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The Indus Valley civilization, one of the world's oldest, flourished during the 3rd and 2nd millennia B.C. and extended into northwestern India. Aryan tribes from the northwest infiltrated onto the Indian subcontinent about 1500 B.C.; their merger with the earlier Dravidian inhabitants created the classical Indian culture. The Maurya Empire of the 4th and 3rd centuries B.C. - which reached its zenith under ASHOKA - united much of South Asia. The Golden Age ushered in by the Gupta dynasty (4th to 6th centuries A.D.) saw a flowering of Indian science, art, and culture. Islam spread across the subcontinent over a period of 700 years. In the 10th and 11th centuries, Turks and Afghans invaded India and established the Delhi Sultanate. In the early 16th century, the Emperor BABUR established the Mughal Dynasty which ruled India for more than three centuries. European explorers began establishing footholds in India during the 16th century. By the 19th century, Great Britain had become the dominant political power on the subcontinent. The British Indian Army played a vital role in both World Wars. Nonviolent resistance to British rule, led by Mohandas GANDHI and Jawaharlal NEHRU, eventually brought about independence in 1947. Communal violence led to the subcontinent's bloody partition, which resulted in the creation of two separate states, India and Pakistan. The two countries have fought three wars since independence, the last of which in 1971 resulted in East Pakistan becoming the separate nation of Bangladesh. India's nuclear weapons tests in 1998 caused Pakistan to conduct its own tests that same year. In November 2008, terrorists originating from Pakistan conducted a series of coordinated attacks in Mumbai, India's financial capital. In January 2011, India assumed a nonpermanent seat in the UN Security Council for the 2011-12 term. Despite pressing problems such as significant overpopulation, environmental degradation, extensive poverty, and widespread corruption, rapid economic development is fueling India's rise on the world stage.


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Government

Country name
Conventional long form Republic of India
Conventional short form India
Local long form
Republic of India/Bharatiya Ganarajya
Local short form India/Bharat

Government type
Federal republic

Capital
Name New Delhi
Geographic coordinates 28 36 N, 77 12 E
Time difference
UTC+5.5 (10.5 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

Administrative divisions
28 states and 7 union territories*; Andaman and Nicobar Islands*, Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chandigarh*, Chhattisgarh, Dadra and Nagar Haveli*, Daman and Diu*, Delhi*, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Lakshadweep*, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Odisha, Puducherry*, Punjab, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, West Bengal
Note
Although its status is that of a union territory, the official name of Delhi is National Capital Territory of Delhi

Independence
15 August 1947 (from the UK)

Constitution
26 January 1950; amended many times

Legal system
Common law system based on the English model; separate personal law codes apply to Muslims, Christians, and Hindus; judicial review of legislative acts

International law organization participation
Accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; non-party state to the ICCt

Suffrage
18 years of age; universal

Executive branch
Chief of state
President Pranab MUKHERJEE (since 22 July 2012); Vice President Mohammad Hamid ANSARI (since 11 August 2007)
Head of government
Prime Minister Manmohan SINGH (since 22 May 2004)
Cabinet
Cabinet appointed by the president on the recommendation of the prime minister
Elections
President elected by an electoral college consisting of elected members of both houses of Parliament and the legislatures of the states for a five-year term (no term limits); election last held in July 2012 (next to be held in July 2017); vice president elected by both houses of Parliament for a five-year term; election last held in August 2007 (next to be held in August 2012); prime minister chosen by parliamentary members of the majority party following legislative elections; election last held April - May 2009 (next to be held no later than May 2014)
Election results
Pranab MUKHERJEE elected president; percent of vote - Pranab MUKHERJEE 69.31%, Purno SANGMA - 30.69%

Legislative branch
Bicameral Parliament or Sansad consists of the Council of States or Rajya Sabha (a body consisting of 245 seats up to 12 of which are appointed by the president, the remainder are chosen by the elected members of the state and territorial assemblies; members serve six-year terms) and the People's Assembly or Lok Sabha (545 seats; 543 members elected by popular vote, 2 appointed by the president; members serve five-year terms)
Elections
People's Assembly - last held in five phases on 16, 22-23, 30 April and 7, 13 May 2009 (next must be held by May 2014)
Election results
People's Assembly - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - INC 206, BJP 116, SP 23, BSP 21, JD (U) 20, AITC 19, DMK 18, CPI-M 16, BJD 14, SS 11, AIADMK 9, NCP 9, other 61, vacant 2; note - seats by party as of December 2011 - INC 208, BJP 115, SP 22, BSP 21, JD(U) 20, AITC 18, DMK 18, CPI(M) 16, BJD 14, SS 14, AIADMK 9, NCP 9, TDP 6, RLD 5 other 49, vacant 1

