Artigo sobre a Índia publicado com o apoio do South Asia Democratic Forum no último número do Think South Asia, aqui.
The Republic of India is a country with 3.287.590 square kilometres of area and an estimated population of 1,24 billion people. Its borders are with Pakistan to the northwest, Tibet (under the Chinese administration), Nepal and Bhutan to the north, and Bangladesh and Burma to the northeast. On the Indian Ocean, India’s neighbours are the Maldives to the southwest and Sri Lanka to the southeast.
These numbers mean that India has a larger population than Europe (all countries together), or the Americas (North and South), or Africa. We can find an Indian identity, or at least a harmonic set of similar identities within India, making of it the most populous liberal democracy in the world. And, with a birth rate bigger than China, India is set to overtake its neighbour country as the world’s most populous nation by 2030, according to the latest United Nations projections.
With a GDP per capita of approximately 1.345,50 EURO and the Economy growing around 6,5% each year, India is strengthening its industrial and services power. On the same hand, India’s middle class is increasing rapidly, giving to millions the purchase power that is attracting the attention of many foreign investors and businesses. Culturally, we can say that India main religious influence is Hinduism (approximately 80,5% of the Indians are Hindu) but also Buddhism (born in the region of Bihar, India), Islam (through the Mughal Empire) and Christianity (through the Portuguese and the English) were important influences to its unique cultural blend of different ingredients.
Politically, India is a federation composed by 28 states and 7 union territories, each of it with very characteristic issues, problems and challenges. As Editor of this magazine, I would like to stop here this very short country profile of such a big and complex reality and leave for the soonest future a deeper analysis done by experts, state by state.
Generally, I would just reinforce the idea that India is a liberal democracy which respects the rule of law. Of course India has its problems to be solved, as other countries in the region have, but what makes of India a different country is the democratic tools they have to make Human Rights be respected within its borders.
This should be regarded as a hope for the western countries who want to engage in South Asia, as well as for SAARC countries to follow India’s example and find their own path to have stable democracies across the region.