maldives' foreign policy and provides extensive security co-operation especially after Operation Cactus in 1988 during which India repelled Tamil mercenaries who invaded the country. As founder member in 1985 of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, SAARC, which brings together Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, the country plays a very active role in SAARC. The Maldives has taken the lead in calling for a South Asian Free Trade Agreement, the formulation of a Social Charter, the initiation of informal political consultations in SAARC forums, the lobbying for greater action on environmental issues, the proposal of numerous human rights measures such as the regional convention on child rights and for setting up a SAARC Human Rights Resource Centre. The Maldives is also an advocate of greater international profile for SAARC such as through formulating common positions at the UN.

Relations between India and Nepal are close yet fraught with difficulties stemming from geography, economics, the problems inherent in big power-small power relations, and common ethnic and linguistic identities that overlap the two countries' borders. In 1950 New Delhi and Kathmandu initiated their intertwined relationship with the Treaty of Peace and Friendship and accompanying letters that defined security relations between the two countries, and an agreement governing both bilateral trade and trade transiting Indian soil. The 1950 treaty and letters stated that "neither government shall tolerate any threat to the security of the other by a foreign aggressor" and obligated both sides "to inform each other of any serious friction or misunderstanding with any neighboring state likely to cause any breach in the friendly relations subsisting between the two governments." These accords cemented a "special relationship" between India and Nepal that granted Nepal preferential economic treatment and provided Nepalese in India the same economic and educational opportunities as Indian citizens.

Despite historical and cultural links, relations between India and Pakistan have been plagued by years of mistrust and suspicion ever since the partition of India in 1947. The principal source of contention between India and its western neighbor has been the Kashmir conflict. After an invasion by Pashtun tribesmen and Pakistani paramilitary forces, the Hindu Maharaja of the Dogra Kingdom of Jammu and Kashmir, Hari Singh, and its Muslim Prime Minister, Sheikh Abdullah, signed an Instrument of Accession with New Delhi making the state an integral part of the Union of India. The First Kashmir War started after the Indian Army entered Srinagar, the capital of the state, to secure the area from the invading forces. The war ended in December 1948 with the Line of Control dividing the erstwhile princely state into territories administered by Pakistan (northern and western areas) and India (southern, central and northeastern areas). Pakistan contested the legality of the Instrument of Accession since the Dogra Kingdom has signed a standstill agreement with it. The Indo-Pakistani War of 1965 started following the failure of Pakistan's Operation Gibraltar, which was designed to infiltrate forces into Jammu and Kashmir to precipitate an insurgency against rule by India. The five-week war caused thousands of casualties on both sides. It ended in a United Nations (UN) mandated ceasefire and the subsequent issuance of the Tashkent Declaration. India and Pakistan went to war again in 1971, however this time the conflict was over East Pakistan rather than Kashmir. Due to the large-scale atrocities committed by the Pakistan army, millions of Bengali refugees poured over into India. India, along with Mukti Bahini, defeated Pakistan and the Pakistani forces surrendered on the eastern front. The war resulted in the creation of Bangladesh.

In 1998, India carried out the Pokhran-II nuclear tests which was followed by Pakistan's Chagai-I tests. Following the Lahore Declaration in February 1999, relations briefly improved. However, few months later, Kashmiri insurgents and Pakistani paramilitary forces, backed by Pakistani Army, infiltrated in large numbers into the Kargil district of Indian Kashmir. This initiated the Kargil conflict after India moved in thousands of troops to successfully flush out the infiltrators. Though the conflict did not result in a full-scale war between India and Pakistan, relations between the two reached all-time low which worsened even further following Pakistan's alleged involvement in the hijacking of the Indian Airlines IC814 plane in December 1999. Attempts to normalize relations, such as the Agra summit held in July 2001, failed. Following the attack on the Indian Parliament in December 2001, which too was blamed on Pakistan, there was a standoff between the two countries which lasted for nearly a year raising fears of a nuclear conflict. However, a peace process, initiated in 2003, led to improved relations in the last few years.

Since the initiation of peace process, several confidence-building-measures (CBMs) between India and Pakistan have taken shape. The Samjhauta Express and Delhi–Lahore Bus service are one of these successful measures which have played a crucial role in expanding people to people contact between the two countries. The initiation of Srinagar–Muzaffarabad Bus service in 2005 and opening of a historic trade route across the Line of Control in 2008 further reflects increasing eagerness among the two sides to improve relations. Though bilateral trade between India and Pakistan was a modest US$1.7 billion in March 2007, it is expected to cross US$10 billion by 2010.

The recent terror attacks in Mumbai, however, have seriously undermined the relations between the two countries. India is alleging Pakistan of harboring militants on their soil, while Pakistan vehemently denies such claims. The Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, President Asif Zardari, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and the Pakistani consulate in India have been at the fore-front of these denials. Relations are currently hampered since India has sent a list of 40 alleged fugitive in various terror strikes to Pakistan, expecting the handover of the said 40 people to the Indian Government. Pakistan, on the other hand, has openly declared to be having no intentions whatsoever of doing the above said extradition.

Bilateral relations between Sri Lanka and India have been generally friendly, but were controversially affected by the on-going Sri Lankan civil war and by the failure of Indian intervention during the Sri Lankan civil war. India is the only neighbor of Sri Lanka, separated by the Palk Strait; both nations occupy a strategic position in South Asia and have sought to build a common security umbrella in the Indian Ocean.

India-Sri Lanka relations have undergone a qualitative and quantitative transformation in the recent past. Political relations are close, trade and investments have increased dramatically, infrastructural linkages are constantly being augmented, defence collaboration has increased and there is a general, broad-based improvement across all sectors of bilateral cooperation. India was the first country to respond to Sri Lanka's request for assistance after the tsunami in December 2004. In July 2006, India evacuated 430 Sri Lankan nationals from Lebanon, first to Cyprus by Indian Navy ships and then to Delhi & Colombo by special Air India flights.

There exists a broad consensus within the Sri Lankan polity on the primacy of India in Sri Lanka's external relations matrix. Both the major political parties in Sri Lanka, viz., the Sri Lanka Freedom Party and the United Nationalist Party have contributed to the rapid development of bilateral relations in the last ten years. Sri Lanka has supported India's candidature to the permanent membership of the UN Security Council.

The strongest ties between these two states is the commonwealth connection. Cricketing and Bollywood ties also help foster relations as in the frequent travel for games, and, more importantly, the presence of Australian cricketers in India for commercial gain. This was further enhanced with the IPL, and, to a lesser degree, the ICL. Bollywood has also improved ties as with John Howard's visit to Mumbai to increase tourism to Australia, Furthermore, there is a going strategic connection to forming an "Asian NATO" with India, Japan, the US and Australia. The bilateral agreements have worked out for all but the Indo-Australian angle, though this has been hurt by India's refusal to sign the NPT and Australia's consequent refusal to provide India with uranium until the latter do so. The Australian and Indian militaries have already worked well together.

Despite lingering suspicions remaining from the 1962 Sino-Indian War and continuing boundary disputes over Aksai Chin and Arunachal Pradesh, Sino-Indian relations have improved gradually since 1988. Both countries have sought to reduce tensions along the frontier, expand trade and cultural ties, and normalize relations.

A series of high-level visits between the two nations have helped improve relations. In December 1996, PRC President Jiang Zemin visited India during a tour of South Asia. While in New Delhi, he signed with the Indian Prime Minister a series of confidence-building measures for the disputed borders. Sino-Indian relations suffered a brief setback in May 1998 when the Indian Defence minister justified the country's nuclear tests by citing potential threats from the PRC. However, in June 1999, during the Kargil crisis, then-External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh visited Beijing and stated that India did not consider China a threat. By 2001, relations between India and the PRC were on the mend, and the two sides handled the move from Tibet to India of the 17th Karmapa in January 2000 with delicacy and tact. In 2003, India formally recognized Tibet as a part of China, and China recognized Sikkim as a formal part of India in 2004.

Since 2004, the economic rise of both China and India has also helped forge closer relations between the two. Sino-Indian trade reached US$36 billion in 2007, making China the single largest trading partner of India. The increasing economic reliance between India and China has also bought the two nations closer politically, with both India and China eager to resolve their boundary dispute. They have also collaborated on several issues ranging from WTO's Doha round in 2008 to regional free trade agreement. Similar to Indo-US nuclear deal, India and China have also agreed to cooperate in the field of civilian nuclear energy. However, China's economic interests have clashed with those of India. Both the countries are the largest Asian investors in Africa and have competed for control over its large natural resources.

India-Japan relations have always been strong. India has culturally influenced Japan through Buddhism. During the Indian Independence Movement, the Japanese Imperial Army helped Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose's Indian National Army. Relations have remained warm since India's independence. Japanese companies, like Sony, Toyota, and Honda, have manufacturing facilities in India, and with the growth of the Indian economy, India is a big market for Japanese firms. The most prominent Japanese company to have a big investment in India is automobiles giant Suzuki which is in partnership with Indian automobiles company Maruti Suzuki, the largest car manufacturer in India. In December 2006, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to Japan culminated in the signing of the "Joint Statement Towards Japan-India Strategic and Global Partnership". Japan has funded some major infrastructure projects in India, most notably the Delhi Metro subway system. Indian applicants were welcomed in 2006 to the JET Program, starting with just one slot available in 2006 and 41 in 2007. Also, in the year 2007, the Japanese Self Defence Forces took part in a naval exercise in the Indian Ocean, known as Malabar 2007, which also involved the naval forces of India, Australia, Singapore and the United States.

In October 2008, Japan signed an agreement with India under which it would the latter a low-interest loan worth US$4.5 billion to construct a railway project between Delhi and Mumbai. This is the single largest overseas project being financed by Japan and reflects growing economic partnership between the two. India is also one of the only three countries in the world with whom Japan has security pact, the other being Australia and the United States.

In recent years, India has endeavoured to build relations, with this small Southeast Asian nation. They have strong military relations, and India shall be building an Airforce Academy, in Laos.

