Its meaning varied, referring to a region that encompassed northern India and Pakistan or India in its entirety.
Centred around cities such as Mohenjo-daro, Harappa, Dholavira, and Kalibangan, and relying on varied forms of subsistence, the civilisation engaged robustly in crafts production and wide-ranging trade.
In the late Vedic period, around the 6th century BCE, the small states and chiefdoms of the Ganges Plain and the north-western regions had consolidated into 16 major oligarchies and monarchies that were known as the mahajanapadas.
By the early 18th century, with the lines between commercial and political dominance being increasingly blurred, a number of European trading companies, including the English East India Company, had established coastal outposts.
Much of the north fell to the Delhi sultanate; the south was united under the Vijayanagara Empire.
The economy expanded in the 17th century in the Mughal Empire.
In 2017, the Indian economy was the world's sixth largest by nominal GDP Following market-based economic reforms in 1991, India became one of the fastest-growing major economies and is considered a newly industrialised country.
However, it continues to face the challenges of poverty, corruption, malnutrition, and inadequate public healthcare.