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In the mid-18th century, the subcontinent came under British East India Company rule, and in the mid-19th under British crown rule.
A nationalist movement emerged in the late 19th century, which later, under Mahatma Gandhi, was noted for nonviolent resistance and led to India's independence in 1947.
Newly coherent social groups in northern and western India, such as the Marathas, the Rajputs, and the Sikhs, gained military and governing ambitions during Mughal rule, which, through collaboration or adversity, gave them both recognition and military experience.
By the early 18th century, with the lines between commercial and political dominance being increasingly blurred, a number of European trading companies, including the English East India Company, had established coastal outposts.
A nuclear weapons state and regional power, it has the second largest standing army in the world and ranks fifth in military expenditure among nations.
India is a federal republic governed under a parliamentary system and consists of 29 states and 7 union territories.
By repeatedly repulsing Mongol raiders in the 13th century, the sultanate saved India from the devastation visited on West and Central Asia, setting the scene for centuries of migration of fleeing soldiers, learned men, mystics, traders, artists, and artisans from that region into the subcontinent, thereby creating a syncretic Indo-Islamic culture in the north.
Buddhism, based on the teachings of Gautama Buddha, attracted followers from all social classes excepting the middle class; chronicling the life of the Buddha was central to the beginnings of recorded history in India. It is the seventh-largest country by area, the second-most populous country (with over 1.2 billion people), and the most populous democracy in the world.It is bounded by the Indian Ocean on the south, the Arabian Sea on the southwest, and the Bay of Bengal on the southeast.In the following millennium, the oldest scriptures associated with Hinduism began to be composed.Social stratification, based on caste, emerged in the first millennium BCE, and Buddhism and Jainism arose.