The Geography of India

[Note: This information derives primarily from the 1995 edition of the CIA World Factbook.]

Location: Southern Asia, bordering the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal, between Bangladesh and Pakistan

Map references: Asia

total area: 3,287,590 km2
land area: 2,973,190 km2
comparative area: slightly more than one-third the size of the US

Land boundaries: total 14,103 km, Bangladesh 4,053 km, Bhutan 605 km, Burma 1,463 km, China 3,380 km, Nepal 1,690 km, Pakistan 2,912 km

Coastline: 7,000 km

Maritime claims:
contiguous zone: 24 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
territorial sea: 12 nm

International disputes: boundaries with Bangladesh and China; status of Kashmir with Pakistan; water-sharing problems with downstream riparians, Bangladesh over the Ganges and Pakistan over the Indus

Climate: varies from tropical monsoon in south to temperate in north

Terrain: upland plain (Deccan Plateau) in south, flat to rolling plain along the Ganges, deserts in west, Himalayas in north

Natural resources: coal (fourth-largest reserves in the world), iron ore, manganese, mica, bauxite, titanium ore, chromite, natural gas, diamonds, petroleum, limestone

Land use:
arable land: 55%
permanent crops: 1%
meadows and pastures: 4%
forest and woodland: 23%
other: 17%

Irrigated land: 430,390 sq km (1989)

current issues: deforestation; soil erosion; overgrazing; desertification; air pollution from industrial effluents and vehicle emissions; water pollution from raw sewage and runoff of agricultural pesticides; tap water is not potable throughout the country; huge and rapidly growing population is overstraining natural resources. See also Biodiversity Profile (UK website).
natural hazards: droughts, flash floods, severe thunderstorms common; earthquakes
international agreements: party to -- Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber, Wetlands, Whaling; signed, but not ratified - Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Desertification, Law of the Sea

Note: dominates South Asian subcontinent; near important Indian Ocean trade routes.

See also
Postcolonial Web Indian Subcontinent India OV