India is the largest country in South Asia but only the 7th largest in the world, with a surface area of 3.2 million sq km. The former British colony, however, the 2nd highest population on earth, with some 1.19 billion people, a figure only beaten only by China's population of 1.34 billion. The country has an extensive coastline, with the western coast facing onto the Arabian Sea, the southern facing onto the Indian Ocean, an the eastern facing the Bay of Bengal. India has land borders with Pakistan (2,912km) to the north west, China (3,380km), Nepal (1,690km) and Bhutan (605km) to the north, Bangladesh (4,053km) and Burma (1,463km) to the east.
A large body of recent oceanographic research has shown that the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC), an ocean current that flows from west to east around Antarctica, plays a crucial role in global ocean circulation. The region where the cold waters of the ACC meet and mingle with the warmer waters of the north defines a distinct border - the Antarctic Convergence - which fluctuates with the seasons, but which encompasses a discrete body of water and a unique ecologic region. The Convergence concentrates nutrients, which promotes marine plant life, and which in turn allows for a greater abundance of animal life. In the spring of 2000, the International Hydrographic Organization decided to delimit the waters within the Convergence as a fifth world ocean - the Southern Ocean - by combining the southern portions of the Atlantic Ocean, Indian Ocean, and Pacific Ocean. The Southern Ocean extends from the coast of Antarctica north to 60 degrees south latitude, which coincides with the Antarctic Treaty Limit and which approximates the extent of the Antarctic Convergence. As such, the Southern Ocean is now the fourth largest of the world's five oceans (after the Pacific Ocean, Atlantic Ocean, and Indian Ocean, but larger than the Arctic Ocean). It should be noted that inclusion of the Southern Ocean does not imply recognition of this feature as one of the world's primary oceans by the US Government.