Judicial branch
Supreme Court (one chief justice and 25 associate justices are appointed by the president and remain in office until they reach the age of 65 or are removed for "proved misbehavior")

Political parties and leaders
All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam or AIADMK [J. JAYALALITHAA]; All India Trinamool Congress or AITC [Mamata BANERJEE]; Bahujan Samaj Party or BSP [MAYAWATI]; Bharatiya Janata Party or BJP [Nitin GADKARI]; Biju Janata Dal or BJD [Naveen PATNAIK]; Communist Party of India or CPI [A.B. BARDHAN]; Communist Party of India-Marxist or CPI-M [Prakash KARAT]; Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam or DMK [M.KARUNANIDHI]; Indian National Congress or INC [Sonia GANDHI]; Janata Dal (United) or JD(U) [Sharad YADAV]; Nationalist Congress Party or NCP [Sharad PAWAR]; Rashtriya Janata Dal or RJD [Lalu Prasad YADAV]; Rashtriya Lok Dal or RLD [Ajit SINGH]; Samajwadi Party or SP [Mulayam Singh YADAV]; Shiromani Akali Dal or SAD [Parkash Singh BADAL]; Shiv Sena or SS [Bal THACKERAY]; Telugu Desam Party or TDP [Chandrababu NAIDU]; note - India has dozens of national and regional political parties; only parties with four or more seats in the People's Assembly are listed

Political pressure groups and leaders
All Parties Hurriyat Conference in the Kashmir Valley (separatist group); Bajrang Dal (religious organization); India Against Corruption [Anna HAZAREI]; Jamiat Ulema-e Hind (religious organization); Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh [Mohan BHAGWAT] (religious organization); Vishwa Hindu Parishad [Ashok SINGHAL] (religious organization)
Other
Numerous religious or militant/chauvinistic organizations; various separatist groups seeking greater communal and/or regional autonomy; hundreds of social reform, anti-corruption, and environmental groups at state and local level

International organization participation
ABEDA, ADB, AfDB (nonregional member), ARF, ASEAN (dialogue partner), BIMSTEC, BIS, BRICS, C, CD, CERN (observer), CICA, CP, EAS, FAO, FATF, G-15, G-20, G-24, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, LAS (observer), MIGA, MONUSCO, NAM, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW, PCA, PIF (partner), SAARC, SACEP, SCO (observer), UN, UNCTAD, UNDOF, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIFIL, UNISFA, UNITAR, UNMISS, UNMIT, UNOCI, UNSC (temporary), UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

Diplomatic representation in the us
Chief of mission Ambassador Nirupama RAO
Chancery
2107 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008; note - Consular Wing located at 2536 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
Telephone [1] (202) 939-7000
FAX [1] (202) 265-4351
Consulate(s) general
Chicago, Houston, New York, San Francisco

Diplomatic representation from the us
Chief of mission Ambassador Nancy J. POWELL
Embassy
Shantipath, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi 110021
Mailing address Use embassy street address
Telephone [91] (011) 2419-8000
FAX [91] (11) 2419-0017
Consulate(s) general
Chennai (Madras), Hyderabad; Kolkata (Calcutta), Mumbai (Bombay)

Flag description
Three equal horizontal bands of saffron (subdued orange) (top), white, and green, with a blue chakra (24-spoked wheel) centered in the white band; saffron represents courage, sacrifice, and the spirit of renunciation; white signifies purity and truth; green stands for faith and fertility; the blue chakra symbolizes the wheel of life in movement and death in stagnation
Note
Similar to the flag of Niger, which has a small orange disk centered in the white band

National symbol(s)
Bengal tiger

National anthem
Name
"Jana-Gana-Mana" (Thou Art the Ruler of the Minds of All People)
Lyrics/music Rabindranath TAGORE
Note
Adopted 1950; Rabindranath TAGORE, a Nobel laureate, also wrote Bangladesh's national anthem


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