India

The Salvation Army officially started working in India in 1913. Currently, there are 231 corps throughout the country where 245 Salvation officers and 169 members of staff are employed.

General

Capital: New Delhi
Surface area: 3.287.263 km²
Number of inhabitants: 1.2 billion
Language: Hindi, English
Religion: Hindu, Muslim, Christian
Currency: Indian Rupee (INR)
Form of government: Federal Republic 

Development

India has a score of 0.624 on the Human Development Index (HDI). This is a composite number that includes numbers pertaining to life expectancy, education and income per capita. This number is used to rank countries in four levels of human development. The higher these factors, the higher the index number.India is a country full of contrasts. Although the country is highly developed in terms of technology and infrastructure, 25% of the population lives below the poverty line. In addition, 12% of children work in child labor and people with disabilities, elderly or in need of medical care have very few opportunities for education, jobs and financial support. Also, 2.4 million people in India have AIDS. These numbers are decreasing, but since healthcare in India in some sense is a privileged service, 62.000 people die every year as a result of Aids (source: www.avert.org).The energy supply is still one of the biggest problems in India, especially in the countryside where about 75% of the population lives. Many people there do not have access to electricity.

History

Remains of the Dravidian civilization, dating back to 4000 BC, have been found in the Indus Valley, an area in current Pakistan. Around 1500 BC, Arian nomadic tribes from Persia arrived in the Indus Valley. Through the centuries, the dark-colored Dravidians merged with the light-colored Aryans. These Aryans started the cast system, in which they were the highest rank. From the year 800, India was regularly invaded by the Turkish Muslims, and between the 16th and 18th century the Mongols ruled the country. Portugal was the first European country to sail around the Cape of Good Hope and reach India. They settled in India and named it the colony of Goa. From the 17th century England began to influence the situation in India. In 1676 the French also settled on the east coast of India at Pondicherry, south of Madras. From 1858 to 1947 India was ruled as part of the British Empire. Following a revolt led by Mohandas Kawamchand Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru as well as Indian heroes Uddam Singh, Chandu SkeQar Azad and Bhagat Singh, British India became independent in 1947. The country was divided into the British in the state of India and the state of Pakistan (source: Indiaweb).  

Politics and Economy

After the division of India and Pakistan, both states were initially part of the Commonwealth, a commitment of sovereign states with British Queen Elizabeth II as a symbolic leader. After independence, Congress leader Nehru became prime minister of India. In the early 1960s, India started having friction with China because both had claims on parts of the state of Ladakh. Eventually, a Chinese invasion followed in 1962. Nehru also struggled handling the bad economic situation. He passed away in 1964 and was succeeded by Lal Bahadur Shastri, who immediately got into a war with Pakistan about the state of Kashmir. After a short time of peace, a second Pakistani-Indian war broke out in 1965. The mediation by the Soviet Union led to a ceasefire in January 1966. Shastri died that same year and Indira Gandhi, the daughter of Nehru, became the new prime minister. In 1971, a war broke out between India and Pakistan for the third time, again about Kashmir. The 1971 elections were won by the Gandhi Congress Party thanks to its promise to put an end to poverty. Following support from China and the United States to Pakistan, India entered into a treaty with the Soviet Union in 1971.Indira Gandhi was succeeded by her son Rajiv Gandhi. In 1998, India conducted five underground nuclear tests in the desert in Rajasthan as a result of friction with China and Pakistan. The following year, new elections were held and won by the new coalition, but this government was also involved in corruption scandals. In July 2007, Pratibha Patil became the first female president of India and was succeed by Pranab Mukherdee. The current president of India is Ram Nath Kovind. He won the elections in 2017. 

Culture

India is the source of some great religions including Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism. This is prevalent on the streets and through the great impressive temples. The Indians have influenced, the beginning of the Khmer Empire, Java, and also Funan and Champa. Also, in contemporary Thailand there are several kingdoms such as Haripunchai, Dvaravati and Lopburi influenced by the Indians. An important part of the Indian culture is the film industry. India is one of the biggest film producers in the world and famous for its Bollywood movies, often featured in Mumbai