Kazakhstan the Republic of Kazakhstan, is the world's largest landlocked country, the ninth largest in the world, with an area of 2,724,900 square kilometres. It is a transcontinental country located in Asia. Kazakhstan is the dominant nation of Central Asia economically, generating 60% of the region's GDP through its oil and gas industry, it has vast mineral resources. Kazakhstan is a democratic, unitary, constitutional republic with a diverse cultural heritage. Kazakhstan shares borders with Russia, Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan, adjoins a large part of the Caspian Sea; the terrain of Kazakhstan includes flatlands, taiga, rock canyons, deltas, snow-capped mountains, deserts. Kazakhstan has an estimated 18.3 million people as of 2018. Given its large land area, its population density is among the lowest, at less than 6 people per square kilometre; the capital is Astana, where it was moved in 1997 from the country's largest city. The territory of Kazakhstan has been inhabited by groups included the nomadic groups and empires.
In antiquity, the nomadic Scythians have inhabited the land and the Persian Achaemenid Empire expanded towards the southern territory of the modern country. Turkic nomads who trace their ancestry to many Turkic states such as Turkic Khaganate etc have inhabited the country throughout the country's history. In the 13th century, the territory joined the Mongolian Empire under Genghis Khan. By the 16th century, the Kazakh emerged as a distinct group, divided into three jüz; the Russians began advancing into the Kazakh steppe in the 18th century, by the mid-19th century, they nominally ruled all of Kazakhstan as part of the Russian Empire. Following the 1917 Russian Revolution, subsequent civil war, the territory of Kazakhstan was reorganised several times. In 1936, it was made part of the Soviet Union. Kazakhstan was the last of the Soviet republics to declare independence during the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. Nursultan Nazarbayev, the first President of Kazakhstan, was characterized as an authoritarian, his government was accused of numerous human rights violations, including suppression of dissent and censorship of the media.
Nazarbayev resigned in March 2019, with Senate Chairman Kassym-Jomart Tokayev taking office as Interim President. Kazakhstan has worked to develop its economy its dominant hydrocarbon industry. Human Rights Watch says that "Kazakhstan restricts freedom of assembly and religion", other human rights organisations describe Kazakhstan's human rights situation as poor. Kazakhstan's 131 ethnicities include Kazakhs, Uzbeks, Germans and Uyghurs. Islam is the religion of about 70% of the population, with Christianity practised by 26%. Kazakhstan allows freedom of religion, but religious leaders who oppose the government are suppressed; the Kazakh language is the state language, Russian has equal official status for all levels of administrative and institutional purposes. Kazakhstan is a member of the United Nations, WTO, CIS, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the Eurasian Economic Union, CSTO, OSCE, OIC, TURKSOY; the name "Kazakh" comes from the ancient Turkic word qaz, "to wander", reflecting the Kazakhs' nomadic culture.
The name "Cossack" is of the same origin. The Persian suffix -stan means "land" or "place of", so Kazakhstan can be translated as "land of the wanderers". Though traditionally referring only to ethnic Kazakhs, including those living in China, Turkey and other neighbouring countries, the term "Kazakh" is being used to refer to any inhabitant of Kazakhstan, including non-Kazakhs. Kazakhstan has been inhabited since the Paleolithic. Pastoralism developed during the Neolithic as the region's climate and terrain are best suited for a nomadic lifestyle; the Kazakh territory was a key constituent of the Eurasian Steppe route, the ancestor of the terrestrial Silk Roads. Archaeologists believe. During recent prehistoric times Central Asia was inhabited by groups like the Proto-Indo-European Afanasievo culture early Indo-Iranians cultures such as Andronovo, Indo-Iranians such as the Saka and Massagetae. Other groups included the nomadic Scythians and the Persian Achaemenid Empire in the southern territory of the modern country.
