India: Location, Extent and Physical setting
Posted on : 20-08-2018 Posted by : Admin


India also known as Bharat is a geographical unit with its own uniqueness. It covers an area of 3.28 million sq. km. It is the seventh largest country in the world. India covers about 2% of the world’s total area.

Other top 10 countries in terms of area (decreasing order),

Country Area
1. Russia 1,70,98,242 sq. km
2. Canada 99,84,670 sq. km
3. China 97,06,961 sq. km
4. United States 96,29,091 sq. km
5. Brazil 85,14,877 sq. km
6. Australia 76,92,024 sq. km
7. India 3,287,263
8. Argentina 2,780,400
9. Kazakhstan 2,724,900
10. Algeria 23,81,741 sq. km


Location and Extent

  • India occupies the south-central peninsula of Asian continent.
  • Himalayan mountain ranges separate Indian sub continent from rest of Asian continent.
  • Indian sub-continent includes India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Maldives, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh
  • On the southern side India has two water bodies namely Bay of Bengal on the western side and Arabian Sea in the Eastern side.
  • Our country also includes two island groups Andaman and Nicobar islands in Bay of Bengal & Lakshadweep islands in Arabian Sea.
  • India is strategically located on the international trade route connecting eastern and western hemispheres.


International position and Relations

India has a predominant position with a large coast line, in the Indian Ocean realm. The Deccan part of India projects itself into the Indian Ocean thus making it possible for India to look both-

*Towards Africa and Europe from its western coast

*Towards South East Asia and the Far East from its eastern coast

Thus, India’s position is favorable for trade, commerce and economic activities. India is connected with Europe through Suez Canal and with China, Japan and Australia through Malaccan strait. The narrowing structure of Deccan India also favors monsoon type of climate which supports agricultural activities.


  • The mainland of India extends between 8°4ˈ and 37°6ˈ North Latitude and 68°7ˈ and 97°25ˈ East longitude.
  • Tropic of Cancer 23°30ˈ N, divides India into almost two equal halves. So India lies in tropical and sub-tropical zones of Northern hemisphere.
  • From (Kashmir to Kanyakumari ) i.e., north to south India covers a distance of about 3214 km
  • From (Gujarat to Arunachal Pradesh) i.e., East to West India covers 2933 km
  • India has a land frontier of 15200 km and a coast line of about 7516.6 km
  • There is a lot of time difference between the eastern and western extremes of the country because of great longitudinal extent.
  • The difference in local time between eastern and western hemispheres is about two hours.
  • To avoid confusion from this vast time difference, 82°5ˈ E longitude located in Mirzapur is taken as standard reference point.
  • This reference point is called standard time of India or Indian Standard Time (IST)
  • It is important to note that India does not observe Day light Saving time (DST)

  • The exact difference between Greenwich and Indian Standard time is 5:30 hours.


Indian standard time (IST)

We all know that Earth is divided into 360 vertical lines or longitudes.

A shift in every longitude gives a time difference of 4 minutes and with a longitudinal shift of 15 degrees, there is a time difference of 60 minutes/1 hour.

In India, the longitudinal difference between India’s easternmost point Kibithu in Arunachal Pradesh and the westernmost point Gugariyana, Gujarat is nearly 30 degrees. And so there is a time difference of two hours.

So the Central Meridian of India is 82½° East longitude which runs from north to south through the city of Allahabad (Mirzapur) is taken as the standard reference point. The local time of this central meridian is used for calculating the Indian Standard time (IST)

It is usually 5½ hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time of the world.

The 0° meridian passes through Greenwich in England. Each degree of the meridian accounts for four minutes of time and that the difference between Greenwich and Indian standard time is 82½° x 4 = 330 minutes which is 5½ hours.


The neighbours of India

  • The neighbours of India are
  1. Pakistan,
  2. Afghanistan,
  3. China,
  4. Nepal,
  5. Bhutan,
  6. Myanmar,
  7. Bangladesh 
  • The Northern apex part of India has strategic geopolitical importance for world politics.
Neighbour Country Border Indian states
  1. Gujarat
  2. Rajasthan
  3. Punjab
  4. Jammu & Kashmir
  1. Jammu & Kashmir
  1. Jammu & Kashmir
  2. Himachal Pradesh 
  3. Uttarakhand 
  4. Sikkim
  5. Arunachal Pradesh
  1. Uttarakhand
  2. Uttar Pradesh
  3. Bihar
  4. West Bengal
  5. Sikkim
  1. Sikkim
  2. West Bengal
  3. Assam 
  4. Arunachal Pradesh
  1. Arunachal Pradesh
  2. Nagaland
  3. Manipur
  4. Mizoram
  1. West Bengal
  2. Assam
  3. Meghalaya
  4. Tripura
  5. Mizoram