India's Look East policy, saw India grow relations with ASEAN countries including Thailand, and Thailand's Look West policy, also saw it grow its relations with India. Both countries are members of BIMSTEC. Indian Prime Ministers Rajiv Gandhi, P.V. Narasimha Rao, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, and Manmohan Singh, have visited Thailand as have, Chatichai Choonhavan, Thaksin Shinawatra, and Surayud Chulanont, visited India. In 2003, a Free trade agreement was signed between the two countries. India, is the 13th largest investor in Thailand. The spheres of trade are in chemicals, pharmaceuticals, textiles, nylon, tyre cord, real estate, rayon fibres, paper grade pulps, steel wires, and rods. However, IT Services, and manufacturing, are the main spheres. Through Buddhism, India, has culturally influenced Thailand. The Indian epics, Mahabharata, and Ramayana, are popular in Thailand. Thailand, has become a big tourist destination, for Indians.

India and Singapore share long-standing cultural, commercial and strategic relations, with Singapore being a part of the "Greater India" cultural and commercial region. More than 300,000 people of Indian origin live in Singapore. Following its independence in 1965, Singapore was concerned with China-backed communist threats as well as domination from Malaysia and Indonesia and sought a close strategic relationship with India, which it saw as a counter-balance to Chinese influence and a partner in achieving regional security. Singapore had always been an important strategic trading post, giving India trade access to the Malay archipelago and the Far East. Although the rival positions of both nations over the Vietnam War and the Cold War caused consternation between India and Singapore, their relationship expanded significantly in the 1990s; Singapore was one of the first to respond to India's "Look East" Policy of expanding its economic, cultural and strategic ties in Southeast Asia to strengthen its standing as a regional power. Singapore, and especially, the Singaporean Foreign Minister, George Yeo, have taken an interest, in re-establishing the ancient Indian university, Nalanda University.

Singapore is the 8th largest source of investment in India and the largest amongst ASEAN member nations. It is also India's 9th biggest trading partner as of 2005-06. Its cumulative investment in India totals USD 3 billion as of 2006 and is expected to rise to US 5 billion by 2010 and US 10 billion by 2015. India's economic liberalisation and its "Look East" policy have led to a major expansion in bilateral trade, which grew from USD 2.2 billion in 2001 to US 9-10 billion in 2006 - a 400% growth in span of five years - and to USD 50 billion by 2010. Singapore accounts for 38% of India's trade with ASEAN member nations and 3.4% of its total foreign trade. India's main exports to Singapore in 2005 included petroleum, gemstones, jewellery, machinery and its imports from Singapore included electronic goods, organic chemicals and metals. More than half of Singapore's exports to India are basically "re-exports" - items that had been imported from India.

The cordial relationship between the two countries extends back to 48AD, when Queen Suro, or Princess Heo, travelled from the kingdom of Ayodhya to Korea. According to the Samguk Yusa, the princess had a dream about a heavenly king who was awaiting heaven's anointed ride. After Princess Heo had the dream, she asked her parents, the king and queen, for permission to set out and seek the man, which the king and queen urged with the belief that god orchestrated the whole fate. Upon approval, she set out on a boat, carrying gold, silver, a tea plant, and a stone which calmed the waters. Archeologists discovered a stone with two fish kissing each other, a symbol of the Gaya kingdom that is unique to the Mishra royal family in Ayodhya, India. This royal link provides further evidence that there was an active commercial engagements between India and Korea since the queen's arrival to Korea. Current descendants live in the city of Kimahe as well as abroad in America's state of New Jersey and Kentucky.

The relations between the countries have been relatively limited, although much progress arose during the three decades. Since the formal establishment of the diplomatic ties between two countries in 1973, several trade agreements have been reached. Trade between the two nations has increased exponentially, exemplified by the $530 million during the fiscal year of 1992–1993, and the $10 billion during 2006–2007. During the 1997 Asian financial crisis, South Korean businesses sought to increase access to the global markets, and began trade investments with India. The last two presidential visits from South Korea to India were in 1996 and 2006, and the embassy works between the two countries are seen as needing improvements. Recently, there have been acknowledgments in the Korean public and political spheres that expanding relations with India should be a major economical and political priority for South Korea. Much of the economic investments of South Korea have been drained into China; however, South Korea is currently the fifth largest source of investment in India. To the Times of India, President Roh voiced his opinion that cooperation between India's software and Korea's IT industries would bring very efficient and successful outcomes. The two countries agreed to shift their focus to the revision of the visa policies between the two countries, expansion of trade, and establishment of free trade agreement to encourage further investment between the two countries. Korean companies such as LG and Samsung have established manufacturing and service facilities in India, and several Korean construction companies won grants for a portion of the many infrastructural building plans in India, such as the "National Highway Development Project". Tata Motor's purchase of Daewoo Commercial Vehicles at the cost of $102 million highlights the India's investments in Korea, which consist mostly of subcontracting.

India supported Vietnam's independence from France, opposed U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War and supported unification of Vietnam. India established official diplomatic relations in 1972 and maintained friendly relations, especially in wake of Vietnam's hostile relations with the People's Republic of China, which had become India's strategic rival.

India granted the "Most Favoured Nation" status to Vietnam in 1975 and both nations signed a bilateral trade agreement in 1978 and the Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (BIPPA) on March 8, 1997. In 2007, a fresh joint declaration was issued during the state visit of the Prime Minister of Vietnam Nguyen Tan Dung. Bilateral trade has increased rapidly since the liberalisation of the economies of both Vietnam and India. India is the 13th-largest exporter to Vietnam, with exports have grown steadily from USD 11.5 million in 1985-86 to USD 395.68 million by 2003. Vietnam's exports to India rose to USD 180 million, including agricultural products, handicrafts, textiles, electronics and other goods. Between 2001 and 2006, the volume of bilateral trade expanded at 20-30% per annum to reach USD 1 billion by 2006. Continuing the rapid pace of growth, bilateral trade is expected to rise to USD 2 billion by 2008, 2 years ahead of the official target. India and Vietnam have also expanded cooperation in information technology, education and collaboration of the respective national space programmes. Direct air links and lax visa regulations have been established to bolster tourism.

India and Vietnam are members of the Mekong-Ganga Cooperation, created to develop to enhance close ties between India and nations of Southeast Asia. Vietnam has supported India's bid to become a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council and join the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC). In the 2003 joint declaration, India and Vietnam envisaged creating an "Arc of Advantage and Prosperity" in Southeast Asia; to this end, Vietnam has backed a more important relationship and role between India and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and its negotiation of an Indo-ASEAN free trade agreement. India and Vietnam have also built strategic partnerships, including extensive cooperation on developing atomic energy, enhancing regional security and fighting terrorism, transnational crime and drug trafficking.

After the end of the Cold War, India strengthened its relations with several nations in the Americas, particularly United States, Brazil, Canada and Mexico.

India's commonalities with developing nations in Latin America, especially Brazil and Mexico have continued to grow. India and Brazil continue to work together on the reform of Security Council through the G4 nations while have also increased strategic and economic cooperation through the IBSA Dialogue Forum. The process of finalizing Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) with MERCOSUR (Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay) is on the itinerary and negotiations are being held with Chile. Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was the guest of honour at the 2004 Republic Day celebrations in New Delhi.

Brazil and India are large continental sized countries with social diversity, democratic governments, a multiethnic society, and a large population base. Both possess advanced technologies. The two countries share similar perceptions on issues of interest to developing countries and have cooperated in the multilateral level on issues such as international trade and development, environment, reform of the UN and the UNSC expansion.

There is enormous interest in Brazil on India's culture, religion, performing arts and philosophy. Mohandas Gandhi is highly regarded in the country and the government has sought to teach his philosophy of non-violence to the police to improve its track record. A statue of Mahatma Gandhi is located in a prominent square in Rio de Janeiro. A group called the Filhos de Gandhi (Sons of Gandhi) participates regularly in the carnival in Salvador. Private Brazilian organizations occasionally invite Indian cultural troupes.

In recent years, relations between Brazil and India have grown considerably and co-operation between the two countries has been extended to such diverse areas as science and technology, pharmaceuticals and space. The two-way trade in 2007 nearly tripled to US$ 3.12 billion from US$ 1.2 billion in 2004. India attaches tremendous importance to its relationship with this Latin American giant and hopes to see the areas of co-operation expand in the coming years.

Indo-Canadian relations, are the longstanding bilateral relations between India and Canada, which are built upon a "mutual commitment to democracy", "pluralism", and "people-to-people links," according to the government of Canada. In 2004, bilateral trade between India and Canada was at about C$2.45 billion. However, the botched handling of the Air India investigation and the case in general suffered a setback to Indo-Canadian relations. India's Smiling Buddha nuclear test led to connections between the two countries being frozen, with allegations that India broke the terms of the Colombo Plan. Although Jean Chrétien and Roméo LeBlanc both visited India in the late 1990s, relations were again halted after the Pokhran-II tests.

Historically, relations between India and the United States were somewhat cold following Indian independence, as India took a leading position in the Non-Aligned Movement, and attempted to pursue even-handed economic and military relations with the Soviet Union. For most of the Cold War, the US tended to have warmer relations with Pakistan, primarily as a way to contain Soviet-friendly India and to use Pakistan to back the Afghan Mujahideen against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. An Indo-Soviet twenty year friendship treaty, signed in 1971, also positioned India against the US.

India played a key role in establishing the Non-Aligned Movement in 1961. Though India pursued close relations with both US and USSR, it decided not to join any major power bloc and refrained from joining military alliances. India, however began establishing close military relationship with the Soviet Union.

After the Sino-Indian War and the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965, India made considerable changes to its foreign policy. It developed a close relationship with the Soviet Union and started receiving massive military equipment and financial assistance from the USSR. This had an adverse effect on the Indo-US relationship. The United States saw Pakistan as a counter-weight to pro-Soviet India and started giving the former military assistance. This created an atmosphere of suspicion between India and US. The US-India relationship suffered a considerable setback during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan when India openly supported the Soviet Union.

