India is the seventh-largest country and the second-most populous in the world. Following market-based reforms it has become a "newly industrialised country."
The newly formed Republic of India was one of first nations to end the State of War with Germany after World War II and did not claim war reparations from Germany although 24,000 soldiers serving in the British Indian Army died in the campaign to fight Nazi Germany. India maintained diplomatic relations with both West Germany and East Germany and supported their reunification in 1990.
The first Afganistan - India air corridor has been inaugurated in a ceremony at Kabul International Airport. The Afghan government says the route is aimed at helping Afghanistan become an exporting nation. The route also bypasses Pakistan at a time where relations between Kabul and Islamabad remain strained over security issues.
On Wednesday, Leo Varadkar became the Republic of Ireland's youngest ever Taoiseach or prime minister, just a few weeks after he won the Fine Gael party leadership contest. Varadkar is a former GP and the son of an Irish nurse and a doctor from India. In 2015 he also came out as gay. So in previously conservative Ireland, are things changing? Emma Wallis talks to analyst Peter Geoghegan.
India and Pakistan have nuclear weapons and a bloody history. Now they are full members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), a Chinese-led economic and security alliance that seeks to build stability for the region.