Early political consolidations took place under the Maurya and Gupta empires; the later peninsular Middle Kingdoms influenced cultures as far as Southeast Asia.In the medieval era, Judaism, Zoroastrianism, Christianity, and Islam arrived, and Sikhism emerged, all adding to the region's diverse culture.is used by many Indian languages in its variations.
India is widely recognized for its wide cinema, rich cuisine and lush wildlife and vegetation.
It is a pluralistic, multilingual and multi-ethnic society and is also home to a diversity of wildlife in a variety of protected habitats.
It shares land borders with Pakistan to the west; China, Nepal, and Bhutan to the northeast; and Myanmar (Burma) and Bangladesh to the east.
In the Indian Ocean, India is in the vicinity of Sri Lanka and the Maldives.
A nuclear weapons state and regional power, it has the third largest standing army in the world and ranks fifth in military expenditure among nations.
India is a federal republic governed under a parliamentary system and consists of 29 states and 7 union territories.
Centred around cities such as Mohenjo-daro, Harappa, Dholavira, and Kalibangan, and relying on varied forms of subsistence, the civilisation engaged robustly in crafts production and wide-ranging trade.
In the late Vedic period, around the 6th century BCE, the small states and chiefdoms of the Ganges Plain and the north-western regions had consolidated into 16 major oligarchies and monarchies that were known as the mahajanapadas.
In the following millennium, the oldest scriptures associated with Hinduism began to be composed.
Social stratification, based on caste, emerged in the first millennium BCE, and Buddhism and Jainism arose.
India's Andaman and Nicobar Islands share a maritime border with Thailand and Indonesia.