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Country Profile

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Full Country Name:

The Republic of India



3.28m sq km - Total.
2.97m sq km - Land.
314,400 sq km - Water. 
India is the world's seventh largest country. It comprises of twenty-eight states and seven Union Territories. The states vary in size and development and have constitutionally defined powers of government.



India is the world's second most populous country, after China, with a population of 1.17 billion (July 2010 est), growing at 1.376% per annum (2010 estimate). 29% of the population live in urban areas.

There has been persistent improvement in social indicators in the 1990s - literacy rate has increased to 61%: estimated infant mortality rate in 2010 was 49 down from 80 per 1000 live births in 1990. Life expectancy at birth has increased to 66 years in 2010; and poverty numbers are declining, down to 25% below povertyline in 2007 of the population as against 36% in 1993-94.


Capital City:

New Delhi (28.60N, 77.22E), 17.5 million (2008 estimate).  

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India has a multilingual population. More than 800 dialects are spoken in India and the constitution recognises 18 regional languages. Hindi is the official national language and is spoken by about 41% of the population. English has been recognised as the authoritative legislative and judicial language, and is the accepted language of commerce, finance and higher education

Hindi 41%  Bengali 8.1%  Telugu 7.2%   Marathi 7%  Urdu 5%  Guharati 4.5%  Kannada 3.7%  Malagalm 3.2%  Origa 3.2%  Punjabi 2.8%  Assames 1.3%  Maithili 1.2%   Other 5.9%



India is a secular state and freedom of religion is protected under the Constitution. The main religious groups are Hindu 80.5%, Muslim 13.4% (Sunni 8.97%, Shi'i 2.99%), Christian 2.3% (Protestant 1.4%, Roman Catholic 1.35%, Orthodox 0.27%), Sikh 1.9%, traditional beliefs 3.39%, Buddhist 0.71%, Jain 0.40%, Baha'i 0.12%, Parsi (Zoroastrian) 0.02%, other 1.8%.



1 Rupee = 100 Paise,
100,000 Rupees = 1 Lakh,
10 Lakhs = 1 million,
10 million Rupees = 1 Crore


Dialling Code from Foreign Country

00 91

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Weights & Measures

India has officially adopted the metric system; though imperial weights and measures are still used in some areas of commerce. The basic units are the kilogram for weight and metre for length. Some other measures still in use include:

One lakh = 100,000
Ten lakhs = 1 million
One crore = 10 million


Major political parties:

All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK);
All India Forward Bloc (AIFB),
Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP);
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP);
Biju Janata Dal (BJD);
Communist Party of India (CPI); C
Communist Party of India/Marxist-Leninist (CPI/ML);
Congress (I) Party; Dravida Munnetra Kazagham (DMK);
Janata Dal (Secular);
Nationalist Congress Party (NCP);
Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD);
Samajwadi Party (SP);
Shiv Sena; Tamil Maanila Congress;
Telugu Desam Party (TDP);
Trinamool Congress.



United Progressive Alliance, led by the Indian National Congress (INC)


Head of State (President):

President Pratibha Devisingh Patil

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Prime Minister:

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh (since 19 May 2004)


Foreign Minister:

Ranjan Mathai


Membership of international groupings/organisations:

Commonwealth; United Nations; World Trade Organisation; South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation (SAARC); ASEAN (dialogue partner).



India forms a natural sub-continent with the Himalayas to the north. The Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal, which are sections of the Indian Ocean, lie to the west and east respectively. India's neighbours are China (Tibet), Bhutan and Nepal to the north, Pakistan to the north-west, and Burma to the north-east. To the east, almost surrounded by India, is Bangladesh. Near India's southern tip, across the Palk Strait, is Sri Lanka. India covers an area of 3,287,623 square kilometres (1,269,219 square miles). India's capital is New Delhi.

India has 28 states (29 if the capital region of Delhi is included) with constitutionally defined powers of government. The states vary greatly in size, population and development. Each state has a Governor appointed by the President for five years, a legislature elected for five years, and a Council of Ministers headed by a chief minister. Each state has its own legislative, executive and judicial machinery, corresponding to that of the Indian Union. In the event of the failure of constitutional government in a state, the Union can impose President's Rule. There are also seven Union Territories including the National Capital Territory of Delhi, administered by Lieutenant Governors or Administrators, all of whom are appointed by the President. The Territories of Delhi and Pondicherry also have elected chief ministers and state assemblies.

The 28 states are: Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Manipur, Maharashtra, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Orissa, Punjab, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, Uttaranchal, and West Bengal.

The Territories are: Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Chandigarh, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu, Delhi, Lakshadweep, and Pondicherry.



The Indian Constitution provides a system of parliamentary and cabinet government both at the centre and in the states. The Indian Parliament consists of the President, currently President Pratibha Devisingh Patil, (elected for a 5 year term as the constitutional head of the executive) and two Houses: The Lower House - Lok Sabha ('House of the People') - directly elected on the basis of universal adult suffrage; and the Upper House - Rajya Sabha ('Council of States') - indirectly elected by the members of state legislative assemblies.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress Party are the two main forces in the current Indian political scene, but neither can command a clear Parliamentary majority. The balance of power is held by a loose collection of regional and other parties.


India Factsheet 2008 - Department for International Development- April 2008



Last update: October 2011


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