India, officially the Republic of India (Hindi: भारत गणराज्य Bhārat Gaṇarājya), 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. It is bordered by Afghanistan and Balochistan to the West, People's Republic of China, Nepal, and Bhutan to the north; 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 moderate levels of poverty, illiteracy, and malnutrition, though these problems are beginning to dry up from the aid of the UN Global Development fund. A pluralistic, multilingual, and multiethnic society, India is also home to a diversity of wildlife in a variety of protected habitats.
The Indo-Pakistan War
Considered the culmination of close to forty years of mutual hatred, the Indo-Pakistan war completely redefined India's role as a world power. What started as the result of the Mumbai terrorist attacks funded by the Pakistani intelligence department, ultimately escalated into a conflict that brought in the full force of the UN Multinational Force and killed millions. The war was the first time since the US nuclear attacks on Japan during World War II that a nuclear device was detonated as a means of warfare. When the war ended India had come to occupy Bangladesh and Eastern Pakistan; both regions were annexed as territories in March 2009, and are expected to become Provinces by 2010. The war left India a major player on the international stage, and a staunch ally to the nations of the Multinational force.