India: Names, Location, Extent and Space Relations of India

India Names, locations extent in this article we will study about detail of Indian Sub-Continent it includes location extent and also includes India and oriental world and Neighbors of India etc..

India: Names, Location, Extent and Space Relations of India


Table of Content

  • Introduction:
  • India and the Oriental World
  • India’s Neighbours


Names, Location, Extent and Space Relations of India


India has been known by various names during different periods of history. In the ancient times, it was known by the name ‘Aryavrata’. Later on it started being known as Bharat, Hindustan and India. The Indian Ocean is so named after the name of our country. It is the only ocean in the world which has been named after a country. The Constitution of India accepts only two names of the country-Bharat or India.


India lies wholly in the northern hemisphere. The Indian mainland extends between latitudes 8° 4º north and 37° 6′ north, and longitudes 68° 7′ east and 97° 25′ east. The maximum stretch of the country from north to south is 3,214 km, and from east to west is 2,933 km. The latitudinal extent of our country covers about one-third of the angular distance from equator to the North Pole and the longitudinal extent is equal to about 1/12th of the length of equator. The northern-most point of Indian mainland lies in Jammu and Kashmir and the southern-most point is near Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu. The southern-most point of the country as a whole, including the islands, is in the Great Nicobar island in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the Bay of Bengal. This point is now called Indira Point. This is located at 6°45′ north latitude. The western-most point of the country lies in the salty marsh of the Rann of Kachchh in Gujarat, and the eastern-most point in Arunachal Pradesh.


The latitudinal and longitudinal extent of mainland of India is about 30°. This large extent influences the lives of the people in different ways. Let us study this effect on the lives of Indian people. The northern-most point of the country lies in Jammu and Kashmir, and the line of 37° 6′ north latitude passes through the northern part of this state. This part of the country is at a fairly long distance from the equator. Therefore, the rays of the sun here are much more slanting than the southern part. On the other hand, the southern part of India is quite close to the equator, and this region experiences almost vertical rays of the sun. Due to slanting rays of the sun, the northern part receives a smaller amount of insolation than does the southern part. As a result of this, the northern part of India is colder than the southern part. Another influence of a large latitudinal extent is on the length of day and night. In southern parts of India which are close to the equator, the maximum difference between the duration of day and night is only 45 minutes, while in the northern-most part of the country this difference becomes as large as 5 hours.


The Tropic of Cancer passes through almost the middle of India. About half of the country extending to the south of the Tropic of Cancer lies in the tropical zone, while the remaining half extending to the north of the Tropic of Cancer lies in the temperate zone.


The earth rotates on its axis once in 24 hours. Due to the rotation of the earth on its axis from west to east, the sun rises earlier in the east and later in the west. The earth completes one rotation of 360° longitude in 24 hours at a rate of 15° per hour. India’s longitudinal extent being about 30°, there is a difference of about two hours in the time of sunrise in the eastern-most and the western-most parts of India. Due to this difference, when the sun rises in Arunachal Pradesh in the east, the western part of Gujarat is still in the dark as the sun rises there two hours later. To avoid this confusion in time, like other countries, India has also adopted a standard central meridian. The local time of this standard meridian is taken as the standard time of India. The standard meridian of India is the longitude of 82° 30′ east. While selecting a standard meridian for a country, it is ensured that the meridian concerned passes through the middle of the country and it is completely divisible by 7° 30′. The longitude of 82° 30′ east fulfills both these requirements.


The total area of India is about 32,87,263 sq. km. Accounting for about 2.4 per cent of the total geographical area of the world, India is the seventh largest country of the world in terms of size, gives a comparison of India with the countries larger than her and some others smaller than her. A study of shows that Russia, the largest country in the world, is five times larger than India, and USA has an area three times as large as that of our country. On the other hand, India is about 20 times larger than UK, and 6 times as large as Japan. Thus, in terms of area, India is neither a giant nor a pygmy.

