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Location And Space Relations

Location And Space Relations

India As A Geographical Unit

  • India that is Bharat is a part of the Indian subcontinent which itself is a part of the larger Asian continent. The subcontinent is a well-defined geographical unit within which the political units of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and Sri Lanka are included. India is surrounded by Himalayan mountain ranges in the northern half while in the southern half the Indian Ocean encircles her. The lofty Himalayas are partly covered by permanent ice cover and partly by dense mountain forests. To the south of Himalayas is the vast Indo-Gangetic plain. The arid desert land forms the north-western boundary of the country. The peninsula of the country comprises an uneven plateau which is surrounded by coastal plains in the east and west. This vast landscape is occupied by widely diverse flora, fauna and human races and has evolved into an integrated physical and cultural ecosystem. Due to its vastness and diversities, India is considered to be a subcontinent as it comprises all the characteristics of a continent.


  • India is located in the northern hemisphere, as it lies north of the equator. She lies to the east of the prime meridian. India extends from 8° 4′ north to 37° 6′ north latitude and 68° 7′ east to 97° 25′ east longitude. Thus its latitudinal and longitudinal extent is about thirty degrees. The southernmost point of the country is the Pygmalion point or Indira Point in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands-and is located at 6° 45′ latitude. The northern most point is Indira Col in Jammu & Kashmir. The north-south extent from Indira Col to Kanyakumari is 3214 km while its east-west width from the Rann of Kachchh to Arunachal Pradesh is 2933 km.
  • Mainland India has a coastline of 6100 km and including the Lakshadweep Islands and Andaman & Nicobar Islands the length of coastline increases to about 7516 km. To the north-west, north and north-east, India has land frontiers measuring about 15,200 km in length. India’s territorial limit further extends towards the sea up to 12 nautical miles (about 21.9 km) from the coast. With an area of 32, 87, 263 km2 India is the seventh largest country of the world after Russia, Canada, China, USA, Brazil and Australia. Accounting for 2.4% of the total surface area of the world, it houses 17.6% of the total world population. India is nearly twenty times as large as Great Britain, the country which ruled India for about two centuries. Also, India has the second largest area of arable land after USA. Location And Space Relations


  • Climatic diversity: Large latitudinal and longitudinal extent ensures climatic diversity. The country is divided into two almost equal parts by the Tropic of Cancer (23° 30′ N). Tropic of Cancer is the maximum latitudinal limit in the northern hemisphere up to which the sun position shifts during summer solstice. The portion south of Tropic of Cancer referred as southern half has tropical climate as a) sun rays fall vertically straight downwards and, b) the oceans on both the side of peninsular landmass help keep the temperature warm. On the other side, in the northern half sun rays strike relatively obliquely, as it is far off from the equator. Consequently, this part of the country receives lesser amount of insolation and has cold climate unlike the southern parts. The northern half experiences subtropical and temperate climate and is somewhat continental in nature.
  • Length of day and night: The difference between day and night goes on increasing from equator towards poles. The day and night in southern-most part of India are almost of equal duration with the difference being only about 45 minutes. This difference between day and night in the northern parts of India steadily goes on increasing till it becomes as much as 5 hours in Ladakh.
  • Timelines: The earth takes 24 hours to rotate around itself. The earth’s longitudinal expanse of 360° is thus covered in 24 hours, thereby covering 15 degrees of longitudes in one hour. As the longitudinal extent of India is nearly 29°, it takes nearly 2 hours to cover India from its east to west extremities. Now as the earth rotates from west to east, the Sun appears to `emerge’ first on the eastern horizon. Since Arunachal Pradesh is towards the east, it will have the earliest or the first sunrise in India while Saurashtra in Gujarat will have sunrise 2 hours later.
  • This difference in real local times creates problems of administrative co­ordination. Therefore, the time of longitudinal middle of India at 82°30′ E longitude (near Allahabad) is taken as the Standard Meridian Time of India. It means that when it is noon in Allahabad, the time for the whole India is taken as noon. As for International Standard Time i.e. Greenwich Meridian Time (GMT) is concerned, the difference between it and Indian Standard Time is around 5.30 hrs. Location And Space Relations

INTERNATIONAL BOUNDARIES | Location And Space Relations 

  • Arabian Sea, Indian Ocean and Bay of Bengal on three sides and the Himalayas and its offshoots, the Thar Desert and marshy Rann of Kachchh and fertile plains of Punjab and Haryana form the natural frontiers of the country. India shares its boundaries with Pakistan, China, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, Bangladesh and Afghanistan — if we take into consideration Pakistan occupied Kashmir. Location And Space Relations
  • The nearest neighbour of India across the sea, is Sri Lanka which is separated by the narrow Palk Strait from the mainland of India. Maldives Island is another neighbour situated to the south of Lakshadweep islands. Myanmar is our immediate neighbour across the Purvanchal Hills and the Bay of Bengal. The extended neighbourhood on these frontiers includes Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Laos and Vietnam. To the west are Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq and Arabian countries. Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya and Tanzania are our neighbours across the ocean. Five countries of Asia – China, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India meet at the apex of the north Indian triangle. At the easternmost point of the Indian border is the north-eastern tri-junction, where India, China and Myanmar meet. Also India’s location in South Asia is such that it practically commands the whole of Indian Ocean.
Country Length   of

border (km)

Percentage           of

total length

Bangladesh 4096 26.95
China 3917 25.77
Pakistan 3310 21.78
Nepal 1752 11.53
Mya’nmar 1458 9.59
Bhutan 587 3.86
Afghanistan 80 0.52