Relations between India and the United States came to an all-time low during the early 1970s. Despite reports of atrocities in East Pakistan, and being told, most notably in the Blood telegram, of "genocidal" activities being perpetrated by Pakistani forces, U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and U.S. President Richard Nixon did nothing to discourage then Pakistani President Yahya Khan and the Pakistan Army. Kissinger was particularly concerned about Soviet expansion into South Asia as a result of a treaty of friendship that had recently been signed between India and the Soviet Union, and sought to demonstrate to the People's Republic of China the value of a tacit alliance with the United States. During the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, Indian Armed Forces, along with the Mukti Bahini, succeeded in liberating East Pakistan which soon declared independence. Richard Nixon, then US President, feared that an Indian invasion of West Pakistan would mean total Soviet domination of the region, and that it would seriously undermine the global position of the United States and the regional position of America's new tacit ally, China. In order to demonstrate to China the bona fides of the United States as an ally, and in direct violation of the US Congress-imposed sanctions on Pakistan, Nixon sent military supplies to Pakistan, routing them through Jordan and Iran, while also encouraging China to increase its arms supplies to Pakistan.

When Pakistan's defeat in the eastern sector seemed certain, Nixon sent the USS Enterprise to the Bay of Bengal, a move deemed by the Indians as a nuclear threat. The Enterprise arrived on station on December 11, 1971. On 6 December and 13 December, the Soviet Navy dispatched two groups of ships, armed with nuclear missiles, from Vladivostok; they trailed U.S. Task Force 74 into the Indian Ocean from 18 December 1971 until 7 January 1972. The Soviets also sent a nuclear submarine to ward off the threat posed by USS Enterprise in the Indian Ocean.

Though American efforts had no effect in turning the tide of the war, the incident involving USS Enterprise is viewed as the trigger for India's subsequent nuclear program. American policy towards the end of the war was dictated primarily by a need to restrict the escalation of war on the western sector to prevent the 'dismemberment' of West Pakistan. Years after the war, many American writers criticized the White House policies during the war as being badly flawed and ill-serving the interests of the United States. India carried out nuclear tests a few years later resulting in sanctions being imposed by United States, further drifting the two countries apart. In recent years, Kissinger came under fire for comments made during the Indo-Pakistan War in which he described Indians as "bastards." Kissinger has since expressed his regret over the comments .

However, since the end of the Cold War era, India-US relations have improved dramatically. This has largely been fostered by the fact that the US and India are both democracies and have a large and growing trade relationship. During the Gulf War, the economy of India went through an extremely difficult phase. The Government of India liberalized the Indian economy. After the break up of the Soviet Union, India started looking for new allies and tried improving diplomatic relations with the members of the NATO particularly the United States, Canada, France and Germany. In 1992, India established formal diplomatic relations with Israel.

In the mid-1990s, India tried to attract world attention towards the Pakistan backed terrorism in Kashmir. The Kargil War resulted in a major diplomatic victory for India. The United States and European Union recognized the fact that Pakistani military had illegally infiltrated into Indian territory and pressurized Pakistan to withdraw from Kargil. Several anti-India terrorist groups based in Pakistan were labelled as terrorist groups by the United States and European Union.

In 1998, India tested nuclear weapons which resulted in several U.S., Japanese and European sanctions on India. India's then defence minister, George Fernandes, said that India's nuclear program was necessary as it provided a deterrence to some potential nuclear threat. Most of the sanctions imposed on India were removed by 2001. India has categorically stated that it will never use weapons first but will defend if attacked. In fact Pakistan is the first country that India informs if any nuclear tests are on the agenda.

The economic sanctions imposed by the United States in response to India's nuclear tests in May 1998 appeared, at least initially, to seriously damage Indo-American relations. President Bill Clinton imposed wide-ranging sanctions pursuant to the 1994 Nuclear Proliferation Prevention Act. U.S. sanctions on Indian entities involved in the nuclear industry and opposition to international financial institution loans for non-humanitarian assistance projects in India. The United States encouraged India to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) immediately and without condition. The U.S. also called for restraint in missile and nuclear testing and deployment by both India and Pakistan. The non-proliferation dialogue initiated after the 1998 nuclear tests has bridged many of the gaps in understanding between the countries.

After the September 11, 2001 attacks, Indian intelligence agencies provided the U.S. with significant information on Al-Qaeda and related groups' activities in Pakistan and Afghanistan. India's extensive contribution to the War on Terrorism has helped India's diplomatic relations with several countries. Over the past few years, India has held numerous joint military exercises with U.S. and European nations that have resulted in a strengthened U.S.-India and E.U.-India bilateral relationship. India's bilateral trade with Europe and U.S. has more than doubled in the last five years.

However, India has yet to sign the CTBT, or the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, claiming the discriminatory nature of the treaty that allows the five declared nuclear countries of the world to keep their nuclear arsenal and develop it using computer simulation testing. Prior to its nuclear testing, India had pressed for a comprehensive destruction of nuclear weapons by all countries of the world in a time-bound frame. This was not acceptable to the US and other countries. Presently, India has declared its policy of "no-first use of nuclear weapons" and the maintenance of a "credible nuclear deterrence". The US, under President George W. Bush has also lifted most of its sanctions on India and has resumed military co-operation. Relations with US have considerably improved in the recent years, with the two countries taking part in joint naval exercises off the coast of India and joint air exercises both in India as well as in the United States.

India has been pushing for reforms in the UN and WTO with mixed results. India's candidature for a permanent seat at the UN Security Council is currently backed by several countries including United Kingdom, France, Germany, Japan, Brazil, African Union nations and recently People's Republic of China. In 2005, the United States signed a nuclear co-operation agreement with India even though the latter is not a part of the NPT. The US argued that India's strong nuclear non-proliferation record made it an exception and persuaded other NSG members to sign similar deals with India.

On March 2, 2006 India and the US signed the Indo-U.S. Nuclear Pact on co-operation in civilian nuclear field. This was signed during the four days state visit of US president George Bush in India. On its part, India would separate its civilian and military nuclear programs, and the civilian programs would be brought under the safeguards of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The United States would sell India the reactor technologies and the nuclear fuel for setting up and upgrading its civilian nuclear program. The U.S. Congress needs to ratify this pact since U.S. federal law prohibits the trading of nuclear technologies and materials outside the framework of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).

India was one of the first countries to develop relations with the Union, signing bilateral agreements in 1973, when the United Kingdom joined. The most recent cooperation agreement was signed in 1994 and an action plan was signed in 2005. As of April 2007 the Commission is pursuing a free trade agreement with India.

The Union is India's largest trading partner, accounting for 20% of Indian trade. However, India accounts for only 1.8% of the EU's trade and attracts only 0.3% of European Foreign Direct Investment, although still provides India's largest source. During 2005 EU-India trade grew by 20.3%.

There was controversy in 2006 when the Indian Mittal Steel Company sought to take-over the Luxembourg based steel company, Arcelor. The approach met with opposition from France and Luxembourg but was passed by the Commission who stated that were judging it on competition grounds only.

The European Union (EU) and India agreed on September 29,2008 at the EU-India summit in Marseille, France's largest commercial port, to expand their cooperation in the fields of nuclear energy and environmental protection and deepen their strategic partnership. French President Nicolas Sarkozy, the EU's rotating president, said at a joint press conference at the summit that "EU welcomes India, as a large country, to engage in developing nuclear energy, adding that this clean energy will be helpful for the world to deal with the global climate change." Sarkozy also said the EU and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan pledged to accelerate talks on a free trade deal and expected to finish the deal by 2009. The Indian prime minister was also cautiously optimistic about cooperation on nuclear energy. "Tomorrow we have a bilateral summit with France. This matter will come up and I hope some good results will emerge out of that meeting," Singh said when asked about the issue. Singh said that he was "very satisfied" with the results of the summit. He added that EU and India have "common values" and the two economies are complementary to each other. European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, also speaking at Monday's press conference, expounded the joint action plan on adjustments of EU's strategic partnership with India, saying the two sides will strengthen cooperation on world peace and safety, sustainable development, cooperation in science and technology and cultural exchanges.

Reviewing the two sides' efforts in developing the bilateral strategic partnership, the joint action plan reckoned that in politics, dialogue and cooperation have enhanced through regular summits and exchanges of visits and that in economy, mutual investments have increased dramatically in recent years, dialogue in macro economic policies and financial services has established and cooperation in energy, science and technology and environment has been launched. Under the joint action plan, EU and Indian would enhance consultation and dialogue on human rights within the UN framework, strengthen cooperation in world peacekeeping mission, fight against terror and non-proliferation of arms, promote cooperation and exchange in developing civil nuclear energy and strike a free trade deal as soon as possible. France, which relies heavily on nuclear power and is a major exporter of nuclear technology, is expected to sign a deal that would allow it to provide nuclear fuel to India.

Trade between India and the 27-nation EU has more than doubled from 25.6 billion euros ($36.7 billion) in 2000 to 55.6 billion euros last year, with further expansion to be seen. "We have agreed to achieve an annual bilateral trade turnover of 100 billion euros within the next five years," Singh told reporters. A joint statement issued at the end of the summit said the EU and India would work to reach an agreement on climate change by the end of 2009.

Since 1947, India's relations with the United Kingdom have been through bilateral, as well as through the Commonwealth of Nations framework. Although the Sterling Area no longer exists and the Commonwealth is much more an informal forum, India and the UK still have many enduring links. This is in part due to the significant number of people of Indian origin living in the UK. The large South Asian population in the UK results in steady travel and communication between the two countries. The British Raj allowed for both cultures to imbibe tremendously from the other. The English language and cricket are perhaps the two most evident British exports, whilst in the UK Indian music and food are fixtures in daily life. It's also notable that there are many words of Indian origin now common to the language. Furthermore, it is often believed that the British favourite food is Indian Cuisine, although no official study reports this.

Economically the relationship between Britain and India is also strong. India is the second largest investor in Britain after the US. Britain is also one of the largest investors in India. Recently, many British jobs have been moving to the call centres in India.

The Queen's visits to India have been enormously successful along with those by other members of the Royal Family. Britain has also supported India's rise to prominence on the international stage, including advocating a permanent seat on the Security Council. The UK recently gave India a £825 million aid package to help India develop its health and education systems.