In 329 BC, Alexander the Great and his Macedonian army fought in the Battle of Jaxartes against the Scythians along the Jaxartes River, now known as the Syr Darya along the southern border of modern Kazakhstan. The Cuman entered the steppes of modern-day Kazakhstan around the early 11th century, where they joined with the Kipchak and established the vast Cuman-Kipchak confederation. While ancient cities Taraz and Hazrat-e Turkestan had long served as important way-stations along the Silk Road connecting Asia and Europe, true political consolidation began only with the Mongol rule of the early 13th century. Under the Mongol Empire, the largest in world history, administrative districts were established; these came under the rule of the emergent Kazakh Khanate. Throughout this period, traditional nomadic life and a livestock-
Sri Lanka the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, is an island country in South Asia, located in the Indian Ocean to the southwest of the Bay of Bengal and to the southeast of the Arabian Sea. The island is geographically separated from the Indian subcontinent by the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait; the legislative capital, Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte, is a suburb of the commercial capital and largest city, Colombo. Sri Lanka's documented history spans 3,000 years, with evidence of pre-historic human settlements dating back to at least 125,000 years, it has a rich cultural heritage and the first known Buddhist writings of Sri Lanka, the Pāli Canon, date back to the Fourth Buddhist council in 29 BC. Its geographic location and deep harbours made it of great strategic importance from the time of the ancient Silk Road through to the modern Maritime Silk Road. Sri Lanka was known from the beginning of British colonial rule as Ceylon. A nationalist political movement arose in the country in the early 20th century to obtain political independence, granted in 1948.
Sri Lanka's recent history has been marred by a 26-year civil war, which decisively ended when the Sri Lanka Armed Forces defeated the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in 2009. The current constitution stipulates the political system as a republic and a unitary state governed by a semi-presidential system, it has had a long history of international engagement, as a founding member of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, a member of the United Nations, the Commonwealth of Nations, the G77, the Non-Aligned Movement. Along with the Maldives, Sri Lanka is one of only two South Asian countries rated "high" on the Human Development Index, with its HDI rating and per capita income the highest among South Asian nations; the Sri Lankan constitution accords Buddhism the "foremost place", although it does not identify it as a state religion. Buddhism is given special privileges in the Sri Lankan constitution; the island is home to many cultures and ethnicities. The majority of the population is from the Sinhalese ethnicity, while a large minority of Tamils have played an influential role in the island's history.
Moors, Malays and the indigenous Vedda are established groups on the island. In antiquity, Sri Lanka was known to travellers by a variety of names. According to the Mahavamsa, the legendary Prince Vijaya named the land Tambapanni, because his followers' hands were reddened by the red soil of the area. In Hindu mythology, such as the Ramayana, the island was referred to as Lankā; the Tamil term Eelam, was used to designate the whole island in Sangam literature. The island was known under Chola rule as Mummudi Cholamandalam. Ancient Greek geographers called it Taprobanē from the word Tambapanni; the Persians and Arabs referred to it as Sarandīb from Cerentivu or Siṃhaladvīpaḥ. Ceilão, the name given to Sri Lanka by the Portuguese Empire when it arrived in 1505, was transliterated into English as Ceylon; as a British crown colony, the island was known as Ceylon. The country is now known in Sinhala in Tamil as Ilaṅkai. In 1972, its formal name was changed to "Free and Independent Republic of Sri Lanka".
In 1978 it was changed to the "Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka". As the name Ceylon still appears in the names of a number of organisations, the Sri Lankan government announced in 2011 a plan to rename all those over which it has authority; the pre-history of Sri Lanka goes back 125,000 years and even as far back as 500,000 years. The era spans the Palaeolithic and early Iron Ages. Among the Paleolithic human settlements discovered in Sri Lanka, which dates back to 37,000 BP, Batadombalena and Belilena are the most important. In these caves, archaeologists have found the remains of anatomically modern humans which they have named Balangoda Man, other evidence suggesting that they may have engaged in agriculture and kept domestic dogs for driving game. One of the first written references to the island is found in the Indian epic Ramayana, which provides details of a kingdom named Lanka, created by the divine sculptor Vishwakarma for Kubera, the Lord of Wealth, it is said that Kubera was overthrown by his demon stepbrother Ravana, the powerful emperor who built a mythical flying machine named Dandu Monara.
The modern city of Wariyapola is described as Ravana's airport. Early inhabitants of Sri Lanka were ancestors of the Vedda people, an indigenous people numbering 2,500 living in modern-day Sri Lanka; the 19th-century Irish historian James Emerson Tennent theorized that Galle, a city in southern Sri Lanka, was the ancient seaport of Tarshish from which King Solomon is said to have drawn ivory and other valuables. According to the Mahāvamsa, a chronicle written in Pāḷi, the original inhabitants of Sri Lanka are the Yakshas and Nagas. Ancient cemeteries that were used before 600 BC and other signs of advanced civilisation have been discovered in Sri Lanka. Sinhalese history traditionally starts in 543 BC with the arrival of Prince Vijaya, a semi-legendary prince who sailed with 700 followers to Sri Lanka, after being expelled from Vanga Kingdom (present-day Ben
A shoulder-fired missile, shoulder-launched missile or man-portable missile is an explosive-carrying, self-propelled projectile fired at a target, while being small enough to be carried by a single person and fired while held on one's shoulder. The word "missile" in this context is used in its original broad sense which encompasses all guided missiles and unguided rockets. In many instances, although not technically defining all shoulder-fired missiles, the name bazooka is used as an informal name although the actual Bazooka is a type of shoulder-fired unguided rocket launcher in its own right. There are two kinds of shoulder-launched weapons; the first is the recoilless gun, an open tube. When fired the reaction gases expelled out of the back of the weapon compensate the force exerted on the projectile; the other type is the rocket-propelled grenade. Shoulder-launched weapons may be unguided. Missiles can either have a reusable launcher. Shoulder-launched weapons fire at one of two main target types — ground targets or air targets.
