India is one of the ancient civilizations in the world. It has achieved multifaceted socio- economic progress during the last five decades. It has moved forward displaying remarkable progress in the field of agriculture, industry, technology and overall economic development.
The mainland of India, extends from Ladakh in the north to Kanya kumari in the south and Arunachal Pradesh in the east to Gujarat in the west. India’s territorial limit further extends towards the sea up to 12 nautical miles (about 21.9 km) from the coast.
Four Ends of India:
Easternmost Point: Kibithu Situated on the right bank of river Lohit separating India from China-Tibet region.
Westernmost Point: Ghuar Mota, situated in Kutch area of Gujarat. The region is famous for its harsh climate with 45 degree C in summer and 20 degree C in winter. During the Monsoon season this region looks like a tortoise surrounded by seawater.
Northernmost Point: It has been in controversies just after indepen-dence. The Siachen Glacier in the Ladakh is the Northern boundary of India according to the official division of India during the time of Independence.
Southernmost Point: Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu is the southernmost point of Indian Mainland. Formerly, it is known as Cape Comorin. Indira Point in the Great Nicobar Island is the southernmost point of Indian territories.
Few More Points
The Arkan Yoma mountain range is submerged in the Bay of Bengal. Its rising portion forms the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
The States of Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand are only land-locked states which are neither on the coast nor on an international border.
The area of India is nearly equal to the area of the entire Europe Excluding Russia.
1.1. Location of India
India is a vast country. Lying entirely in the Northern hemisphere the main land extends between latitudes 8°4’N and 37°6’N and longitudes 68°7’E and 97°25’E.
The southernmost point extends up to 6-degree 45 minutes latitude to cover the last Island of the Nicobar Group of Islands. The Southern extreme is called Pygmalion Point or Indira Point.
The Tropic of Cancer (23° 30’N) divides the country into almost two equal parts. To the southeast and southwest of the mainland, lie the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and the Lakshadweep islands in Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea respectively.
The land mass of India has an area of 3.28 million square km. India’s total area accounts for about 2.4 per cent of the total geographical area of the world.
India is the seventh largest country of the world. India has a land boundary of about 15,200 km and the total length of the coast line of the mainland including Andaman and Nicobar and Lakshadweep is 7,516.6 km.
If you work out the latitudinal and longitudinal extent of India, they are roughly about 30 degrees, whereas the actual distance measured from north to south extremity is 3,214 km, and that from east to west is only 2,933 km. This difference is based on the fact that the distance between two longitudes decreases towards the poles whereas the distance between two latitudes remains the same everywhere.
1.2.1. longitudinal extent and its implications on the Indian people
From the values of longitude, it is quite discernible that there is a variation of nearly 30 degrees, which causes a time difference of nearly two hours between the easternmost and the westernmost parts of our country.
From Gujarat to Arunachal Pradesh there is a time lag of two hours. Hence, time along the Standard Meridian of India (82°30’E) passing through Mirzapur (in Uttar Pradesh) is taken as the standard time for the whole country.
The latitudinal extent influences the duration of the day and night, as one moves from south to north.
1.3. India’s Neighbours
India occupies an important strategic position in South Asia. India has 28 states and 8 Union Territories India shares its land boundaries with Pakistan and Afghanistan in the northwest, China (Tibet), Nepal and Bhutan in the north and Myanmar and Bangladesh in the east.
Our southern neighbours across the sea consist of the two island countries, namely Sri Lanka and Maldives.
Sri Lanka is separated from India by a narrow channel of sea formed by the Palk Strait and the Gulf of Mannar while Maldives Islands are situated to the south of the Lakshadweep Islands.
India has had strong geographical and historical links with her neighbours. India’s 4096km long border with Bangladesh is the longest and accounts for nearly 27 percent of the total land border of India.
The States having common Frontiers with Neighbouring Countries:
Pakistan: Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh, Punjab, Rajasthan, Gujarat
There are a total 28 states and 8 Union Territories that form the Indian coastline. Out of 4 union territories 2 are located in the mainland and 2 are Islands.
The coastal states of India from east to west are: West Bengal, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Goa, Maharashtra and Gujarat. The mainland UTs are: Puducherry and Daman & Diu and the Island UTs are: Andaman and Nicobar in Bay of Bengal and Lakshadweep in Arabian Sea.
Following are list of States and UTs with coastline in decreasing order of the length of coastline:
Gujarat: 1214.7 km
Andhra Pradesh: 973.7km
Tamil Nadu: 906.9km
Goa (with Daman and Diu) 160.5km
West Bengal: 157.5km
Andaman and Nicobar Islands: 1962km (Islands UT)
Lakshadweep Island: 132 km (Islands UT)
With the sum of the coastal length of all these states and UTs, the total coastal length of India becomes 7516.6km. India has the 18th longest total coastal length among all world countries. The coastal length of mainland India is 5422.6km. The coastal length of all Islands taken together is 2094km.
1.5. Few More Points
The states through which the Tropics of Cancer Passes: The tropic of cancer India passes through 8 states. They are mentioned below from West to East: Mizoram (Champhai), Tripura (Udaipur), West Bengal (Krishnanagar), Jharkhand (Lohardaga), Chattisgarh (Sonhat), Madhya Pradesh (Shajapur), Rajasthan (Kalinjarh), Gujarat (Jasdan).
Great Channel: Indira Point and Indonesia
10-degree channel: Little Andaman and Nicobar
9-degree channel: Minicoy and Lakshadweep
8-degree Channel: Maldives and Minicoy
Gulf of Mannar and Palk Strait: Indian and Sri lanka
Important Land Boundaries of India
Durand Line: India-Afghanistan and Pakistan-Afghanistan International boundary is called Durand Line.
McMahon Line: The India-China boundary (4225km) is a natural boundary running along the Himalayan ranges and is based on various treaties. Its eastern part (1140km) is called McMahon Line.
RedCliffe Award: The Boundary with Pakistan and Bangladesh (East Pakistan) was finalized at the time of partition in 1947 through the RadCliffe Award.
The Tin Bigha Corridor: It is a strip of land belonging to India. It is a part of West Bengal and lies adjacent to the Bangladesh border.
Sir Creek: It forms the boundary between Gujarat State of India and Sindh province of Pakistan.