The scene of a bloody nuclear exchange during the Pacific War, the sub-continent fragmented and then slowly reunited under the administration of the Indian Confederation. Both northern Hindustan (the main inheritor of old India) and Pakistan suffer from radiation poisoning, drought and famine, and the region was further depopulated by the New Mutation. The Thar Desert has expanded enormously and efforts are under way to seed it with genegineered high-evolution plants to stabilize it before it swallows all of Pakistan. The Republic of Khalistan (Land of the Pure), an autonomous Sikh state carved from the NW shards of the old Republic of India, is one of the poorest regions, though its militant inhabitants scorn outside help or foreign interference. The regions of Bengal, Assam, Hindustan, and Tamilstan form the core of the Indian Confed, while Pakistan remains mostly a bandit kingdom run by local warlords and the Security Franchise. Both New Islamabad (old one got nuked, along with New Delhi) and Karachi are under martial law and remain prone to riots by Islamists. Sharia law is in effect throughout the countryside while most urban areas use Common Law and Protocol brokers to handle what little business is still active. Smuggling into the Central Asian war zone is a popular pastime.

Hindustan did rather better than Pakistan and is now one of the world's largest economies (sixth in size) with a burgeoning middle class and many large state-owned industrial enterprises involved in chemicals and aircraft manufacture. Hindustani satellites and microgravity factories are used by many third-world countries which cannot afford the high-cost quality of Western or Japanese space structures. Hindustan becomes more prosperous as one travels south and the megacity of Bombay is probably the biggest commercial port on the Indian Ocean. Hindustan also maintains a large blue-water navy and controls the island of Tamilstan (formerly Sri Lanka). The infamous Indo-Russian Alliance still exists because Russia battles India's old enemies: Islam in the West and China in the East. India competes with Cathay but remains the poorer rival, and its influence over Tibet is not appreciated by the Chinese.

Bangladesh has remained poor and now half of it is under water as well. Constant plagues and riots plague this small but populous country, and its fervent brand of exported nihilism has earned it the unwanted label of 'terrorist capital of the world'. Some two dozen large terrorist/nihilist groups use Bangladesh as a safehouse and recruiting ground, for its people hate foreigners and especially Westerners even more than Palestinians. Bangladesh is - unsurprisingly - a Denied Area and Bangladeshi suicide-aircraft are routinely shot down on the border by Burmese and Hindustani warjets.