Weapons for use against ground targets come in a wide variety of types and sizes, with smaller, unguided weapons used for close range combat and larger, guided systems for longer ranges. Most of these weapons are designed for anti-tank warfare, although they are effective against structures and a number of weapons have been designed for such targets. Anti-aircraft weapons, known as man-portable air-defense systems, are small surface-to-air missiles, they are infrared homing weapons and used to target helicopters, UAVs and other low-flying fixed-wing aircraft. Rocket-based weapons have a long history, from the black powder fire arrows used by the ancient Chinese to the Congreve rocket referenced in "The Star-Spangled Banner," the national anthem of the United States, they have always been prized for the portability of their launch systems. The earliest rocket launchers documented in imperial China launched fire arrows with launchers constructed of wood and bamboo tubes; the rocket launchers divided the fire arrows with frames meant to keep the arrows separated, were capable of firing multiple arrow rockets at once.
Textual evidence and illustrations of various early rocket launchers are found in the 11th century Southern Song Dynasty text Wujing Zongyao. The Wujing Zongyao describes a portable rocket arrow carrier consisting of a sling and a bamboo tube. Shoulder-launched rockets have a launch tube. In order to prevent the user from being burned by the exhaust, the rocket must burn out before it leaves the tube, if present the second stage must fire once the rocket is well clear of the launcher. If the operator is safe, there is a sizeable blast effect to their rear; the rocket must have a reliable ignition system. In modern systems, this is always a percussion cap; this system was not developed until the German Panzerfaust of World War II, an early one-shot design that however was the first practical recoilless antitank-gun and thus used no rocket. The Bazooka was an early rocket-propelled development. From their first conception during the First World War, many portable missiles have been used to give infantry a weapon effective against armored vehicles and fortified structures.
The power of the shaped charge meant that the effectiveness of the weapon was not limited by a gun barrel bore nor size of weapon as for example a conventional armor-piercing shell from an artillery piece. As such these man-portable weapons could be used to equip infantry units with their own anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons. Shoulder-launched rockets or recoilless guns are a favored anti-technical weapon, they permit otherwise or poorly armed troops to destroy modern sophisticated equipment such as close air-support aircraft and armored vehicles. Attacks come from ambush for the element of surprise and attempt to immobilize a convoy of vehicles destroy its defenders destroy its contents escape before air or artillery support can arrive; the militia will plan to have two to four shooters per attacked vehicle. Reliable attack ranges are 50 to 100 m, although attacks can succeed out to 300 m. Self-destruct ranges of common rocket weapons such as RPG-7s are about 900 m; the usual response to such attacks is to suppress the shooters, with saturation anti-personnel fire, artillery or aerial barrages in area-denial attacks.
Submunition and thermobaric weapons are used to clear landing zones for helicopters. In modern counter-insurgency operations in misty, dusty or night-time situations, advanced optics such as infrared telescopes permit helicopter gunships to observe convoys from beyond human-visible range and still attack insurgents with inexpensive anti-personnel fire; this approach is more economical than area-denial. Protecting as little as 20% of the convoys depletes an area of active insurgents. RPG-2 RPG-7 RPG-18 RPG-22 RPG-26 RPG-27 RPG-28 RPG-29 RPG-32 Carl Gustav recoilless rifle B-40 Rocket Propelled Grenade GIAT Wasp 58 Light Anti-Armour Weapon Panzerschreck Panzerfaust Panzerfaust 3 PIAT Anti-Tank Grenade Projector PF-98 Anti-Tank Rocket Launcher "Queen Bee" Shoulder-launched Multipurpose Assault Weapon M72 LAW RPG
War in Donbass
The War in Donbass is an armed conflict in the Donbass region of Ukraine. From the beginning of March 2014, protests by pro-Russian and anti-government groups took place in the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts of Ukraine collectively called the "Donbass", in the aftermath of the 2014 Ukrainian revolution and the Euromaidan movement; these demonstrations, which followed the annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation, which were part of a wider group of concurrent pro-Russian protests across southern and eastern Ukraine, escalated into an armed conflict between the separatist forces of the self-declared Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics, the Ukrainian government. In the Donetsk People's Republic, from May 2014 until a change of the top leadership in August 2014, some of the top leaders were Russian citizens. According to the Ukrainian government, at the height of the conflict in mid-2014, Russian paramilitaries were reported to make up between 15% to 80% of the combatants. Between 22 and 25 August 2014, Russian artillery and what Russia called a "humanitarian convoy" crossed the border into Ukrainian territory without permission of the Ukrainian government.
