Here is a snapshot of the major events in India during the last 60 years.
1947: India becomes independent, with Jawaharlal Nehru as prime minister.
In the largest forced migration in history, around 15 million people are displaced and an estimated 500,000 killed in Hindu-Muslim violence sparked by partition.
The first war between India and Pakistan breaks out in Kashmir. It ends in 1948, with Kashmir divided along the line of control after an UN-brokered ceasefire.
1948: Mahatma Gandhi is assassinated.
Chakravarti Rajagopalachari succeeds Louis Mountbatten as Governor General.
Hyderabad joins Indian Union after military operation.
1949: Ceasefire in Kashmir becomes official with the signing of the Karachi Agreement between India and Pakistan on July 18.
1950: India constitution comes into effect. India becomes a republic on Jan 26.
Rajendra Prasad becomes the first president of India.
Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel passes away.
1951: India’s first Five Year Plan is inaugurated in April.
New Delhi hosts Asian Games.
1952: Nehru-led Congress easily wins the first election to the Lok Sabha.
Air India is nationalised. Indian Airlines, the domestic carrier, is created.
1954: Nehru coins the term ’non-alignment’ to define India’s foreign policy as being equidistant from the US and the USSR.
1955: Imperial Bank of India is nationalised, renamed State Bank of India.
1956: States are reorganised on the basis of language. Several new states are created.
1957: Congress wins the second general election.
1959: Government establishes state-owned television broadcaster Doordarshan.
Bajaj Auto gets licence to manufacture two- and three-wheelers. India eventually becomes the largest manufacturer of two- and three-wheelers in the world.
1960: Bombay is split into Maharashtra and Gujarat.
1961: Troops make Portuguese territories Goa, Daman and Diu join Indian Union.
1962: Nehru leads Congress to a third straight win in general election.
India loses war with China.
1964: Nehru dies
1965: Second war with Pakistan over Kashmir.
Hindi becomes official language of India, while English is adopted as the associate language in dealings between the central government and non-Hindi speaking states.
1966: India’s second prime minister, Lal Bahadur Shastri, dies in Tashkhent after signing a pact with Pakistan President Muhammad Ayub Khan signalling the end of the 1965 war.
Nehru’s daughter Indira Gandhi becomes prime minister.
1967: Congress wins general election but with significantly reduced majority.
India starts Green Revolution, with multiple cropping on agricultural land, use of improved seeds and more mechanisation of agriculture.
1969: Congress splits into two, one faction led by Indira Gandhi, the other by Morarji Desai.
Backed by Indira Gandhi, V.V. Giri defeats official Congress candidate N. Sanjeeva Reddy and becomes President of India.
Privy purses for rulers of erstwhile princely states are abolished.
The government nationalises 14 major banks.
1970: The National Dairy Development Board starts Operation Flood, the establishment of a national milk grid. It is such a success that it will later be described as the White Revolution.
1971: 25-year treaty of friendship signed with the Soviet Union.
Congress (R) led by Indira Gandhi wins general election.
Third war with Pakistan, East Pakistan becomes Bangladesh.
1972: Indira Gandhi and Pakistan’s Prime Minister Z.A. Bhutto sign the Shimla pact, which says neither country will change the borders unilaterally.
1973: Opposition protests against Indira Gandhi government mount.
1974: India explodes first nuclear device.
Allahabad High Court finds Indira Gandhi guilty of misusing official machinery to win election.
Major strikes, including in railways, paralyse India for long periods.
1975: Indira Gandhi declares state of emergency, suspends civil liberties, postpones elections, dismisses non-Congress state governments and imprisons many opposition leaders.
India annexes Sikkim following a referendum in the hill kingdom where the majority favour joining India.
’Sholay’ becomes the biggest box office hit in India
1976: Compulsory birth control introduced.
1977: Indira Gandhi’s Congress loses general elections to the Janata Party. Morarji Desai becomes prime minister.
1979: Janata Party government crumbles due to internal bickering. Charan Singh becomes prime minister.
1980: Indira Gandhi returns to power, heading Congress (Indira).
