Indian politics : A chronology of key events
India has been home to several ancient civilisations and empires, some dating back to more than 2,000 BC. Culture and religions have flourished over the millennia, and foreign influence has ebbed and flowed.
1858 - India comes under direct rule of the British crown after failed Indian mutiny.
1885 - Indian National Congress founded as forum for emerging nationalist feeling.
Mahatma Gandhi : (1869 - 1948)
Mahatma Gandhi steered India to independence
1920-22 - Nationalist figurehead Mahatma Gandhi launches anti-British civil disobedience campaign.
1942-43 - Congress launches "Quit India" movement.
1947 - End of British rule and partition of sub-continent into mainly Hindu India and Muslim-majority state of Pakistan.
1947-48 - Hundreds of thousands die in widespread communal bloodshed after partition.
1948 - Mahatma Gandhi assassinated by Hindu extremist.
1948 - War with Pakistan over disputed territory of Kashmir.
1951-52 - Congress Party wins first general elections under leadership of Jawaharlal Nehru.
1962 - India loses brief border war with China.
1964 - Death of Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.
1965 - Second war with Pakistan over Kashmir.
1966 - Nehru's daughter Indira Gandhi becomes prime minister.
1971 - Third war with Pakistan over creation of Bangladesh, formerly East Pakistan.
1971 - Twenty-year treaty of friendship signed with Soviet Union.
1974 - India explodes first nuclear device in underground test.
1975 - Indira Gandhi declares state of emergency after being found guilty of electoral malpractice.
1975-1977 - Nearly 1,000 political opponents imprisoned and programme of compulsory birth control introduced.
1977 - Indira Gandhi's Congress Party loses general elections.
1980 - Indira Gandhi returns to power heading Congress party splinter group, Congress (Indira).
1984 - Troops storm Golden Temple - Sikhs' most holy shrine - to flush out Sikh militants pressing for self-rule.
Indira Gandhi :
1984 - Indira Gandhi assassinated by Sikh bodyguards, following which her son, Rajiv, takes over.
1984 December - Gas leak at Union Carbide pesticides plant in Bhopal. Thousands are killed immediately, many more subsequently die or are left disabled.
1987 - India deploys troops for peacekeeping operation in Sri Lanka's ethnic conflict.
1989 - Falling public support leads to Congress defeat in general election.
1990 - Indian troops withdrawn from Sri Lanka.
1990 - Muslim separatist groups begin campaign of violence in Kashmir.
1991 - Rajiv Gandhi assassinated by suicide bomber sympathetic to Sri Lanka's Tamil Tigers.
1991 - Economic reform programme begun by Prime Minister PV Narasimha Rao.
1992 - Hindu extremists demolish mosque in Ayodhya, triggering widespread Hindu-Muslim violence.