Study of India’s location with reference to the position of oceans and seas is also important. India is broad in the north and it tapers towards the Indian Ocean to south. As a result the northern part of the Indian Ocean has got divided into two parts. The western part is known as the Arabian Sea and the eastern part is called the Bay of Bengal. These two northward extensions of Indian Ocean have been instrumental in strengthening India’s cultural links with the countries of Africa and south-west and south-east Asia, Spread of Indian culture in these countries proves this fact. However, these seas have also acted as a barrier in the establishment of close links with distant countries.

The northern part of India is occupied by tall snow-covered mountain ranges. These ranges fringe India for a stretch of thousands of kilometres and they all radiate in different directions from the Pamir region in Central Asia. Pamir region is also called the ‘Roof of the World’. These ranges formed a very effective barrier in the olden days. Only a few passes provided passage across these ranges, through which some people could cross them over. As a result, India remained cut off from other countries for a long-time. It helped India in developing a typical culture and also in uniting the people of this country.


India and the Oriental World

The countries of East Africa, West Asia and South and South-East Asia are together called the Oriental World, and the Indian Ocean connects these countries with each other. India occupies a central location in the Oriental World. Therefore, India has been in a favourable position to develop cultural and trade relations with the countries of the Oriental world. India has had trade relations with Babylon, Egypt and Phoenicia since ancient times. Arabs traded with India through this ocean. Indian boats and ships have carried merchandise to the valleys of Euphrates, Tigris and Nile for about 4000 years through the Indian Ocean. Through this ocean itself have the ideas, institutions and architectural styles of India been transported to Bali, Indonesia and Cambodia. With the opening of the Suez Canal in the mid-nineteenth century, the Mediterranean Sea has also been connected to the Indian Ocean. This has brought the countries of North Africa and southern Europe within the orbit of the Indian Ocean. Suez Canal has greatly facilitated the trade between India and Europe.

Location of India at the head of the Indian Ocean in the eastern hemisphere is very important. Peninsular region of India has divided the northern part of the Indian Ocean into two parts. Due to this, no other country has such a long coastline on the Indian Ocean. From her western coastline, India can maintain oceanic links with the countries of West Asia, Africa and Europe. Likewise, through the eastern coast we can maintain our relations with the countries of South-East Asia and the Far East.

Tall mountain ranges stretch along the northern boundary of India. Although these ranges were capable of obstructing the winds, they could not stop the movement of people for long. People searched routes across these ranges through valleys and passes. These passages through the mountain barrier enabled the movement of goods and ideas between India and the countries of Asia and Europe. Mongols, Turks, Arabs and Persians entered India through these passages and settled here. These people brought their architectural styles with them, and the domes and minarets are important characteristics of these architectural styles. Through these passages, Buddhism spread through China, Korea, Japan and Central Asia. Through these routes were carried the Indian system of numerals, decimal system, philosophy of Upnishads and the stories of Panchtantra to the other countries.

All this shows that India has had close relations with many other countries since ancient times. Our country has been a very important link in the chain connecting the countries of West Asia, Central Asia, East Asia and South-East Asia, and will continue to be so in future also. India has never been a solitary country and keeping warm relations with its neighbours is necessary for peaceful coexistence of all. The fate of our country is linked with that of the other countries of the world, and we are destined to play a key role in bringing the nations together.

India’s Neighbours

The neighbours of India can be categorized into two groups. One group of neighbours does not share common borders with India and is situated at some distance from our country. Countries like Iran and Indonesia belong to this group.

The second group includes those countries with which India shares common borders. India has common borders with Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar and Bangladesh. They are called the bordering countries of India.

India has a 15,200 km. long land border. The northern and north-eastern boundaries of India are marked by mountain ranges. The Mustagh, the Aghil and Kun Lun ranges surround Jammu and Kashmir in north. Beyond these ranges lies the Sinkiang region of China, which is situated in the Tarim Basin. The ancient civilizations of Kashgar and Khotan flourished here. Boundaries of China, India and Afghanistan converge in the northern part of Jammu and Kashmir. Borders of Pakistan and Tajikistan are at a short distance from this area. Due to its location in the vicinity of five countries, this part has become strategically very important.