France and India established diplomatic relationships soon after India achieved independence in 1947. India's strong diplomatic ties with France resulted in the peaceful cession of Pondicherry to India on November 1, 1954 without any military opposition from France.

France and Russia were the only countries that did not condemn India's decision to go nuclear in 1998. In 2003, France became the largest supplier of nuclear fuel and technology to India and remains a large military and economic trade partner. India's permanent member aspirations in the UN Security Council have found very strong support from former French President Chirac and more recently by the current French President Nicolas Sarkozy. The recent decision by the Indian government to purchase French Scorpène class submarines worth 3 billion USD and 43 Airbus aircraft for Air India worth 2.5 billion USD has further cemented the strategic, military and economic co-operation between India and France.

Nicolas Sarkozy visited India in January 2008 and was the Chief Guest of the Republic Day parade in New Delhi. France, was the first country, to sign a nuclear energy co-operation agreement, with India, during Prime Minister Singh's visit, following the waiver by the Nuclear Suppliers Group.

Despite racial and religious disconnections, India and Italy have enjoyed overall pleasurable and strong relations throughout history. Italy and India are also close economic partners and the former is home to a large population of Indian immigrants. The chief of India's leading political party, The Indian National Congress, Sonia Gandhi, arguably the most powerful Indian woman, is of Italian descent.

India was on the opposite side of the Cold War to West Germany, and on the side of East Germany. However since the Fall of the Berlin wall, and the reunification of Germany, relations have greatly improved. The German ambassador to India, Bernd Mutzelburg, once said that India and Germany, are not just 'natural partners', but important countries in a globalised world. Germany is India's largest trade partner in Europe. German Chancellor, Angela Merkel visited India recently, as did the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visit Germany. Both countries have been working towards gaining permanent seats in the United Nations Security Council. As both countries are strong liberal democracies, they have similar objectives. UN reforms, fighting terrorism and climate change, and promotion of science, education, technology, and human rights, are some areas of shared interests, and collaboration between these two countries. Culturally too, Indian and German writers and philosophers, have influenced each other. Recently, Germany has invested in developing education and skills amongst rural Indians.

Relations between India and Iran date back to the common prehistoric Indo-Iranian heritage (which connects all of Greater Persia and Greater India) and the Indo-Parthian and Indo-Scythian kingdoms of antiquity to the strongly Persianized Islamic empires in India in the 13th to 19th centuries.

After the Iranian Revolution of 1979, Iran withdrew from CENTO and dissociated itself from US-friendly countries, including Pakistan, which automatically entailed improved relationship with the Republic of India.

Currently, the two countries have friendly relations in many areas. There are significant trade ties, particularly in crude oil imports into India and diesel exports to Iran. Iran frequently objected to Pakistan's attempts to draft anti-India resolutions at international organizations such as the OIC. India welcomed Iran's inclusion as an observer state in the SAARC regional organization.

Lucknow continues to be a major centre of Shiite culture and Persian study in the subcontinent.

In the 1990s, India and Iran both supported the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan against the Taliban regime. They continue to collaborate in supporting the broad-based anti-Taliban government led by Hamid Karzai and backed by the United States.

India and the Arab states of the Persian Gulf enjoy strong cultural and economic ties. This is reflected in the fact that more than 50% of the oil consumed by India comes from the Persian Gulf countries and Indian nationals form the largest expatriate community in the Arabian peninsula. The annual remittance by Indian expatriates in the region amounted to US$20 billion in 2007. India is one of the largest trading partners of the CCASG with non-oil trade between India and Dubai alone amounting to US$19 billion in 2007. The Gulf countries have also played an important role in addressing India's energy security concerns, with Saudi Arabia and Kuwait regularly increasing their oil supply to India to meet the country's rising energy demand. In 2005, Kuwait increased its oil exports to India by 10% increasing the net oil trade between the two to US$4.5 billion. In 2008, Qatar decided to invest US$5 billion in India's energy sector.

India has maritime security arrangement in place with Oman and Qatar. In 2008, a landmark defense pact was signed, under which India committed its military assets to protect "Qatar from external threats".

India is a close ally of Bahrain, the Kingdom along with its GCC partners are (according to Indian officials) among the most prominent backers of India's bid for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council, and Bahraini officials have urged India to play a greater role in international affairs. For instance, over concerns about Iran's nuclear programme Bahrain's Crown Prince appealed to India to play an active role in resolving the crisis.

Ties between India and Bahrain go back generations, with many of Bahrain's most prominent figures having close connections: poet and constitutionalist Ebrahim Al-Arrayedh grew up in Bombay, while 17th century Bahraini theologians Sheikh Salih Al-Karzakani and Sheikh Ja`far bin Kamal al-Din were influential figures in the Kingdom of Golkonda and the development of Shia thought in the sub-continent.

Bahraini politicians have sought to enhance these long standing ties, with Parliamentary Speaker Khalifa Al Dhahrani in 2007 leading a delegation of parliamentarians and business leaders to meet Indian President Pratibha Patil, opposition leader L K Advani, and take part in training and media interviews. Politically, it is easier for Bahrain's politicians to seek training and advice from India than it is from the United States or other western alternative.

In December 2007, the Bahrain India Society was launched in Manama to promote ties between the two countries. Headed by the former Minister of Labour Abdulnabi Al Shoala, the Society seeks to take advantage of the development in civil society to actively work to strengthen ties between the two countries, not only business links, but according to the body's opening statement in politics, social affairs, science and culture. India's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs E Ahmed and his Bahraini counterpart Dr Nazar Al Baharna attended the launch.

Iraq was one of the few countries in the Middle East with which India established diplomatic relations at the embassy level immediately after its independence in 1947. Both nations signed the "Treaty of Perpetual Peace and Friendship" in 1952 and an agreement of cooperation on cultural affairs in 1954. India was amongst the first to recognize the Baath Party-led government, and Iraq remained neutral during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965. However, Iraq sided alongside other Gulf States in supporting Pakistan against India during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, which saw the creation of Bangladesh. The eight-year long Iran–Iraq War caused a steep decline in trade and commerce between the two nations.

During the 1991 Persian Gulf War, India remained neutral but permitted refueling for U.S. airplanes. It opposed U.N. sanctions on Iraq, but the period of war and Iraq's isolation further diminished India's commercial and diplomatic ties. From 1999 onwards, Iraq and India began to work towards a stronger relationship. Iraq had supported India's right to conduct nuclear tests following its tests of five nuclear weapons on May 11 and May 13, 1998. In 2000, the then-Vice President of Iraq Taha Yassin Ramadan visited India, and on August 6, 2002 President Saddam Hussein conveyed Iraq's "unwavering support" to India over the Kashmir dispute with Pakistan. India and Iraq established joint ministerial committees and trade delegations to promote extensive bilateral cooperation. Although initially disrupted during the 2003 invasion of Iraq, diplomatic and commercial ties between India and the new democratic government of Iraq have since been normalized.

Bilateral relations between the India and the Saudi Arabia have strengthened considerably owing to cooperation in regional affairs and trade. Saudi Arabia is the one of largest suppliers of oil to India, who is one of the top 7 trading partners and the 5th biggest investor in Saudi Arabia.

India and Saudi Arabia are actively cooperating in the field of science and technology. CSIR and the Saudi Arabian Standards Organisation (SASO) have an ongoing programme of technical cooperation (POC) since June 1993. Under this programme, Indian experts in different scientific areas, particularly in the field of measurement and calibration, are deputed to Saudi Arabia on regular basis. Similarly, several Saudi experts and have undergone advanced training in India. National Physical Laboratory has provided expertise and technology for two important SASO projects related to calibration and teleclock system. CSIR and the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) signed a MoU for bilateral cooperation in 1997 and have an ongoing programme of cooperation, particularly in the field of space science, remote sensing and installation of Internet. Recently a three-member delegation from CSIR, NPL and CFTRI visited SASO during January 2004 and both sides agreed to renew the POC.

India and Israel were on opposite sides during the Cold War, with Israel siding with the NATO countries and India leaning in the direction of the Soviet Union. The creation of Israel was tacitly supported by India's first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru and openly supported by Hindu revivalists such as Vinayak Damodar Savarkar.

However, Israel and India shared a clandestine relationship that involved cooperation between their respective intelligence agencies and the purchase of military hardware by India from Israel. Israel shared India's concerns about the growing danger posed by Pakistan, a nation hostile to India and one that supplied weapons and training to the Arabs against Israel. After the end of the Cold War, formal relations with Israel started improving significantly.

Since the establishment of full diplomatic relations with Israel in 1992, India has had a highly productive relation with the Jewish State. India is regarded as Israel's strongest ally in Asia, and Israel is India's second largest arms supplier. Both countries perceive a common problem with Islamic Terrorism and Islamic Fundamentalism, and have engaged in joint military ventures in an effort to combat this problem.

India has entertained Israeli Prime Minister in a visit in 2003, and Israel has entertained Indian dignitaries such as Finance Minister Jaswant Singh in diplomatic visits. India and Israel collaborate extensively in scientific and technological endeavours. Israel's Minister for Science and Technology has expressed interest in collaborating with the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) towards utilizing satellites for better management of land and other resources. Israel has also expressed interest in participating in ISRO's Chandrayaan Mission involving an unmanned mission to the moon. On January 21, 2008 India successfully launched an Israeli spy satellite into orbit from Sriharikota space station in southern India.

India has remained neutral in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. However, in recent years, India has developed a close relationship with Israel. India is respected by both the Israelis, and the Palestinians. In October 2008, Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, visited India. He asked India to play a greater role, in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, due to its strong relation with both. However, Prime Minister Singh, reiterated India's stand, saying that he favoured a 'peacefully negotiated solution' between the two sides, so that the Palestinians could live with peace, prosperity, and security, alongside Israel.

Due to controversial issues such as Turkey's close relationship with Pakistan and India's strong relations with Greece and Armenia, relations between the two countries have often been blistered at certain times, but better at others. India and Turkey's relationship alters from unsureness to collaboration when the two nations work together to combat terrorism in Central and South Asia, and the Middle East. India and Turkey are also connected by history, seeing as they've known each other since the days of the Ottoman Empire, and seeing as Hindustan was one of the countries to send aid to this west asian nation following its war of independence. The Indian real estate firm GMR, has invested in and is working towards the modernization of Istanbul's Sabiha Gökçen International Airport.

