India's Andhra Pradesh state has officially been split to create Telangana, the country's 29th state. It comes after almost six decades of separatist campaigning and follows national parliamentary elections.
Celebrations erupted in southern India on Monday to mark the creation of India's newest state of Telangana. Residents began the revelry at the stroke of midnight, with a fireworks display over the city of Hyderabad.
Regional political leader Chandrasekhar Rao, who led a 14-year struggle for the creation of India's 29th state, was sworn in as its chief minister. The division was made possible after his party, Telangana Rashtra Samithi, won a majority in the new state assembly in recent elections.
India's national parliament approved the contentious bill to create the new state in February, a move supported by the two nationwide parties, the Indian National Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party.
India's new Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Rao Sunday, promising his "complete support to the people & Government of Telangana" in a message on Twitter.
"Telangana's birth comes after years of struggle and sacrifices by several people. We pay our respects to them today," Modi added.
The campaign to create a separate state began in the late 1950s, with separatists arguing the area had been neglected by successive state governments. There had been strong opposition from other regions of Andhra Pradesh especially the wealthier coastal regions that feared a split would trigger economic upheaval.
Telangana now comprises 10 of the former Andhra Pradesh's 23 districts with a population of 35 million. Both states will share the information technology and industrial hub Hyderabad as their capital for at least the next decade.
The last time India redrew its internal boundaries was in 2000, which led to the creation of three new states in the country's economically deprived north.
hc/dr (AFP, AP, dpa)