Due to the strained relations that India has with its neighbouring countries and the growth of the uncertainty worldwide created by international terrorism, the Indian government has been investing heavily in upgrading its defence capabilities in recent times. Currently, India is one of the top military spenders in the world. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) Fact Sheet released in March 2014, India was the world’s largest importer of major conventional weapons, for the period 2010–14. India’s imports of major arms increased by 140% over the periods 2005–2009 and 2010–14. This trend continued, as reflected in the Financial Year’s (FY) 2016-17 defence budget, which was projected to reach Rs 249099 crore (i.e. some 38.1 billion US dollars).

India lies on the Indian Plate. It has long borders encompassing different geographical and climatic conditions, such as desert terrain, snow-covered mountains and thick rain fed mountainous jungles. On the south, India is wet by the Indian Ocean while to the east, north and west it has land borders with countries such as Bangladesh, China, Pakistan, Nepal, Myanmar and Bhutan.

India has significant deposits of natural resources. Some of them are coal, iron ore, manganese ore, mica, bauxite, petroleum, titanium ore, chromite, natural gas, magnesite, limestone, arable land, dolomite, barytes, kaolin, gypsum, apatite, phosphorite, steatite and fluorite.

Over the past two decades, India’s economy has made sustained progress on scale, size and pace. Large inflows of FDI, rising foreign exchange reserves and a flourishing capital market created a positive economic environment. Currently, India can be fairly characterized as an emerging economic power, with an important amount of human and natural resources and furthermore with a huge knowledge base. Additionally, the economic liberalization and the structural reformation of the country, transformed it into an open-market economy.

India has a diverse economy that includes both traditional and modern sectors of the market. From village farming to modern agriculture and from handicrafts to a wide range of modern industries, India’s economy can be fairly characterized as a mixture of tradition and modernization. By capitalizing on large numbers of well-educated employees, skilled in the English language, India managed to become a major exporter of software services and software workers. Therefore, the country emerged as a global player in information technology, business process outsourcing and telecommunications.

It is indicative that India’s IT and Business Process Management (BPM) sectors’ revenues, reached 143 billion US dollars in FY 2016, recording a growth of approximately 8.5% year-on-year, while exports reached 108 Billion US dollars, significantly increased (10.3 %) compared to the previous year. The industry employs nearly 3.7 million people.
Oil & Gas sector is a key contributor to India’s economy. As of the beginning of 2015, the country had 635 Million Metric Tonnes (MMT) of proven oil reserves, 54 Trillion Cubic Feet (TCF) of proven natural gas reserves and 96 TCF of estimated shale gas reserves. India’s vision is to reduce oil imports by 10% by 2022 and several initiatives have been taken towards this direction.
India has a rather developed chemicals industry, which among others consists of various segments such as chemicals, petrochemicals, agro-chemicals, specialty chemicals, colourant chemicals, bio-pharma, bio-agri, and bio-industrial products. The local chemical industry has a total turnover of 145 billion US dollars, is the seventh largest producer of chemicals worldwide, and the third largest producer in Asia, after China and Japan. The Indian chemical industry is export oriented, as exports of chemical products accounted for 12.07% of the total Indian exports over the period April-September 2016.

Another industry that heavily contributes to the country’s economy, is that of “Gems and Jewellery”. India is the world’s largest diamond processing centre, accounting for 95% of the global production of processed diamonds. The “Gems and Jewellery” currently provides employment to some 4.5 million people. According to official estimations provided by the Department of Commerce, net exports of Gems and Jewellery during FY 2015-16 amounted to 39.28 billion US dollars, while the export of cut and polished diamonds amounted to 21 billion US dollars, significantly increased when compared to FY 2012-13, when exports reached 17 billion US dollars.

Despite robust economic growth, India continues to face significant socio-economic problems. The economic development that has been achieved, widened the economic inequality across the country. The gap between urban and rural areas, prosperous and lagging states and skilled and low-skilled workers broadened. It is indicative that India’s richest states now have incomes that are five times higher than those of the poorest states.

Education is diachronically an open issue for India. Currently a significant progress has been made in getting more children, especially girls, into primary schools. Since 2001, the government’s flagship elementary education program, the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, has helped to bring some 20 million children into school. According to UNESCO, some 2.9 million children of primary school age, remained out of school in 2014, a number that can be fairly characterized as positive, if we take into consideration the history of the country.  
This aspect is further highlighted by the fact that India scores a mediocre score, when it comes to the Human Development Index (HDI). HDI is a quite acknowledged indicator evaluating the socio-economic progress of a country and is published by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). The factors that are taken into consideration in order to form the aforementioned index, are life expectancy, education (measured by adult literacy and gross enrolment in education) and standards of living (measured by purchasing power parity (PPP) income). The prices of the index range from 0 to 1. Countries with an index value below 0.5 are characterized as “underdeveloped”; countries with an index value between 0.5 and 0.8 are characterized as of “medium development"; and countries with values higher than 0.8, are characterized as “highly developed”. In 2014, India’s HDI value was 0.609, which gave the country a rank of 130 out of 188 countries and territories considered and placed it in the medium human development category. Nevertheless, it should be mentioned that since 1980, the HDI value of India has significantly increased from 0.362 to 0.609. Also, the country has recorded a substantial progress in each of the respective HDI indicators. Life expectancy at birth increased by 14.1 years, mean years of schooling and expected years of schooling increased by 3.5 years and 5.3 years respectively, while the Gross National Income (GNI) per capita, increased by an astonishing 338%.
India is further also facing ‘structural’ problems with respect to its economy. Some of them are: inadequate infrastructure, bureaucracy, corruption, labour market rigidities, regulatory and foreign investment controls and high fiscal deficits.