India

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India, the major portion of the Indian subcontinent, lies atop the Indian tectonic plate, a minor plate within the Indo-Australian Plate.[39] India's defining geological processes commenced seventy-five million years ago, when the Indian subcontinent, then part of the southern supercontinent Gondwana, began a northeastwards drift—lasting fifty million years—across the then unformed IndianOcean.[39] The subcontinent's subsequent collision with the Eurasian Plate and subduction under it, gave rise to the Himalayas, the planet's highest mountains, which now abut India in the north and the north-east.[39] In the former seabed immediately south of the emerging Himalayas, plate movement created a vast trough, which, having gradually been filled with river-borne sediment,[40] now forms theIndo-Gangetic Plain.[41] To the west of this plain, and cut off from it by the Aravalli Range, lies the Thar Desert.[42]
The original Indian plate now survives as peninsular India, the oldest and geologically most stable part of India, and extends as far north as the Satpura and Vindhya ranges in central India. These parallel ranges run from the Arabian Sea coast in Gujarat in the west to thecoal-rich Chota Nagpur Plateau in Jharkhand in the east.[43] To their south, the remaining peninsular landmass, the Deccan Plateau, is flanked on the left and right by the coastal ranges, Western Ghats and Eastern Ghats respectively;[44] the plateau contains the oldest rock formations in India, some over one billion years old. Constituted in such fashion, India lies to the north of the equatorbetween 6°44' and 35°30' north latitude[45] and 68°7' and 97°25' east longitude.[46]

The Himalayas form the mountainous landscape of northern India. Seen here is Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir.
India's coast is 7,517 kilometres (4,700 mi) long; of this distance, 5,423 kilometres (3,400 mi) belong to peninsular India, and 2,094 kilometres (1,300 mi) to the Andaman, Nicobar, and LakshadweepIslands.[47] According to the Indian naval hydrographic charts, the mainland coast consists of the following: 43% sandy beaches, 11% rocky coast including cliffs, and 46% mudflats or marshy coast.[47]
Major Himalayan-origin rivers that substantially flow through India include the Ganges (Ganga) and the Brahmaputra, both of which drain into the Bay of Bengal.[48] Important tributaries of the Ganges includethe Yamuna and the Kosi; the latter's extremely low gradient causes disastrous floods every year. Major peninsular rivers, whose steeper gradients prevent their waters from flooding, include the Godavari, the Mahanadi, the Kaveri, and the Krishna, which also drain into the Bay of Bengal;[49] and the Narmada and the Tapti, which drain into the Arabian Sea.[50] Among notable coastal features ofIndia are the marshy Rann of Kutch in western India, and the alluvial Sundarbans delta, which India shares with Bangladesh.[51] India has two archipelagos: the Lakshadweep, coral atolls off India's south-western coast; and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, a volcanic chain in the Andaman Sea.[52]
Government
India is a federation with a parliamentary system governed under the Constitution ofIndia.[82] It is a constitutional republic and representative democracy, in which "majority rule is tempered by minority rights protected by law." Federalism in India defines the power distribution between the centre and the states. The government is regulated by a checks and balances defined by Indian Constitution, which serves as the country's supreme legal document. The Constitution of India, whichcame into effect on 26 January 1950,[83] states in its preamble that India is a sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic republic.[84] India's form of government, traditionally described as 'quasi-federal' with a strong centre and weak states,[85] has grown increasingly federal since the late 1990s as a result of political, economic and social changes.[86]
The President of India is the head of...
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