India and its boundaries

The countries which border India are,

  • Bhutan, Nepal and China in the North
  • Pakistan and Afghanistan in the West
  • Bangladesh and Myanmar in the East
  • Palk Strait separates India and Sri Lanka in the South

Names of boundary lines (in decreasing order of border length)

Border between Border name Length
India-Bangladesh Purbachal (operating zero line) 4096.7 km
India-China McMohan Line 3380 km
India-Pakistan Radcliffe Line 3323 km
India-Myanmar Indo-Burma barrier 1643 km
India-Nepal Radoliff Line 1236 km
India-Bhutan Indo-Bhutan border line 699 km
India-Afghanistan Durand Line 106 km
India-Sri Lanka Palk Strait 30 km


Political divisions of India

  • India is divided into number of states and Union territories. This division was made based on the history, cultural heritage and language. India has 28 states and 7 Union territories
  • According to the density of population-Kerala is densely populated with 820 persons living per sq. km on the contrary Sikkim has got lowest density of population
  • The highly populated state in India is Uttar Pradesh, whereas the sparsely populated state is Mizoram
  • Rajasthan is the largest state in terms of area and Goa is the smallest.
  • India has 9 coastal states and 4 coastal union territories.
  • Coastal Length of Indian States & Union Territories (in decreasing order of coastline)

1. Gujarat – 1214.7 Km

2. Andhra Pradesh – 973.7 Km

3. Tamil Nadu – 906.9 Km

4. Maharashtra – 652.6 Km

5. Kerala – 569.7 Km

6. Odisha – 476.4 Km

7. Karnataka – 280 Km

8. Goa (with Daman & Diu) – 160.5 Km

9. West Bengal – 157.5 Km

10. Puducherry – 30.6 Km (UT)

11. Andaman & Nicobar Islands – 1962 Km (UT)

12. Lakshadweep Islands – 132 Km (UT)


  • With the sum of coastal length of all these states and union territories, the total coastal length of India becomes 7516.6 Km.
  • India has 18th longest total coastal length among all world countries.
  • The coastal length of mainland India (except Andaman & Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep islands) is 5422.6 Km.
  • The coastal length of all islands taken together is 2094 Km.


The islands of India

  • India has a total of 247 Islands. Out of these 223 lie in Bay of Bengal and 24 lie in Arabian Sea.
  • Out of these 247 groups of islands only 36 islands are inhabited.
  • Andaman and Nicobar islands are the largest in terms of area where as Lakshadweep Islands are the smallest.
  • Andaman and Nicobar Islands form two major groups in Bay of Bengal located between 10° and 14° N latitude. They are of volcanic origin and are formed of tertiary sandstone, limestone and shale. All these stones are highly dissected.
  • Andaman and Nicobar Islands extend up to 8249 sq. km
  • Out of this Andaman Islands extend up to 6408 sq. km
  • Nicobar Islands extend up to 1841
  • Great Nicobar Island with an area of 862 sq. km is the largest island. It lies closest to the equator
  • Other important island groups are little Nicobar, Katchall, Camouta, Trinkat, Nancowry, Teressa and Tivanchong.
  • All the islands in the Arabian Sea are of coral origin surrounded by fringing reefs.
  • Lakshadweep islands with a total area of 32 sq. km are situated between 8° and 11° N latitudes.
  • Further in the south, in the Eight degree channel lies Minicoy island with an area of 4.5 sq. km
  • Pamban Island located between India and Sri Lanka has rocky surface.


Unity in Diversity

India has unique landscape ranging from the highest peaks to the lowest plains. Godwin Austin known as Mount K2 is the highest peak of India and the coastal plains are the lowest in the South.

The climate varies from the tropical to the temperate zone. Cherrapunji in Meghalaya receives the highest amount of rainfall, whereas the Thar Desert receives the minimum rainfall.

We have wet dense tropical forest in the Western Ghats, mangrove trees in the Sunderbans of West Bengal and Shrubs, and sparse vegetation in the Thar Desert.

The diversity in the physical environment and climate has made India an ideal habitat of flora and fauna. Hence a wide variety of plants and animals are found in India.

India is a secular country with total freedom of worship. People follow Hinduism, Christianity, Islam, Sikhism, Buddhism, Jainism and Zorastrianism with cultural diversities.

In spite of its physical, cultural, regional, religious and racial varieties India is known for unity in diversity because people forget their religious and linguistic differences and stand together during the time of crisis.


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