India - Country history and economic development

2500 B.C. Inhabitants of the Indus River Valley develop an urban culture based on commerce and sustained by agricultural trade. This new activity leads to some ecological changes in the region.

1000-600 B.C. The caste system is established.

400-500. Northern India is unified under the Gupta dynasty which leads to new heights for the Hindu culture and politics.

1100s. Indian subcontinent is invaded by the Turks and Persians who establish their empires at Delhi. The descendants of Genghis Khan sweep across the Khyber pass and established the Moghul empire which lasts for 2 centuries.

1619. The first British outpost is established in Surat. Later, the East India Company opens trading stations at Madras, Bombay, and Calcutta.

1850. Great Britain expands its influence and controls most of the provinces of India (present-day India, Pakistan and Bangladesh) through direct rule and treaties established with local rulers.

1920. Indian leader Mohandas K. Gandhi transforms the Indian National Congress Party into a mass movement to campaign against British colonial rule. This change is achieved through parliamentary acts, non-violence, and non-cooperation.

1947. India achieves independence from the UK and is divided into 2 nations: India and Pakistan. The new Commonwealth nation of India is led by Jawaharlal Nehru as prime minister.

1961. India becomes a founding member of the Non-Aligned Movement, which among other tasks, seeks solutions for global economic problems.

1966. Indira Gandhi, daughter of Jawaharlal Nehru, becomes India's first female prime minister.

1975. Citing political and economic turmoil, Prime Minister Gandhi declares a state of emergency and the suspension of civil liberties in India. She loses power in the election of 1977 to Moraji Desai of the Janata Party.

1979. After the downfall of the Desai government, Charan Singh forms the interim government followed by a return of Indira Gandhi to power in 1980.

1984. Indira Gandhi is assassinated on 31 October. Rajiv Gandhi, her son, is chosen by the Indian congress as her successor.

1991. Rajiv Gandhi is assassinated by Tamil extremists which results in a sympathy vote for the Congress Party. P. V. Narashima Rao becomes prime minister. Under his leadership, the government serves a full 5-year term and initiates various economic liberalization reforms opening the Indian economy to global trade and investment.

1998. The president approves of a BJP-led coalition government. India conducts a series of underground nuclear tests in May, leading to United States-led economic sanctions in an attempt to force India to sign and abide by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

1999. The BJP-led coalition government falls apart, leading to fresh elections. The BJP forms a coalition with the National Democratic Alliance Party, with Atal Bihari Vajpayee as prime minister.

2001. On 13 December, Kashmiri separatists attack the Indian parliament building. Thirteen people are killed in the attack, including the five separatists. The separatists' ties to Pakistan lead India to accuse Pakistan of being behind the attack, which brings hostile relations between the two countries to a boiling point.

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