Crossings occurred both in areas under the control of pro-Russian forces and in areas that were not under their control, such as the south-eastern part of Donetsk Oblast, near Novoazovsk. These events followed the reported shelling of Ukrainian positions from the Russian side of the border over the course of the preceding month. Head of the Security Service of Ukraine, Valentyn Nalyvaichenko characterised the events of 22 August as a "direct invasion by Russia of Ukraine", while other western and Ukrainian officials described the events as a "stealth invasion" of Ukraine by Russia. Russia's official position on the presence of Russian forces in Donbass has been vague: while official bodies have denied presence of "regular armed forces" in Ukraine, it has on numerous occasions confirmed presence of "military specialists", along with other euphemisms accompanied by an argument that Russia "was forced" to deploy them to "defend the Russian-speaking population"; as a result of the August 2014 events, DPR and LPR insurgents regained much of the territory they had lost during the Ukrainian government's preceding military offensive.
Ukraine, the DPR and the LPR signed an agreement to establish a ceasefire, called the Minsk Protocol, on 5 September 2014. Violations of the ceasefire on both sides became common. Amidst the solidification of the line between insurgent and government-controlled territory during the ceasefire, warlords took control of swaths of land on the insurgent side, leading to further destabilisation; the ceasefire collapsed in January 2015, with renewed heavy fighting across the conflict zone, including at Donetsk International Airport and at Debaltseve. Involved parties agreed to a new ceasefire, called Minsk II, on 12 February 2015. Following the signing of the agreement, separatist forces launched an offensive on Debaltseve and forced Ukrainian forces to withdraw from it. In the months after the fall of Debaltseve, minor skirmishes continued along the line of contact, but no territorial changes occurred; this state of stalemate led to the war being labelled a "frozen conflict". In 2017, on average one Ukrainian soldier died in combat every three days, with the number of Russian and separatist troops remaining in the region estimated at 6,000 and 40,000 respectively.
By the end of 2017, OSCE observatory mission had accounted for around 30,000 individuals in military-style dress crossing from Russia to Donbass just at two border checkpoints it was allowed to monitor. Since the start of the conflict there have been more than twenty ceasefires, each intended to remain in force indefinitely, but none of them stopped the violence; the most successful attempt to halt the fighting was in 2016, when a ceasefire held for six consecutive weeks. The latest ceasefire came into force on 8 March 2019, which led to a significant decrease of fighting in the following days. Attempts to seize the Donetsk Regional State Administration building began since pro-Russian protests erupted in the eastern and southern regions of Ukraine, in the wake of the 2014 Ukrainian revolution. Pro-Russian protesters occupied the Donetsk RSA from 1–6 March, before being removed by the Security Service of Ukraine. On 6 April, 1,000–2,000 people gathered at a rally in Donetsk to demand a status referendum similar to the one held in Crimea in March.
The demonstrators stormed the RSA building, took control of its first two floors. They said that if an extraordinary legislative session was not held by regional officials to implement a status referendum, they would take control of the regional government with a "people's mandate", dismiss all elected regional councillors and members of parliament; as these demands were not met, the activists held a meeting in the RSA building, voted in favour of independence from Ukraine. They proclaimed the Donetsk People's Republic. Concurrent to the events in Donetsk, armed forces led by Russian operative Igor Girkin stormed and occupied government buildings in other regional centres beginning on 12 April. Unrest in Luhansk Oblast began on 6 April, when 1,000 activists seized and occupied the SBU building in the city of Luhansk, following similar occupations in the cities of Donetsk and Kharkiv. Protesters barricaded the building, demanded that all arrested separatist leaders be released. Police were able to retake control of the building, but the demonstrators regathered for a'people's assembly' outside the building and called for a'people's gove
Syrian Civil War
The Syrian Civil War is an ongoing multi-sided armed conflict in Syria fought between the Ba'athist Syrian Arab Republic led by President Bashar al-Assad, along with domestic and foreign allies, various domestic and foreign forces opposing both the Syrian government and each other in varying combinations. The unrest in Syria, part of a wider wave of the 2011 Arab Spring protests, grew out of discontent with the Syrian government and escalated to an armed conflict after protests calling for Assad's removal were violently suppressed; the war, which began on 15 March with major unrest in Damascus and Aleppo, is being fought by several factions: The Syrian government's Armed Forces and its international allies, a loose alliance of majorly Sunni opposition rebel groups, Salafi jihadist groups, the mixed Kurdish-Arab Syrian Democratic Forces, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, with a number of countries in the region and beyond being either directly involved or providing support to one or another faction.