Tibetan Plateau extends to the north and east of Jammu and Kashmir. This region is now a part of China. The holy Kailash mountain and Mansorawar Lake are situated in this area.

Moving towards the Himalayas from Jammu and Kashmir, the boundary of India turns to east and south-east, and merges with the Himalayas. Nepal, a country situated in the lap of the Himalayas, is situated to the north of India. Culturally, Nepal is very close to India. We have had close relations with Nepal since ancient times. Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal is connected to India with a very good road. Construction of this road and a joint project on river Kosi have strengthened the bonds of friendship and cooperation between India and Nepal.

Bhutan is situated to the east of Nepal. This country is connected with us by special treaties. East of Bhutan, the boundary between India and China follows the peaks of the Himalayas. This boundary is also known as the McMahon Line. Lhasa, the spiritual and political capital of Tibet, is situated at a distance of less than 300 km. from the Indian border. Boundaries of India, China and Myanmar meet in the north eastern part of Arunachal Pradesh. Convergence of the boundaries of these three countries is often called the north-eastern tri-junction.

The eastern boundary of India is formed by the hills of Purvachal. These hill ranges stretch from north-east to south-west. They separate India from Myanmar. The major hill ranges among these from north to south are the Mishmi, the Patkai, the Naga, the Barail and the Mizo Hills. The Mizo Hills merge into the Arakan Yoma range in south. Further southwards, these ranges are submerged in the Bay of Bengal and become visible again in the form of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The mountain ranges on the northern and eastern boundary of India are very complex and inaccessible. Due to this very reason, India could not develop close links at large scale with the neighbouring countries to the north and east. Development of a modern means of transport started only during the last century. This development has brought changes in the mountainous regions also. A number of roads have now been constructed here. Hindustan-Tibet Road is one such road. This road passes through Shipki La situated in the Gorge of the Sutlej. Kashmir-Leh route has been extended north-wards to cross the high ranges of the north through Karakoram Pass. The third major route lies across a pass in Sikkim. With the development of airways, these mountain ranges are no more a hindrance to the movement of people.

Bangladesh is a sovereign republic situated to the east of West Bengal. Surrounded by five states of India-West Bengal, Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram, Bangladesh forms almost an enclave within India.

Pakistan is our neighbour in the west. The states of Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Rajasthan and Gujarat share a boundary with this country.

The boundary of India passes through a variety of landscapes. While in some sectors it passes through extremely hot, dry uninhabited areas, in other parts it passes through green cultivated fields, and in still other sections it follows murmuring streams. In some other sectors it follows the snow-covered mountain peaks or dense forests. The soldier of Indian army has to guard the borders of India in both cold mountains and burning sands of the desert at various times.

India has marine boundaries on the Arabian Sea, the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean. The total length of the coastline of India including the length of the coastline of the island groups is 7,516.6 km. There are two major island groups in India, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the Bay of Bengal and the Lakshadweep in the Arabian Sea. Sri Lanka is our closest neighbour across the sea. The Palk Strait separates Sri Lanka from India. Indonesia is our second nearest neighbour among countries not sharing a border with India. This country is situated at a short distance from the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Maldive is another of our neighbours across the sea. This country is situated in the Indian Ocean south of the Lakshadweep. Beyond the ocean to the west are situated Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya and Tanzania. Iraq, Iran and the Arab countries are also situated in the same direction at a short distance from India. Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos are our close neighbours to the east.

India has been a peace-loving country from ancient times. She has never attacked any country in her history. There are no marks of Indian military conquest in other countries. However, there are definite marks of influence of India’s literary and cultural influence abroad. Indians are not only peaceful; they are freedom lovers also. We got freedom from the British after a great sacrifice. Many people laid down their lives in the pursuit of freedom. We shall protect our freedom even at cost of our lives.

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