India is located in Asia, with Pakistan, China, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Burma sharing its borders. The Himalaya Mountains, the highest mountains in the world, stretch across India’s northern borders. The vast subcontinent of India is a potpourri of ethnic, religious and cultural diversity. Sixteen official languages (plus numerous local dialects) are spoken by distinct ethnic groups. With a population of more than 1 billion people, India’s population is the world’s second largest.
Indian meals are typically very spicy. Rice is eaten in the southern part of the country while roti, wheat bread, is eaten in the north. Traditionally, people eat food with their right hand. Complicated social structures related to dowry and the caste system remain in practice. Eastern religions dominate: 80 percent of the population is Hindu and 14 percent Muslim. Sikh, Buddhist and Christian religions are minorities. Most people in India earn a living through rice farming although craft production is also important. More than 28 million artisans continue to produce traditional handicrafts using age-old skills. Relations with Pakistan remain tense over disputed Kashmir.
Both countries have continued to amass troops at the shared border.