The latitudinal and longitudinal extent of the country is almost same in degrees i.e. about 30 degrees. Due to vast longitudinal extent, the time difference between the two extreme points in the east and west is of two hours. As such, time along the standard meridian of India (82°30E) passing through Allahabad is taken as the Standard Time for whole country. The country is of a vast size and measures about 3,214 kilometres from north to south and about 2,933 kilometres from west to east.
The Tropic of Cancer passes through its middle part. India is situated on the northern fringe of the Indian Ocean. South of about 22° north latitude, the country begins to taper and pierces through the Indian Ocean for a distance of about 1,600 kilometres in the form of a wedge, dividing the ocean into two seas, the Bay of Bengal on the east and the Arabian Sea on the west. India occupies the south-central Peninsula of Asia.
It consists of the mainland and two groups of Islands namely Lakshadweep in the Arabian Sea and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the Bay of Bengal.
India lies midway between the Far East and the Middle East. The trans-Indian Ocean routes connecting the industrially developed countries of Europe in the East and the underdeveloped counties of East Asia pass close by. India being centrally located in South Asia, she enjoys an advantageous position for doing trade with Australia and the counties of Africa, the Middle East and the Far East.
Thus, India dominates the Indian Ocean and commands an important strategic position. Her land frontier is 15,106 kilometres long. Her northern borderland, being mountainous, is very difficult to cross and it offers very few transport facilities for trade with the arid, almost barren and very sparsely populated regions of Central Asia.
India has a coastline of 6,100 kilometres and she depends on the Indian Ocean for the bulk of her foreign trade. The total length of the coastline of the mainland, Lakshadweep group of Islands and Andaman and Nicobar group of Islands is 7,516.5 km.
Physical Boundaries of India:
The sub-continent is isolated in a remarkable way from the rest of Asia, making it a geographical unit. For example, barring the plateau of Baluchistan the two great ranges, namely, the Sulaiman and the Kirthar, cut it off from the West.
Along the North, the great mountain wall formed by the Hindu Kush, Karakoram and the Himalayas, cuts it off the countries that lie beyond as the mountains are very high and difficult to cross. Similarly, the Southward offshoots of the Eastern Himalayas separate it from Burma.
The Himalayas and other lofty mountains Muztagh Ata, Aghil Kunlun mountains to the north of Kashmir and south eastern portion of Zaskar mountains to east of Himachal Pradesh form India’s northern boundary, except in the Nepal region.
She is adjoined in the north by China, Nepal and Bhutan. A series of mountain ranges in the east separate India from Burma. Also, in the east, lies Bangladesh bounded by the Indian States of West Bengal, Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram. In the north-west lies, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Straits separate India from Sri Lanka. The Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the Bay of Bengal and Lakshadweep in the Arabian Sea are parts of the territory of India. Indira Point (earlier called Pygmalion point) in Great Nicobar in the Andaman arid Nicobar Islands is the southern most territory of India.
India and the World:
India in South Asia:
India is a giant among South Asia where other members are Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Maldives, a total of seven countries, encompassing a total area of about 4.488 million sq. km. Out of this, India has the largest area and occupies 73.2% of the total area.
It is four times larger than Pakistan which is second largest in South Asia and 11 thousand times larger than the tiniest Maldives. The subcontinent is often referred to as the Indian sub-continent since India occupies major part of it. Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, Nepal Bhutan and Myanmar and Bangladesh form components of India’s land frontiers.
India in the Eastern World:
India lies mid-way between West Asia and East Asia. The transoceanic routes connecting Africa, industrially advanced Europe and petroleum rich West Asia to South East Asian countries, China and industrially developed Japan.
Australia and Western Coast of the USA pass through India. Sea has played an important role in India’s external relations particularly with its neighbour in Southeast Asia, West Asia and East Africa.
To the West of India are West Asian countries of Oman, Iran, United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia and East African countries of Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Mauritius to the north of India bordering with the state of Jammu and Kashmir is the Sinkiang (Xinjiang) region of China.
It contains the trim basin where once flourished a very rich civilization of K’ashi and Hotan (Khotan). Across the Himalayas lies Tibet, now an autonomous province of China and the Mansarovar Lake still attract the Indian pilgrims.
Locational Advantage of India:
India is a unique country as it is easily accessible to other parts of Asia, Africa, Europe and Americas. Its cultural influences have crossed its border from time immemorial and reached far off lands. It acts as a bridge head between” developed and developing countries of the world and between the East and the West. India’s strength lies in its geography as much as in its culture.
Since the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869, distance between India and Europe has been reduced by 7000 kms. India enjoys a favourable situation on the international highway of trade and commerce. The ocean routes from East and South-East Asia and Australia to Africa and Europe pass through Indian Ocean.
India is connected with Europe, North America and South America through Ipoth the routes-the Cape of Good Hope and the Suez Canal. India can also reach Canada and the U.S.A. through the Strait of Malacca after crossing the Pacific Ocean.
Political Divisions of India:
A large number of factors like geography, population, local cultures, languages and administrative convenience are the considerations for the political divisions, of India.
India is divided into 28 States and 7 Union Territories. The Union Territories are federally administered territories (Central or Union Government), presided over by the President and the Vice President.
1. The States that lie completely in the Himalayas:
1. Jammu and Kashmir; 2.Himachal Pradesh; 3. Sikkim, 4. Arunachal Pradesh; 5. Uttarakhand
2. The States and the Union Territories that Cover Large Portions of the Great Northern Plains:
1. Punjab; 2. Haryana; 3.Uttar Pradesh; 4. Bihar; 5. West Bengal; 6. Assam
1. Chandigarh 2. Delhi
3. A Large Area of the State of Rajasthan Covers the Great Indian Desert:
4. The States that make up the Great Peninsular Plateau;
1. Madhya Pradesh; 2. Maharashtra; 3. Odisha; 4. Andhra Pradesh; 5. Karnataka; 6. Kerala 7. Tamil Nadu, 8. Chhattisgarh
5. The States that are made up of hills in N.E. India. Geography was a major consideration in making up these states.
1. Arunachal Pradesh, 2. Nagaland, 3. Manipur, 4. Mizoram
6. The States that form the Coast of India:
1. Gujarat; 2. Maharashtra; 3. Goa’ 4. Karnataka; 5. Kerala; 6. Tamil Nadu 7. Andhra Pradesh; 8. Odisha: 9. West Bengal
1. Daman and Diu; 2. Puducherry
7. The Union Territories of Andaman and Nicobar Islands and the Lakshadweep are made up of Islands.