The collapse of the Soviet Union and the emergence of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) had major repercussions for Indian foreign policy. Substantial trade with the former Soviet Union plummeted after the Soviet collapse and has yet to recover. Longstanding military supply relationships were similarly disrupted due to questions over financing, although Russia continues to be India's largest supplier of military systems and spare parts.

India's ties with the Russian Federation are time-tested and based on continuity, trust and mutual understanding. There is national consensus in both the countries on the need to preserve and strengthen India-Russia relations and further consolidate the strategic partnership between the two countries. A Declaration on Strategic Partnership was signed between former Russian President and current Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and former Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in October 2000.

Russia and India have decided not to renew the 1971 Indo-Soviet Peace and Friendship Treaty and have sought to follow what both describe as a more pragmatic, less ideological relationship. Russian President Yeltsin's visit to India in January 1993 helped cement this new relationship. Ties have grown stronger with President Vladimir Putin's 2004 visit. The pace of high-level visits has since increased, as has discussion of major defence purchases. Russia, is working for the development of the Kudankulam nuclear plant, that will be capable of producing 1000 MW of electricity. Gazprom, is working for the development of oil and natural gas, in the Bay of Bengal. India and Russia, have collaborated extensively, on space technology. Other areas of collaboration include software, ayurveda, etc. India and Russia, have set a determination in increasing trade to $10 billion. Counter-terrorism techniques are also in place between Russia and India. In 2007 President Vladimir Putin was guest of honour at Republic Day celebration on 26 January 2007. The year 2008, has been declared by both countries as the Russia-India Friendship Year. Bollywood films are quite popular in Russia. The Indian public-sector oil company ONGC bought Imperial Energy in 2008. In December 2008, during President Medvedev's visit, to New Delhi, India and Russia, signed a nuclear energy co-operation agreement.

Diplomatic relations were established India and Tajikistan following Tajikistan's independence from the 1991 dissolution of the Soviet Union, which had been friendly with India. Tajikistan occupies a strategically important position in Central Asia, bordering Afghanistan, the People's Republic of China and separated by a small strip of Afghan territory from Pakistan. India's role in fighting the Taliban and Al-Qaeda and its strategic rivalry with both China and Pakistan have made its ties with Tajikistan important to its strategic and security policies. Despite their common efforts, bilateral trade has been comparatively low, valued at USD 12.09 million in 2005; India's exports to Tajikistan were valued at USD 6.2 million and its imports at USD 5.89 million. India's military presence and activities have been significant, beginning with India's extensive support to the anti-Taliban Afghan Northern Alliance (ANA). India began renovating the Farkhor Air Base and stationed aircraft of the Indian Air Force there. The Farkhor Air Base became fully operational in 2006, and 12 MiG-29 bombers and trainer aircraft are planned to be stationed there. India is only the fourth nation after the U.S., Russia and Germany to have a military base in Central Asia.

India, is working towards developing strong relations with this resource rich Central Asian country. The Indian oil company, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation, has got oil exploration and petroleum development grants in Kazakhstan. The two countries are collaborating in petrochemicals, information technology, and space technology. Kazakhstan has offered India five blocks for oil and gas exploration. India and Kazakhstan, are to set up joint projects in construction, minerals and metallurgy. India also signed four other pacts, including an extradition treaty, in the presence of President Prathibha Patil and her Kazakh counterpart Nursultan Nazarbayev. Kazakhastan will provide uranium and related products under the MoU between Nuclear Power Corp. of India and KazatomProm. These MoU also opens possibilties of joint exploration of uranium in Kazakhstan, which has the worlds' second largest reserves, and India building atomic power plants in the Central Asian country.

India has had good relationships with most sub-Saharan African nations for most of its history. In the Prime Minister's visit to Mauritius in 1997, the two countries secured a deal to a new Credit Agreement of INR 10.50 crore (3 million USD) to finance import by Mauritius of capital goods, consultancy services and consumer durable from India. The government of India secured a rice and medicine agreement with the people of Seychelles. India continued to build upon its historically close relations with Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. Visits from political ministers from Ethiopia provided opportunities for strengthening bilateral cooperation between the two countries in the fields of education and technical training, water resources management and development of small industries. This has allowed India to gain benefits from nations that are generally forgotten by other Western Nations. The South African President, Thabo Mbeki has called for a strategic relationship between India and South Africa to avoid impositon by Western Nations. India continued to build upon its close and friendly relations with Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The Minister of Foreign Affairs arranged for the sending of Special Envoys to each of these countries during 1996-97 as a reaffirmation of India's assurance to strengthening cooperation with these countries in a spirit of South-South partnership. These relations have created a position of strength with African nations that other nations may not possess.

India has close relations with this oil rich West African country. Twenty percent of India's crude oil needs are met, by Nigeria. 40000 barrels per day of oil, is the amount of oil, that India receives from Nigeria. Trade, between these two countries stands at $875 million in 2005-2006. Indian companies have also invested in manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, iron ore, steel, information technology, and communications, amongst other things. Both India and Nigeria, are members of the Commonwealth of Nations, G-77, and the Non Aligned Movement. The Nigerian President, Olusegun Obasanjo was the guest of honour, at the Republic Day parade, in 1999, and the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, visited Nigeria in 2007, and addressed the Nigerian Parliament.

India and South Africa, have always had strong relations. There is a large group of South Africans, of Indian descent. Mahatma Gandhi, spent many years in South Africa, during which time, he fought for the rights of the ethnic Indians. Nelson Mandela, was inspired by Gandhi. After India's independence, India was strongly against apartheid, and refused diplomatic relations while apartheid was conducted.

The two countries, now have close economic, political, and sports relations. Trade between the two countries grew from $3 million in 1992-1993 to $4 billion in 2005-2006, and aim to reach trade of $12 billion by 2010. One third of India's imports from South Africa is gold bullion. Diamonds, that are mined from South Africa, are polished in India. Nelson Mandela was awarded the Mahatma Gandhi Peace Award. The two countries are also members of the IBSA Dialogue Forum, with Brazil. India hopes to get large amounts of uranium, from resource rich South Africa, for India's growing civilian nuclear energy sector.

Indo-Sudanese relations have always been characterized as longstanding, close, and friendly, even since the early development stages of their countries. The two nations established diplomatic relations shortly after India became known as one of the first Asian countries to recognize the newly independent African country. India and Sudan also share geographic and historical similarities, as well as economic interests. Both countries are former British colonies, and remotely border Saudi Arabia by means of a body of water. India and Sudan continue to have cordial relations, despite issues such as India's close relationship with Israel and Sudan's intimate bonds with Pakistan and Bangladesh. India is also a contributor of a hefty UN peacekeeping force in Darfur.

Nonalignment had its origins in India's colonial experience and the nonviolent Indian independence struggle led by the Congress, which left India determined to be the master of its fate in an international system dominated politically by Cold War alliances and economically by Western capitalism. The principles of nonalignment, as articulated by Nehru and his successors, were preservation of India's freedom of action internationally through refusal to align India with any bloc or alliance, particularly those led by the United States or the Soviet Union; nonviolence and international cooperation as a means of settling international disputes. Nonalignment was a consistent feature of Indian foreign policy by the late 1940s and enjoyed strong, almost unquestioning support among the Indian elite.

The term "Non-Alignment" itself was coined by Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru during his speech in 1954 in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Described by WTO chief Pascal Lamy as one of the organization's "big brothers", India was instrumental in bringing down the Doha round of talks in 2008. It has played an important role of representing as many as 100 developing nations during WTO summits.

Certain aspects of India's relations within the subcontinent are conducted through the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC). Its members are Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. Established in 1985, SAARC encourages cooperation in agriculture, rural development, science and technology, culture, health, population control, narcotics control and anti-terrorism.

SAARC has intentionally stressed these "core issues" and avoided more divisive political issues, although political dialogue is often conducted on the margins of SAARC meetings. In 1993, India and its SAARC partners signed an agreement to gradually lower tariffs within the region. Forward movement in SAARC has come to a standstill because of the tension between India and Pakistan, and the SAARC Summit originally scheduled for, but not held in, November 1999 has not been rescheduled. The Fourteenth SAARC Summit was held during 3 - 4 April 2007 in New Delhi.

India's territorial disputes with neighboring Pakistan and People's Republic of China have played a crucial role in its foreign policy. India is also involved in minor territorial disputes with neighboring Bangladesh, Nepal and Maldives. India currently maintains two manned stations in Antarctica but has not made any official territorial claims.

The dispute between India and Nepal involves about 75 km² of area in Kalapani, where China, India, and Nepal meet. Indian forces occupied the area in 1962 after China and India fought their border war. Three villages are located in the disputed zone: Kuti , Gunji, and Knabe. India and Nepal disagree about how to interpret the 1816 Sugauli treaty between the British East India Company and Nepal, which delimited the boundary along the Maha Kali River (Sarda River in India). The dispute intensified in 1997 as the Nepali parliament considered a treaty on hydro-electric development of the river. India and Nepal differ as to which stream constitutes the source of the river. Nepal regards the Limpiyadhura as the source; India claims the Lipu Lekh. Nepal has reportedly tabled an 1856 map from the British India Office to support its position. The countries have held several meetings about the dispute and discussed jointly surveying to resolve the issue. Although the Indo-Nepali dispute appears to be minor, it was aggravated in 1962 by tensions between China and India. Because the disputed area lies near the Sino-Indian frontier, it gains strategic value.

Two regions are claimed by both India and China. Aksai Chin is in the disputed territory of Kashmir, at the junction of Pakistan, Tibet and India. India claims the 38,000-square-kilometre territory, currently administered by China. Arunachal Pradesh is a state of India in the country's northeast, bordering on Bhutan, Bangladesh, Myanmar and China. Though it is under Indian administration, China calls the 90,000-square-kilometre area South Tibet.

