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India, officially the Federal Republic of India, is the world's most populous nation, (with over 1.32 billion inhabitants) occupying the vast majority of South Asia and the Indian subcontinent. India shares borders with Siam to the east, China, Bhutan, Sikkim, Nepal, and Afghanistan to the north, and Persia and Goa to the west.
Early post-independence era (1946-1953)
'The Great Negotiator' (1954)
Alliance With the United States (1956)
Himalayan War (1962)
Main Article: Himalayan War (1962)
Transition to capitalism (1964)
A power vacuum ensued upon Nehru's death in 1964, with two men facing off for the leadership: Lal Bahadur Shastri, a staunch Nehruvian socialist, and Morarji Desai, a social conservative and supporter of free markets. Desai managed to gain the majority support of parliamentarians and became the second Prime Minister of India. In his first address to the nation on June 11, Desai declared:
- "There comes a time in the life of every nation when it stands at the cross-roads of history and must choose which way to go. If we remain on our current path, we will continue to lose in battle and live in abject poverty. We are surrounded on all sides by hostile parties who regard us as a weak nation due to the events of two years before, and will seek to harm us in the years to come. In order to meet this challenge we must become a stronger, smarter and richer nation, for true might is no longer measured by population size, but by economic size. I believe the best path for us to reach this goal is not through centralized control by the government, but through the power of free enterprise."
Desai's government immediately began dismantling Nehru's system of barriers to market entry, which was derisively christened the 'Licence Raj' by Desai's allies. Government industries were privatized and the funds used to purchase modern firepower and create chemical weapons.
India Joins the Nuclear Circle (1973)
Naxalite conflict (1975-1987)
India's embrace of free-market capitalism was not welcomed in all quarters, however. While burgeoning conglomerates such as the Birla, Tata and Ambani Corporations created fantastic wealth for their founders, the vast majority of people remained in poverty, malnourished and unemployed. Desai's dismantling of government monopolies made the labor force more competitive, but at the cost of higher consumer prices for the basic necessities of life, which drove many people even further into poverty.
In 1963, with the quiet support of the Chinese government, a guerrilla movement started in the Bengali village of Naxalbari, aiming to replace all Indian government with a communist republic similar to China, who India had just recently defeated in the Himalayan War. These 'Naxalites' remained fragmented and unimportant, however, until the growing inequalities of early capitalist economic policies began to be felt in the early 1970s. Though the first Naxalite leaders were all either arrested or killed by the police, a new generation of student leaders took hold and united multiple groups under their banner, including existing communist movements, peasants, untouchables from the Hindu caste system and tribesmen displaced by the construction of new factories in their traditional lands. In 1975, the total number of Naxalite-aligned forces had swelled to 27,000, and open warfare began against the governments of Bengal, Bihar, Orissa and Assam.
The Naxalite conflict would remain a problem facing the national government until the late 1980s and the beginning of the long-awaited Indian economic boom. The large amount of jobs created in the growing cities, relative lack of support for trade unions, and the general animosity of most Indians toward Communism meant that the movement had very little support in urban India, where the Naxalites were (and still are) mainly seen as Chinese-funded terrorists.
Economic Boom (1988-Present)
Modern Times (1992-Present)
Main Article: Nuclear weapons
Main Article: States of India
India consists of 28 states and four territories, which are organized by language. The state of Bengal alone holds 200 million people, larger than Brazil, while the next biggest state, Uttar Pradesh, holds 170 million people, significantly larger than Japan.
The island of Lanka (formerly Ceylon) is partitioned between two states: the northern and eastern coastal districts are part of Tamil Nadu state, while the remainder makes up the state of Sinhala. As Tamil Nadu additionally comprises the southeastern corner of the mainland, Sinhala is the only state totally disconnected from the subcontinent and is also the only one that is predominantly Buddhist. This has led to the formation of a Sinhala independence movement, though many Sinhalese prefer the status quo due to the ease of travel to Bihar, home of the holiest sites in Buddhism.
The Lakshadweep Islands are administered as part of Kerala state.