India officially the Republic of India is a country in South Asia. It is the second-most populous country, the seventh-largest country by land area, and the most populous democracy in the world.
Modern humans arrived on the Indian subcontinent from Africa no later than 55,000 years ago. Their long occupation, initially in varying forms of isolation as hunter gatherers, has made the region highly diverse, second only to Africa in human genetic diversity. Settled life emerged on the subcontinent in the western margins of the Indus river basin 9,000 years ago, evolving gradually into the Indus Valley Civilisation of the third millennium BCE.
Muslim armies from Central Asia intermittently overran India's northern plains, eventually establishing the Delhi Sultanate. In 1947 India got independence. India's population grew from 361 million in 1951 to 1.211 billion in 2011. During the same time, its nominal per capita income increased from US$64 annually to US$1,498, and its literacy rate from 16.6% to 74%.
India has become a fast-growing major economy and a hub for information technology services, with an expanding middle class. It has a space programme which includes several planned or completed extraterrestrial missions. India has substantially reduced its rate of poverty, though at the cost of increasing economic inequality.
India is a nuclear-weapon state, which ranks high in military expenditure. Its forest cover comprises 21.7% of its area. The socio-economic challenges India faces are gender inequality, child malnutrition, and rising levels of air pollution.