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Economy of India

Farmers work inside a rice field in Andhra Pradesh. India is the second largest producer of rice in the world[48] and Andhra Pradesh is the 3rd largest rice producing state in India.[49]

The economy of India is the twelfth largest in the world by market exchange rates and the fourth largest in the world by GDP, measured on a purchasing power parity (PPP) basis. The country was under socialist-based policies for an entire generation from the 1950s until the 1980s. The economy suffered from extensive regulation, protectionism, and public ownership, leading to pervasive corruption and slow growth. Since 1991, continuing economic liberalization has moved the economy towards a market-based system.

As of 2007, agriculture is the predominant occupation in India, accounting for 60% of employment. The service sector makes up a further 28%, industry around 12%. One estimate is that only one in five job-seekers has had any sort of vocational training. The labor force totals half a billion workers. For output, the agricultural sector accounts for 18% of GDP; the service and industrial sectors make up 54% and 28% respectively. Major agricultural products include rice, wheat, oilseed, cotton, jute, tea, sugarcane, potatoes, cattle, water buffalo, sheep, goats, poultry and fish. Major industries include textiles, chemicals, food processing, steel, transportation equipment, cement, mining, petroleum, machinery and software design. India's GDP is $1.089 trillion, which makes it the twelfth-largest economy in the world or fourth largest by purchasing power adjusted exchange rates. India's nominal per capita income of $977 is ranked 128th in the world. In the late 2000s, India's growth has averaged 7.5% a year, increases which will double the average income within a decade.Unemployment rate is 7.2% (2007 estimate).

Previously a closed economy, India's trade has grown fast. India currently accounts for 1.5% of World trade as of 2007 according to the WTO. According to the World Trade Statistics of the WTO in 2006, India's total merchandise trade (counting exports and imports) was valued at $294 billion in 2006 and India's services trade inclusive of export and import was $143 billion. Thus, India's global economic engagement in 2006 covering both merchandise and services trade was of the order of $437 billion, up by a record 72 percent from a level of $253 billion in 2004. India's trade has reached a still relatively moderate share 24% of GDP in 2006, up from 6% in 1985.

India's recent economic growth has widened economic inequality across the country. Despite sustained high economic growth rate, approximately 80% of its population lives on less than $2 a day (PPP), more than double the same poverty rate in China. Even though the arrival of Green Revolution brought end to famines in India, 40% of children under the age of three are underweight and a third of all men and women suffer from chronic energy deficiency.

India's economic history can be broadly divided into three eras, beginning with the pre-colonial period lasting up to the 17th century. The advent of British colonisation started the colonial period in the 17th century, which ended with independence in 1947. The third period stretches from independence in 1947 until now.

The citizens of the Indus Valley civilisation, a permanent and predominantly urban settlement that flourished between 2800 BC and 1800 BC, practiced agriculture, domesticated animals, used uniform weights and measures, made tools and weapons, and traded with other cities. Evidence of well planned streets, a drainage system and water supply reveals their knowledge of urban planning, which included the world's first urban sanitation systems and the existence of a form of municipal government.

The 1872 census revealed that 99.3% of the population of the region constituting present-day India resided in villages, whose economies were largely isolated and self-sustaining, with agriculture the predominant occupation. This satisfied the food requirements of the village and provided raw materials for hand-based industries, such as textiles, food processing and crafts. Although many kingdoms and rulers issued coins, barter was prevalent. Villages paid a portion of their agricultural produce as revenue to the rulers, while its craftsmen received a part of the crops at harvest time for their services.

Religion, especially Hinduism, and the caste and the joint family systems, played an influential role in shaping economic activities. The caste system functioned much like medieval European guilds, ensuring the division of labour, providing for the training of apprentices and, in some cases, allowing manufacturers to achieve narrow specialization. For instance, in certain regions, producing each variety of cloth was the specialty of a particular sub-caste.

Textiles such as muslin, Calicos, shawls, and agricultural products such as pepper, cinnamon, opium and indigo were exported to Europe, the Middle East and South East Asia in return for gold and silver.

Assessment of India's pre-colonial economy is mostly qualitative, owing to the lack of quantitative information. One estimate puts the revenue of Akbar's Mughal Empire in 1600 at £17.5 million, in contrast with the total revenue of Great Britain in 1800, which totalled £16 million. India, by the time of the arrival of the British, was a largely traditional agrarian economy with a dominant subsistence sector dependent on primitive technology. It existed alongside a competitively developed network of commerce, manufacturing and credit. After the fall of the Mughals, India was administered by Maratha Empire. The Maratha Empire's budget in 1740s, at its peak, was Rs. 100 million. After the loss at Panipat, the Maratha Empire disintegrated into confederate states of Gwalior, Baroda, Indore, Jhansi, Nagpur, Pune and Kolhapur. Gwalior state had a budget of Rs. 30M. However, at this time, British East India company entered the Indian political theatre. Until 1857, when India was firmly under the British crown, the country remained in a state of political instability due to internecine wars and conflicts.

Company rule in India brought a major change in the taxation environment from revenue taxes to property taxes resulting in mass impoverishment and destitution of the great majority of farmers, resulting in numerous famines. The economic policies of the British Raj effectively destroyed India's large handicrafts industry and caused a massive drain of India's resources. An estimate by Cambridge University historian Angus Maddison reveals that India's share of the world income fell from 22.6% in 1700, comparable to Europe's share of 23.3%, to a low of 3.8% in 1952. It also created an institutional environment that, on paper, guaranteed property rights among the colonizers, encouraged free trade, and created a single currency with fixed exchange rates, standardized weights and measures, capital markets, a well developed system of railways and telegraphs, a civil service that aimed to be free from political interference, and a common-law, adversarial legal system. India's colonisation by the British coincided with major changes in the world economy—industrialisation, and significant growth in production and trade. However, at the end of colonial rule, India inherited an economy that was one of the poorest in the developing world, with industrial development stalled, agriculture unable to feed a rapidly growing population, one of the world's lowest life expectancies, and low rates of literacy.

The impact of the British rule on India's economy is a controversial topic. While leaders of the Indian independence movement, and left-nationalist economic historians have blamed colonial rule for the dismal state of India's economy in its aftermath, right-wing historians have countered that India's economic performance was due to various sectors being in a state of growth and decline, resulting from changes brought about by colonialism and a world that was moving towards industrialization and economic integration.

Indian economic policy after independence was influenced by the colonial experience (which was seen by Indian leaders as exploitative in nature) and by those leaders' exposure to Fabian socialism. Policy tended towards protectionism, with a strong emphasis on import substitution, industrialization, state intervention in labor and financial markets, a large public sector, business regulation, and central planning. Five-Year Plans of India resembled central planning in the Soviet Union. Steel, mining, machine tools, water, telecommunications, insurance, and electrical plants, among other industries, were effectively nationalized in the mid-1950s. Elaborate licences, regulations and the accompanying red tape, commonly referred to as Licence Raj, were required to set up business in India between 1947 and 1990.

Jawaharlal Nehru, the first prime minister, along with the statistician Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis, carried on by Indira Gandhi formulated and oversaw economic policy. They expected favorable outcomes from this strategy, because it involved both public and private sectors and was based on direct and indirect state intervention, rather than the more extreme Soviet-style central command system. The policy of concentrating simultaneously on capital- and technology-intensive heavy industry and subsidizing manual, low-skill cottage industries was criticized by economist Milton Friedman, who thought it would waste capital and labour, and retard the development of small manufacturers.

India's low average growth rate from 1947–80 was derisively referred to as the Hindu rate of growth, because of the unfavourable comparison with growth rates in other Asian countries, especially the "East Asian Tigers".

The Rockefeller Foundation's research in high-yielding varieties of seeds, their introduction after 1965 and the increased use of fertilizers and irrigation are known collectively as the Green Revolution, which provided the increase in production needed to make India self-sufficient in food grains, thus improving agriculture in India. Famine in India, once accepted as inevitable, has not returned since the introduction of Green Revolution crops.

In the late 80s, the government led by Rajiv Gandhi eased restrictions on capacity expansion for incumbents, removed price controls and reduced corporate taxes. While this increased the rate of growth, it also led to high fiscal deficits and a worsening current account. The collapse of the Soviet Union, which was India's major trading partner, and the first Gulf War, which caused a spike in oil prices, caused a major balance-of-payments crisis for India, which found itself facing the prospect of defaulting on its loans. India asked for a $1.8 billion bailout loan from IMF, which in return demanded reforms.

In response, Prime Minister Narasimha Rao along with his finance minister Manmohan Singh initiated the economic liberalisation of 1991. The reforms did away with the Licence Raj (investment, industrial and import licensing) and ended many public monopolies, allowing automatic approval of foreign direct investment in many sectors. Since then, the overall direction of liberalisation has remained the same, irrespective of the ruling party, although no party has tried to take on powerful lobbies such as the trade unions and farmers, or contentious issues such as reforming labour laws and reducing agricultural subsidies. Since 1990 India has emerged as one of the fastest-growing economies in the developing world; during this period, the economy has grown constantly, but with a few major setbacks. This has been accompanied by increases in life expectancy, literacy rates and food security.

While the credit rating of India was hit by its nuclear tests in 1998, it has been raised to investment level in 2007 by S&P and Moody's. In 2003, Goldman Sachs predicted that India's GDP in current prices will overtake France and Italy by 2020, Germany, UK and Russia by 2025 and Japan by 2035. By 2035, it was projected to be the third largest economy of the world, behind US and China.

File:IndianEconomicForecast.SVG In the revised 2007 figures, based on increased and sustaining growth, more inflows into foreign direct investment, Goldman Sachs predicts that "from 2007 to 2020, India’s GDP per capita in US$ terms will quadruple", and that the Indian economy will surpass the United States (in US$) by 2043. Despite high growth rate, the report stated that India would continue to remain a low-income country for several decades but can be a "motor for the world economy" if it fulfills its growth potential. Goldman Sachs has outlined 10 things that it needs to do in order to achieve its potential and grow 40 times by 2050. These are 1.improve governance 2.raise educational achievement 3.increase quality and quantity of universities 4.control inflation 5.introduce a credible fiscal policy 6.liberalize financial markets 7.increase trade with neighbours 8.increase agricultural productivity 9.improve infrastructure and 10.improve environmental quality.

