The rise in Hindu nationalism has heightened tensions with
Pakistan, which already were exacerbated by the Kashmir dispute and
nuclear testing. When Islamic extremists hijacked an Indian jet to
Afghanistan in 1999, the Taliban helped release most hostages in
exchange for allowing the hijackers to escape and freeing radical
Pakistani cleric Masood Azhar from an Indian jail. Pakistan has also
been allied with China, which fought a border war with India in
Area: 1.2 million square miles, more than one-third the size
of the U.S.
Population: 1 billion. Although India occupies only 2.4
percent of the world’s land area, it supports more than 15 percent
of the world’s population.
Religion: While 83 percent of Indians are Hindu, it has
one of the world’s largest Muslim populations, more than 120