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In the past, India was:
* One of the richest countries in the world before the arrival of British in the 17th century * The first country to establish an university in a place called Takshila in 700 B.C. * The country which created the games of chess and snakes and ladders * The only source for diamonds in the world until 1896 * The country that established Ayurveda, the earliest school of medicine * The country where the navigation system the world presently use began in the River Sindh some 6,000 years ago. The words navigation and navy were derived from the Sanskrit words Navgatih and Nou respectively * The country where the number system and the digit zero were invented * The country where the place value system and the decimal system were developed in 100 B.C. * The land from where studies on algebra, trigonometry and calculus were originated * The country that built Taj Mahal, one of the most beautiful masterpieces of architecture in the world. * The country that created the great epics Ramayana and Mahabharata * The first country to introduce the family planning program in 1952 * A country's whose citizens have won six Nobel prizes: Literature (1913), Physics (1930), Medicine (1968), Peace (1979), Physics (1983) and Economy (1998).
In the present, India is:
* One of the oldest living civilizations in the world (Indus Valley- 10,000 years-old) * The second-largest nuclear power in Asia after China * The second-most populous (1.07 billion) and sixth largest country by area in the world * A country which has 16.87 percent of the world's population in the 2.4 percent of the global land area * A country which is called Bharat in Sanskrit, Hundustan in Hindi and India in English * The largest democracy in the world * A country estimated to have the largest skilled work force (472 million total work force) * The largest producer of tea, butter, milk, ghee, sugar and two wheeled vehicles * A country whose citizens speak 17 major languages and 844 dialects. * A country with the world's biggest English speaking community * A country which has the largest postal network in the world (155,837 post offices) * The world's leading producer of sheet mica (60 percent of global output) * The third-largest coal producer in the world after China and the U.S. * The 10th largest industrialized country in the world * The sixth nation to have gone into outer space * Self-sufficient in agricultural production * The second-largest producer of rice, wheat and groundnuts in the world. * A country that ranks fifth in egg production in the world * A country which has a high market potential with a 300-million middle-class * A country that has the world's second-largest pool of scientists * A country that has the fifth-largest GDP globally on a purchasing power parity basis (US$3.03 trillion) * The leading nation in information technology (IT). India employs 813,500 people in the IT sector * A country whose railway department is the largest employer in the world (more than one million employees)
Compiled from India 2005 yearbook and numerous other sources