India ranks second worldwide in farm output. Agriculture and allied sectors like forestry, logging and fishing accounted for 16.6% of the GDP in 2007, employed 60% of the total workforce and despite a steady decline of its share in the GDP, is still the largest economic sector and plays a significant role in the overall socio-economic development of India. Yields per unit area of all crops have grown since 1950, due to the special emphasis placed on agriculture in the five-year plans and steady improvements in irrigation, technology, application of modern agricultural practices and provision of agricultural credit and subsidies since Green revolution in India. However, international comparisons reveal that the average yield in India is generally 30% to 50% of the highest average yield in the world.

India is the largest producer in the world of milk, cashew nuts, coconuts, tea, ginger, turmeric and black pepper. It also has the world's largest cattle population (193 million). It is the second largest producer of wheat, rice, sugar, groundnut and inland fish. It is the third largest producer of tobacco. India accounts for 10% of the world fruit production with first rank in the production of banana and sapota.

Industry accounts for 27.6% of the GDP and employ 17% of the total workforce. However, about one-third of the industrial labour force is engaged in simple household manufacturing only. In absolute terms, India is 16th in the world in terms of nominal factory output. Despite this, India emits only around fifth of the carbon that the United States does.

Economic reforms brought foreign competition, led to privatisation of certain public sector industries, opened up sectors hitherto reserved for the public sector and led to an expansion in the production of fast-moving consumer goods. Post-liberalisation, the Indian private sector, which was usually run by oligopolies of old family firms and required political connections to prosper was faced with foreign competition, including the threat of cheaper Chinese imports. It has since handled the change by squeezing costs, revamping management, focusing on designing new products and relying on low labour costs and technology.

Textile manufacturing is the second largest source for employment after agriculture and accounts for 26% of manufacturing output. Tirupur has gained universal recognition as the leading source of hosiery, knitted garments, casual wear and sportswear. Dharavi slum in Mumbai has gained fame for leather products. Tata Motors' Nano attempts to be the world's cheapest car.

India is fifteenth in services output. It provides employment to 23% of work force, and it is growing fast, growth rate 7.5% in 1991–2000 up from 4.5% in 1951–80. It has the largest share in the GDP, accounting for 55% in 2007 up from 15% in 1950.

Most Indian shopping takes place in open markets and millions of independent grocery shops called kirana. Organized retail such supermarkets accounts for just 4% of the market as of 2008. Regulations prevent most foreign investment in retailing. Moreover, over thirty regulations such as "signboard licences" and "anti-hoarding measures" may have to be complied before a store can open doors. There are taxes for moving goods to states, from states, and even within states.

Tourism in India is relatively undeveloped, but growing at double digits. Some hospitals woo medical tourism.

More than half of personal savings are invested in physical assets such as land, houses, cattle, and gold.

The public sector banks hold over 75% of total assets of the banking industry, with the private and foreign banks holding 18.2% and 6.5% respectively. Since liberalisation, the government has approved significant banking reforms. While some of these relate to nationalised banks (like encouraging mergers, reducing government interference and increasing profitability and competitiveness), other reforms have opened up the banking and insurance sectors to private and foreign players.

Bombay Stock Exchange is the largest stock exchange in South Asia.

India's total cultivable area is 1,269,219 km² (56.78% of total land area), which is decreasing due to constant pressure from an ever growing population and increased urbanisation.

India has a total water surface area of 314,400 km² and receives an average annual rainfall of 1,100 mm. Irrigation accounts for 92% of the water utilisation, and comprised 380 km² in 1974, and is expected to rise to 1,050 km² by 2025, with the balance accounted for by industrial and domestic consumers. India's inland water resources comprising rivers, canals, ponds and lakes and marine resources comprising the east and west coasts of the Indian ocean and other gulfs and bays provide employment to nearly 6 million people in the fisheries sector. In 2008, India had the world's third largest fishing industry.

India's major mineral resources include Coal (3rd-largest reserves in the world), Iron ore, Manganese, Mica, Bauxite, Titanium ore, Chromite, Natural gas, Diamonds, Petroleum, Limestone and Thorium (world's largest along Kerala's shores). India's oil reserves, found in Bombay High off the coast of Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan and in eastern Assam meet 25% of the country's demand.

Rising energy demand concomitant with economic growth has created a perpetual state of energy crunch in India. India is poor in oil resources and is currently heavily dependent on coal and foreign oil imports for its energy needs. Though India is rich in Thorium, but not in Uranium, which it might get access to in light of the nuclear deal with US. India is rich in certain energy resources which promise significant future potential - clean / renewable energy resources like solar, wind, biofuels (jatropha, sugarcane).

Until the liberalisation of 1991, India was largely and intentionally isolated from the world markets, to protect its fledging economy and to achieve self-reliance. Foreign trade was subject to import tariffs, export taxes and quantitative restrictions, while foreign direct investment was restricted by upper-limit equity participation, restrictions on technology transfer, export obligations and government approvals; these approvals were needed for nearly 60% of new FDI in the industrial sector.

India currently accounts for 1.2% of World trade as of 2006 according to the WTO. Despite reducing import restrictions several times in the 2000s, International trade as a proportion of GDP reached 24% by 2006, up from 6% in 1985 and still relatively moderate. India was evaluated by the World Trade Organization in 2008 as more restrictive than similar developing economies, such as Brazil, China, and Russia. The WTO also identified electricity shortages and inadequate transportation infrastructure as significant constraints on trade.

Since independence, India's balance of payments on its current account has been negative.

Foreign direct investment in India has reached 2% of GDP, compared with 0.1% in 1990, and Indian investment in other countries rose sharply in 2006. A number of changes were approved on the FDI policy to remove the caps in most sectors. Fields which require relaxation in FDI restrictions include civil aviation, construction development, industrial parks, petroleum and natural gas, commodity exchanges, credit-information services and mining. But this still leaves an unfinished agenda of permitting greater foreign investment in politically sensitive areas such as insurance and retailing. FDI inflows into India reached a record US$19.5bn in fiscal year 2006/07 (April-March), according to the government's Secretariat for Industrial Assistance. This was more than double the total of US$7.8bn in the previous fiscal year. The FDI inflow for 2007-08 has been reported as $24bn and for 2008-09, it is expected to be above $35 billion. A critical factor in determining India's continued economic growth and realizing the potential to be an economic superpower is going to depend on how the government can create incentives for FDI flow across a large number of sectors in India.

M The Indian rupee is the only legal tender accepted in India. The exchange rate as of March 07,2009 is 51.725 rupees to a US dollar, 65.4498 to a Euro, and 72.8726 to a UK pound. The Indian rupee is accepted as legal tender in the neighboring Nepal and Bhutan, both of which peg their currency to that of the Indian rupee. The rupee is divided into 100 paise. The highest-denomination banknote is the 1,000 rupee note; the lowest-denomination coin in circulation is the 25 paise coin (it earlier had 1,2,5,10 and 20 paise coins which have been discontinued by the Reserve Bank of India). There has been a recent fall in the value of the Rupee as a result of the global financial crisis of 2008, as foreign institutional investors sold $14 billion worth of Indian stocks in 2008 and invested in US treasury bonds.

India inherited several institutions, such as the civil services, Reserve Bank of India, railways, etc., from its British rulers. Mumbai serves as the nation's commercial capital, with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) and the National Stock Exchange (NSE) located here. The headquarters of many financial institutions are also located in the city.

The RBI, the country's central bank was established on April 1, 1935. It serves as the nation's monetary authority, regulator and supervisor of the financial system, manager of exchange control and as an issuer of currency. The RBI is governed by a central board, headed by a governor who is appointed by the Central government of India.

As of 2005, 85.7% of the population lives on less than $2.50 (PPP) a day, down from 92.5% in 1981. This compares with 80.5% in Sub-Saharan Africa. 75.6% of the population lives on less than $2 a day (PPP), which is around 20 rupees or $0.5 a day in nominal terms. It was down from 86.6% and compares with 73.0% in Sub-Saharan Africa. A 24.3% of the population earned less than $1 (PPP, around $0.25 in nominal terms) a day in 2005, down from 42.1% in 1981. 41.6% of its population is living below the new international poverty line of $1.25 (PPP) per day, down from 59.8% in 1981. The World Bank further estimates that a third of the global poor now reside in India.

Today, more people afford to a bicycle than ever before. Some 40% of Indian households owns a bicycle, with ownership rates ranging from around 30% to 70% at state level. Housing is still very modest. According to Times of India, "a majority of Indians have per capita space equivalent to or less than a 10 feet x 10 feet room for their living, sleeping, cooking, washing and toilet needs." and "one in every three urban Indians lives in homes too cramped to exceed even the minimum requirements of a prison cell in the US." The average is 103 sq ft per person in rural areas and 117 sq ft per person in urban areas.

Since the early 1950s, successive governments have implemented various schemes, under planning, to alleviate poverty, that have met with partial success. All these programmes have relied upon the strategies of the Food for work programme and National Rural Employment Programme of the 1980s, which attempted to use the unemployed to generate productive assets and build rural infrastructure. In August 2005, the Indian parliament passed the Rural Employment Guarantee Bill, the largest programme of this type in terms of cost and coverage, which promises 100 days of minimum wage employment to every rural household in 200 of India's 600 districts. The question of whether economic reforms have reduced poverty or not has fuelled debates without generating any clear cut answers and has also put political pressure on further economic reforms, especially those involving the downsizing of labour and cutting agricultural subsidies.

Agricultural and allied sectors accounted for about 57% of the total workforce in 1999–2000, down from 60% in 1993–94. While agriculture has faced stagnation in growth, services have seen a steady growth. Of the total workforce, 8% is in the organised sector, two-thirds of which are in the public sector. The NSSO survey estimated that in 1999–2000, 106 million, nearly 10% of the population were unemployed and the overall unemployment rate was 7.32%, with rural areas doing marginally better (7.21%) than urban areas (7.65%). India's labor force is growing by 2.5% every year, but employment is growing only at 2.3% a year.

