The ‘Know Your Region’ series is designed to support unit and individual professional military education on the Indo-Pacific region.

India Overview

India is a large country in South Asia made up of 28 states and eight Union Territories. India is about one third coastline and borders six countries: Pakistan to the northwest; Nepal, China, and Bhutan to the north; Myanmar to the east; with Bangladesh encapsulated by India in its northeast, except for a southern Bangladesh coastline. Sri Lanka sits off the southeast coast of India. India is bounded by the Himalayas to the north and has multiple ranges and plateaus throughout the country. This was caused by subduction of the Indian-Australian tectonic plate under the Eurasian plate. India is the world’s largest democracy and fifth largest economy. 

For further information on India, see the resources below:


  1. India Britannica
  2. India Country Profile – DFAT 
  3. India Country Profile – BBC
  4. India Articles – The Guardian
  5. India – general facts and information – CIA World Factbook


India is one of the most ethnically diverse countries in the world due to its many religions, languages, and tribes. This makes it difficult to create a unified concept of nationhood as culture differs greatly between regions. India’s caste system of societal classes further divides any push for unity. 

Indian’s value harmony with others, which makes them value unity with family and their community. Some community groups develop their own set of rules to maintain order and harmony. Collectivism unites these communities and the people within them will put their community first, ahead of themselves. Humility is highly valued as any actions that reduce an individual’s reputation may also reduce that of their community or family. Indians are relatively modest and conservative. They will avoid speaking loudly and will avoid physical contact between opposite genders. Karma is a popular belief whereby any negative actions by an individual will be repaid in both their current and future life. 

For further information on Indian culture, see the resources below:


  1. Cultural Atlas – Indian Culture
  2. Indian Culture – Core Concepts – Cultural Atlas (
  3. India – Culture, Traditions, Cuisine | Britannica
  5. Indian Society and Ways of Living | Asia Society


  1. Introduction to Indian Cultural Heritage – Indian Culture and Tradition | General Awareness Series (

National Psyche

Due to the diversity of India’s people, it is difficult to describe a single Indian national psyche. Religion plays a large part in Indian culture and psyche. Around 80% of Indian’s are Hindu, 14% are Muslim, 2% are Christian, 2% Sikh, less than 1% Buddhist and less than 1% Jain. As a result of the majority its religion holds, Hindu nationalism – where Hindus wish for the country to be united under one common religion – has a significant presence. This can lead to anti-Muslim and anti-Christian sentiment, although extremist views are mostly isolated to small pockets. Hindu nationalism does however threaten democracy as it can be used to weaponize the majority to overpower the minority and suppress any non-Hindu world views. 

For further information on Indian psyche, see the resources below:


  1. The political psychology of Hindu nationalism | openDemocracy

Public Diplomacy

In recent decades India has worked toward building soft power capability through the increase of public diplomacy, largely believed to be in response to China’s growing influence in the region. India has used social media to broadly engage younger voters. They have also attempted to change the perception that the Government only cares about those in the nation’s capital of New Delhi by trying to engage regional areas. India has also aimed to change its public image amongst its neighbours by adopting a softer approach rather than its more traditional hardline approach of being one of the larger and tougher countries in the region. This also encourages foreign investment and gives India increased foreign influence. 

For further information on Indian public diplomacy, see the resources below:


  1. India’s New Public Diplomacy: Soft Power and the Limits of Government Action (

Media and Internet

India has numerous daily press newspapers and news magazines. There are over 17,000 newspaper titles. Indian television coverage is dominated by more than 900 private satellites TV stations which are predominantly news coverage channels. The state owned free-to-air television station is called Doordarshan. Around half of the Indian population accesses the internet, with lower rates existing in rural areas. Media and internet services are regularly interrupted in Kashmir during times of conflict. Other parts of India also experience regular internet blackouts, although at much lower rates than the Kashmir region. The Indian Government is known to use internet blackouts as a means to control civil disobedience, unrest, and violence. This strategy has been raised as problematic as it tends to hide the human rights crimes happening in regions around India during times of crisis. 

For further information on Indian media and internet, see the resources below:


  1. Internet: 52% of Indian population had internet access in 2022, says report – The Economic Times (
  2. ‘A tool of political control’: how India became the world leader in internet blackouts | India | The Guardian
  3. India media guide – BBC News

International Forums

India is part of the ASEAN Regional Forum which is the principal forum for security dialogue in Asia. In recent years India has sought to develop international relations that benefit its own interests rather than other nations’ interest such as the US or UK. Most recently, a Quadrilateral Security Dialogue known as ‘The Quad’ was signed between India, Australia, Japan, and the US. India also has its own India Global Forum aimed at increasing global business investment in India. India has recently renewed interest in joining the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Forum, although there has been concern that its size and power may over-represent Asia and overshadow the Pacific.