Government nationalises seven more banks.
Indira Gandhi’s younger son Sanjay dies in stunt plane crash in New Delhi.
1981: India and China start talks on border dispute.
1982: New Delhi hosts Asian Games.
1983: India wins cricket World Cup.
Nearly 2,000 Muslims are killed in Nellie, Assam.
1984: Troops storm Golden Temple to flush out Sikh militants
Indira Gandhi assassinated by Sikh bodyguards, leading to anti-Sikh riots in which over 3,000 people are killed.
Indira Gandhi’s son Rajiv Gandhi becomes prime minister.
Gas leak at Union Carbide pesticides plant in Bhopal kills thousands; many more die subsequently or are left disabled.
1985: Sikh separatists blow up Air India flight off the coast of Ireland.
1986: The century’s worst drought affects most of India.
1987: The Mizo accord signals an end to one of longest secessionist movements in India.
India deploys troops in Sri Lanka’s northeast.
1989: Congress loses to Janata Dal-led coalition in general election. V.P. Singh becomes prime minister.
1990: Indian troops withdraw from Sri Lanka after suffering nearly 1,200 dead.
Muslim separatists begin campaign of violence in Kashmir.
The decision to implement the Mandal Commission recommendations and provide reservations to Other Backward Classes (OBC) leads to countrywide violence and fractures the polity further along caste lines.
Janata Dal government falls. Chandra Shekhar becomes prime minister with Congress support.
1991: Rajiv Gandhi assassinated by Tamil Tiger suicide bomber.
Congress wins general election. P.V. Narasimha Rao becomes prime minister.
Economic reform programme begun by Narasimha Rao/Finance Minister Manmohan Singh.
1992: Hindu mobs demolish Babri mosque in Ayodhya, triggering widespread Hindu-Muslim violence.
1993: Bomb blasts rocks Mumbai, killing 257 people. It is world’s worst urban terror attack.
1996: Congress suffers worst ever electoral defeat. Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) forms a minority government, with Atal Bihari Vajpayee as prime minister, but it lasts only 13 days.
A 14-party United Front coalition then takes power. H.D. Deve Gowda is prime minister.
1997: Congress withdraws support to Deve Gowda. I.K. Gujral becomes prime minister. After eight months, Congress withdraws support again.
1998: BJP forms coalition government, Vajpayee is again prime minister.
India carries out nuclear tests.
1999: Vajpayee makes a bus trip to Pakistan to meet Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and signs Lahore peace declaration.
Indian troops fight Pakistan-backed forces in Kargil, Jammu and Kashmir.
BJP-led coalition falls apart. In fresh elections, BJP-led coalition again wins. Vajpayee remains prime minister.
2000: India’s population crosses the one billion mark
2001: Massive earthquakes hit Gujarat, leaving at least 30,000 dead.
A high-powered rocket is launched, propelling India into the club of countries able to fire big satellites deep into space.
Vajpayee meets Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf in Agra; meeting deadlocked over Kashmir.
Terrorists attack parliament in New Delhi. India blames Pakistan and imposes sanctions. Troops mass on the India-Pakistan border.
2002: India test-fires nuclear-capable ballistic missile - Agni
Anti-Muslim riots break out after 59 Hindus returning from Ayodhya are killed in train fire in Godhra, Gujarat. More than 1,000 people are killed.
2003: India matches Pakistan’s declaration of Kashmir ceasefire.
2004: Indian government meets moderate Kashmir separatists.
Surprise victory for Congress in general elections. Manmohan Singh becomes prime minister after Sonia Gandhi declines the post.
Thousands die when a tsunami devastates coastal southern India and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
2005: Bus services, the first in 60 years, operate between Srinagar and Muzaffarabad in Pakistan.
2006: US and India sign an agreement by which the US is to give India access to civilian nuclear technology while India agrees to greater scrutiny for its nuclear programme.
2007: India and Pakistan agree to reduce risk of accidental nuclear war.
India announces strongest economic growth figures for 20 years - 9.4 percent in the year to March.
Pratibha Patil becomes India’s first woman president.