India's labor force is growing by 2.5% every year, but employment is growing only at 2.3% a year. Official unemployment exceeds 9%. Regulation and other obstacles have discouraged the emergence of formal businesses and jobs. Almost 30% of workers are casual workers who work only when they are able to get jobs and remain unpaid for the rest of the time. Only 10% of the workforce is in regular employment. India's labor regulations are heavy even by developing country standards and analysts have urged the government to abolish them.

Unemployment in India is characterized by chronic underemployment or disguised unemployment. Government schemes that target eradication of both poverty and unemployment (which in recent decades has sent millions of poor and unskilled people into urban areas in search of livelihoods) attempt to solve the problem, by providing financial assistance for setting up businesses, skill honing, setting up public sector enterprises, reservations in governments, etc. The decreased role of the public sector after liberalization has further underlined the need for focusing on better education and has also put political pressure on further reforms.

Child labor is a complex problem that is basically rooted in poverty. The Indian government is implementing the world's largest child labor elimination program, with primary education targeted for ~250 million. Numerous non-governmental and voluntary organizations are also involved. Special investigation cells have been set up in states to enforce existing laws banning employment of children (under 14) in hazardous industries. The allocation of the Government of India for the eradication of child labor was $10 million in 1995-96 and $16 million in 1996-97. The allocation for 2007 is $21 million.

In 2006, remittances from Indian migrants overseas made up $27 billion or about 3% of India's GDP.

Slow agricultural growth is a concern for policymakers as some two-thirds of India’s people depend on rural employment for a living. Current agricultural practices are neither economically nor environmentally sustainable and India's yields for many agricultural commodities are low. Poorly maintained irrigation systems and almost universal lack of good extension services are among the factors responsible. Farmers' access to markets is hampered by poor roads, rudimentary market infrastructure, and excessive regulation.

India has many farm insurance companies that insure wheat, fruit, rice and rubber farmers in the event of natural disasters or catastrophic crop failure, under the supervision of the Ministry of Agriculture. One notable company that provides all of these insurance policies is agriculture insurance company of india and it alone insures almost 20 million farmers.

India's population is growing faster than its ability to produce rice and wheat. The most important structural reform for self-sufficiency is the ITC Limited plan to connect 20,000 villages to the Internet by 2013. This will provide farmers with up to date crop prices for the first time, which should minimise losses incurred from neighbouring producers selling early and in turn facilitate investment in rural areas.

India ranked 120th on the Ease of Doing Business Index 2008, behind countries such as China (83rd), Pakistan (86th), and Nigeria (108th).

Corruption has been one of the pervasive problems affecting India. The economic reforms of 1991 reduced the red tape, bureaucracy and the Licence Raj that had strangled private enterprise and was blamed for the corruption and inefficiencies. Yet, a 2005 study by Transparency International (TI) India found that more than half of those surveyed had firsthand experience of paying bribe or peddling influence to get a job done in a public office.

The Right to Information Act (2005) and equivalent acts in the states, that require government officials to furnish information requested by citizens or face punitive action, computerisation of services and various central and state government acts that established vigilance commissions have considerably reduced corruption or at least have opened up avenues to redress grievances. The 2007 report by Transparency International ranks India at 72nd place and states that significant improvements were made by India in reducing corruption.

The current government has concluded that most spending fails to reach its intended recipients. Lant Pritchett calls India's public sector "one of the world's top ten biggest problems - of the order of AIDS and climate change". The Economist's article about Indian civil service (2008) says that Indian central government employs around 3 million people and states another 7 million, including "vast armies of paper-shuffling peons". Million dollar bureaucracies can be run without a single computer in the management.

At local level, administration can be worse. It is not unheard of that most state assembly seats are held by convicted criminals. One study found out that 25% of public sector teachers and 40% of public sector medical workers could not be found at the workplace. India's absence rates are one of the worst in the world.

The Reserve Bank of India has warned that India's public-debt to GDP ratio is over 70 percent. The government of India is highly indebted and its former investment-grade status has deteriorated near junk status.

India has made huge progress in terms of increasing primary education attendance rate and expanding literacy to approximately two thirds of the population. However, education is still far behind developing countries such as China. Most children never attend secondary schools. An optimistic estimate is that only one in five job-seekers in India has ever had any sort of vocational training.

Development of infrastructure was completely in the hands of the public sector and was plagued by corruption, bureaucratic inefficiencies, urban-bias and an inability to scale investment. India's low spending on power, construction, transportation, telecommunications and real estate, at $31 billion or 6% of GDP in 2002 had prevented India from sustaining higher growth rates. This has prompted the government to partially open up infrastructure to the private sector allowing foreign investment which has helped in a sustained growth rate of close to 9% for the past six quarters.

Some 600 million Indians have no mains electricity at all. While 80 percent of Indian villages have at least an electricity line, just 44 percent of rural households have access to electricity. According to a sample of 97,882 households in 2002, electricity was the main source of lighting for 53% of rural households compared to 36% in 1993. Some half of the electricity is stolen, compared with 3% in China. The stolen electricity amounts to 1.5% of GDP. Almost all of the electricity in India is produced by the public sector. Power outages are common. Many buy their own power generators to ensure electricity supply. As of 2005 the electricity production was at 661.6 billion kWh with oil production standing at 785,000 bbl/day. In 2007, electricity demand exceeded supply by 15%. Multi Commodity Exchange has tried to get a permit to offer electricity future markets.

Indian Road Network is developing. Trucking goods from Gurgaon to the port in Mumbai can take up to 10 days. Taxes and bribes are common between state borders; Transparency International estimates that truckers pay annually $5 billion in bribes. India has the world's second largest road network. Although India has only 1% of the world's vehicles, India has 8 per cent of the world's vehicle fatalities.

Container traffic is growing at 15% a year. Some 60% of India’s container traffic is handled by the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust in Mumbai. It has just 9 berths compared to 40 in Singapore's main port. It takes an average of 21 days to clear import cargo in India compared to just 3 in Singapore. China had 30 times more container traffic in 2004.

Internet use is rare; there were only 2.1 million broadband lines in India in January 2007.

Most cities supply water only a few hours a day and none provides 24h water. A World Bank report says it is an institutional problem in water agencies, or "how the agency is embedded in the relationships between politics and the citizens who are the consumers." Only 13% of sewage is treated according to one estimate, leaving rivers and other water resources under severe strain. Some 700 million Indians do not have access to a proper toilet.

India’s labor regulations - among the most restrictive and complex in the world - have constrained the growth of the formal manufacturing sector where these laws have their widest application. Better designed labor regulations can attract more labor- intensive investment and create jobs for India’s unemployed millions and those trapped in poor quality jobs. Given the country’s momentum of growth, the window of opportunity must not be lost for improving the job prospects for the 80 million new entrants who are expected to join the work force over the next decade.

India's restrictive labor regulations hamper the large-scale creation of formal industrial jobs.

Lagging states need to bring more jobs to their people by creating an attractive investment destination. Reforming cumbersome regulatory procedures, improving rural connectivity, establishing law and order, creating a stable platform for natural resource investment that balances business interests with social concerns, and providing rural finance are important.

One of the critical problems facing India's economy is the sharp and growing regional variations among India's different states and territories in terms of per capita income, poverty, availability of infrastructure and socio-economic development. Seven low-income states - Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh - are home to more than half of India's population.

Between 1999 and 2008, the annualized growth rates for Gujarat (8.8%), Haryana (8.7%), or Delhi (7.4%) were much higher than for Bihar (5.1%), Uttar Pradesh (4.4%), or Madhya Pradesh (3.5%).

Poverty rates in rural Orissa (43%) and rural Bihar (40%) are some of the worst in the world. On the other hand, rural Haryana (5.7%) and rural Punjab (2.4%) compare well with middle-income countries.

The five-year plans have attempted to reduce regional disparities by encouraging industrial development in the interior regions, but industries still tend to concentrate around urban areas and port cities After liberalization, the more advanced states are better placed to benefit from them, with infrastructure like well developed ports, urbanisation and an educated and skilled workforce which attract manufacturing and service sectors. The union and state governments of backward regions are trying to reduce the disparities by offering tax holidays, cheap land, etc., and focusing more on sectors like tourism, which although being geographically and historically determined, can become a source of growth and is faster to develop than other sectors.

On Yale and Columbia's Environmental Performance Index, India's score is 21/100 on sanitation, compared with 67/100 for the region and 48/100 for the country income group.

About 1.2 billion people in developing nations lack clean, safe water because most household and industrial wastes are dumped directly into rivers and lakes without treatment. This contributes to the rapid increase in waterborne diseases in humans. Out of India's 3119 towns and cities, just 209 have partial treatment facilities, and only 8 have full wastewater treatment facilities (WHO 1992). 114 cities dump untreated sewage and partially cremated bodies directly into the Ganges River. Downstream, the untreated water is used for drinking, bathing, and washing. This situation is typical of many rivers in India as well as other developing countries. NewsWeek describes Delhi's sacred Yamuna River as "a putrid ribbon of black sludge" where fecal bacteria is 10,000 over safety limits despite a 15-year program to address the problem. Cholera epidemics are not unknown. Open defecation is widespread even in urban areas of India.

Indoor air pollution from burning wood, coal and animal dung is widespread. 70% of rural households in India lack ventilation. Particulate concentrations in houses are reported to range from 8,300 to 15,000 μg/m3, greatly exceeding the 75 μg/m3 maximum standard for indoor particulate matter in the United States.

Changes in ecosystem biological diversity, evolution of parasites, and invasion by exotic species all frequently result in disease outbreaks such as cholera which emerged in 1992 in India. The frequency of AIDS/HIV is increasing. In 1996, about 46,000 Indians out of 2.8 million (1.6 % of the population) tested were found to be infected with HIV.

Even in the rich regions, health care is poor. World Bank reports that "a detailed survey of the knowledge of medical practitioners for treating five common conditions in Delhi found that the typical quality doctor in a public primary health center has a more than 50-50 chance of recommending a harmful treatment". The competence rating of India's doctors is below Tanzania's.

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Source : Wikipedia