  • India faces number of border issues with its neighbours as most of these borders are colonial legacy. These are political boundaries which generally do not conform to natural frontiers between the countries. Besides, the borders were set in hurry without seeking consensus of the affected parties. Till now, India has settled peacefully the boundary disputes with Shri Lanka (Kachchhativu Island was given to Sri Lanka by 1974 agreement) and Bangladesh (by Land Boundary Agreement of 1974 and its 2011 Protocol). Maritime boundary dispute with Bangladesh was resolved by the boundary tribunal under International Court of Justice. There are no boundary disputes with Nepal and Bhutan. However, the boundary disputes with China and Pakistan still persist. Location And Space Relations
  • The boundary line between India and Pakistan is based on the recommendations of Cyril Radcliff Commission set up by the British before their withdrawal from the subcontinent. Pakistan has laid claims over whole of Kashmir, Siachen Glacier and Sir Creek. At present, in Jammu and Kashmir the status of boundary line with Pakistan exists as 188 km of International Border, 788 km of Line of Control and 150 km of actual Ground Position Line. The dispute over Rann of Kachchh was resolved by decision of Boundary Tribunal of International Court of Justice in 1969. Location And Space Relations
  • The boundary line between India and China is called McMahon Line. After the war of 1962, the boundary between India and China is known as Line of Actual Control (LAC). China recognized Sikkim as integral part of India in 2004. China has boundary dispute with India in following sectors:
    • Western sector — Portion of Pakistan occupied Kashmir in Hunza-Gilgit area, Aksai Chin and eastern Ladakh with area of around 54000’km2 of area.
    • Middle sector — Not significant dispute though China claims around 2000 km2 of area.
    • Eastern sector — The whole of Arunachal Pradesh with area of around 88000 km2 is claimed by China. Location And Space Relations

INDIA AS A CULTURAL ENTITY | Location And Space Relations 

  • From the point of view of historical geography, India as a cultural entity encompasses the whole Indian subcontinent. It harbours one of the oldest living civilizations of the world.
  • Archaeological findings suggest that the food gatherers of Mesolithic age lived in caves of the central Indian mountains, the forests of the Ganga basin and the rugged terrains of the Deccan peninsula. Between 3000 and 2000 BC, a group of these people developed a highly advanced civilization in and around the Sindh valley. It is called the Harappan civilisation. The reasons for decline of this civilization are theorized to be either the recurring floods caused by tectonic uplifting of the lower Sindh valley or, prolonged drought due to weakened monsoon or, overuse of natural resources such as land and forests under the heavy pressure of population or, probably the attacks of other tribes coming from Central Asia. Harappan civilization gave way to a new civilization led by people known as Aryans, who arrived in successive streams from Central Asia. By around 1500 BC, the Aryans assimilated with local tribes, economy and culture. By 1000 BC, the Aryan influence reached the peninsular south to integrate the whole of geographical India into a single cultural entity.
  • All along this period from before the Harappan civilization, the tribals — the original inhabitants – retreated into the hilly forests of peninsular India and they too developed a distinct nature-worship and primitive occupation based culture. The people living in the rugged mountains and forests of north-east India too developed a diverse, modernized and socially advanced culture. Location And Space Relations
  • The Indian civilization in coming times accommodated people originating from different races, many religions of which some developed indigenously and some brought by incoming streams of people, a Varna system based on caste system, an economy based on agriculture and related cultural give and take. A common mode of life evolved with interaction of Monsoon based weather system and the different cultures within the Indian subcontinent. Location And Space Relations

INDIA AS A POLITICAL UNIT | Location And Space Relations 

  • Geographically and culturally any region cannot be strictly demarcated. Such delineation happens when a country is organized politically i.e. into different regional units having a common administrative structure and a common sovereign rule. All through the history, attempts were made by people to weave cultural and geographical India into a single political entity. Kings such as Ashoka, Akbar and then the British Empire almost succeeded in doing so. Many others tried but failed as communication and transport technology were major hindrances in unification. Also, the modern concept of nation-state too did not exist then. The size of political India too has fluctuated from time to time. The British succeeded in uniting the country to the largest possible extent but ironically left the country divided.
  • At the time of independence, the country was reorganized by merging nine British provinces and 562 princely states into the Union of Indian Republic. During the first phase of political reorganization of Indian states, four categories of states A, B, C and D were created based on the pre-independence political map of India.
  • But the above classification did not take into consideration the geo-economic viability and sociocultural distinctions. The Indian Government devised a mechanism based on considerations such as distinctive regional, cultural and economic characteristics. With this background and also the growing demand for linguistic states, government enacted States Reorganisation Act, 1956. The act led to the reorganization of India into 14 States and 6 Union Territories. Since then demands for reorganization of states on cultural, linguistic, developmental and other grounds has seen the creation of many new states thereby swelling the numbers to 29 States and 7 Union Territories. As of now, Chhattisgarh, Uttaranchal and Jharkhand (in 2000) and Telangana (in 2013) were the last additions to the list of states
  • On the other hand, there are other administrative units like Autonomous Council regions, Schedule V and VI regions, Regional Development units like Vidarbha Statutory Development Board, etc. Under the Panchayati Raj system, the district level unit is further divided into a three tier system of District, Block (Mandal/Taluka) and Village.
  • The demands for creation of new states like Telangana, Vidarbha, Greater Nagaland, Harit Pradesh (western Uttar Pradesh), etc. have been present with varying intensity. The influence of underlying diverse and centrifugal forces in unity of India is visible in these demands.  Location And Space Relations



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