The Republic of India is a country in South Asia which comprises the majority of the Indian subcontinent. India has a coastline which stretches over seven thousand kilometres, and shares its borders with Pakistan to the west, the People's Republic of China, Nepal, and Bhutan to the northeast, and Bangladesh and Myanmar on the east. On the Indian Ocean, it is adjacent to the island nations of the Maldives on the southwest, Sri Lanka on the south, and Indonesia on the southeast. India borders with Afghanistan to the northwest.
India is the fourth largest economy in the world in terms of purchasing power parity. It is the second most populous country in the world, with a population of over one billion, and is the seventh largest country by geographical area. It is home to some of the most ancient civilisations, and a centre of important historic trade routes. Four major world religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism have originated from India. Formerly a major part of the British Empire as the British Raj before gaining independence in 1947, during the past twenty years the country has grown significantly, especially in its economic and military spheres, regionally as well as globally.
India's entire north and northeast states are made up of the Himalayan Range. The rest of northern, central and eastern India consists of the fertile Indo-Gangetic plain. Towards western India, bordering southeast Pakistan, lies the Thar Desert. The southern Indian peninsula is almost entirely composed of the Deccan plateau. The plateau is flanked by two hilly coastal ranges, the Western Ghats and Eastern Ghats. India is home to several major rivers such as the Ganga (Ganges), the Brahmaputra, the Yamuna, the Godavari, and the Krishna. The rivers are responsible for the fertile plains in northern India which are conducive to farming. The Indian climate varies from a tropical climate in the south to a more temperate climate in the north. Parts of India which lie in the Himalaya have a tundra climate. India gets most of its rains through the monsoons.