Iran and Hezbollah support the Syrian Arab Republic and the Syrian Armed Forces militarily, with Russia conducting airstrikes and other military operations since September 2015. The U. S.-led international coalition, established in 2014 with the declared purpose of countering ISIL, has conducted airstrikes against ISIL as well as some against government and pro-government targets. They have deployed special forces and artillery units to engage ISIL on the ground. Since 2015, the U. S. has supported the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria and its armed wing, the SDF, materially and logistically. Turkey, on the other hand, has become involved against the Syrian government since 2016, not only participating in airstrikes against ISIL alongside the U. S.-led coalition, but actively supporting the Syrian opposition and occupying large swaths of northwestern Syria while engaging in significant ground combat with ISIL, the SDF, the Syrian government. Between 2011 and 2017, fighting from the Syrian Civil War spilled over into Lebanon as opponents and supporters of the Syrian government traveled to Lebanon to fight and attack each other on Lebanese soil, with ISIL and Al-Nusra engaging the Lebanese Army.
Furthermore, while neutral, Israel has conducted airstrikes against Hezbollah and Iranian forces, whose presence in southwestern Syria it views as a threat. International organizations have accused all sides involved, including the Ba'athist Syrian government, ISIL, opposition rebel groups and the U. S.-led coalition of severe human rights massacres. The conflict has caused a major refugee crisis. Over the course of the war, a number of peace initiatives have been launched, including the March 2017 Geneva peace talks on Syria led by the United Nations, but fighting continues; the secular Ba'ath Syrian Regional Branch government came to power through a successful coup d'état in 1963. For several years Syria went through additional coups and changes in leadership, until in March 1971, Hafez al-Assad, an Alawite, declared himself President; the secular Syrian Regional Branch remained the dominant political authority in what had been a one-party state until the first multi-party election to the People's Council of Syria was held in 2012.
On 31 January 1973, Hafez al-Assad implemented a new constitution. Unlike previous constitutions, this one did not require that the president of Syria be a Muslim, leading to fierce demonstrations in Hama and Aleppo organized by the Muslim Brotherhood and the ulama; the government survived a series of armed revolts by Islamists members of the Muslim Brotherhood, from 1976 until 1982. Upon Hafez al-Assad's death in 2000, his son Bashar al-Assad was elected as President of Syria. Bashar and his wife Asma, a Sunni Muslim born and educated in Britain inspired hopes for democratic reforms. President Al-Assad maintained in 2017 that no'moderate opposition' to his rule exists, that all opposition forces are jihadists intent on destroying his secular leadership; the total population in July 2018 was estimated at 19,454,263 people. Socioeconomic inequality increased after free market policies were initiated by Hafez al-Assad in his years, it accelerated after Bashar al-Assad came to power. With an emphasis on the service sector, these policies benefited a minority of the nation's population people who had connections with the government, members of the Sunni merchant class of Damascus and Aleppo.
In 2010, Syria's nominal GDP per capita was only $2,834, comparable to Sub-Saharan African countries such as Nigeria and far lower than its neighbors such as Lebanon, with an annual growth rate of 3.39%, below most other developing countries. The country faced high youth unemployment rates. At the start of the war, discontent against the government was strongest in Syria's poor areas, predominantly among conservative Sunnis; these included cities with high poverty rates
India known as the Republic of India, is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh largest country by area and with more than 1.3 billion people, it is the second most populous country as well as the most populous democracy in the world. Bounded by the Indian Ocean on the south, the Arabian Sea on the southwest, the Bay of Bengal on the southeast, it shares land borders with Pakistan to the west. In the Indian Ocean, India is in the vicinity of Sri Lanka and the Maldives, while its Andaman and Nicobar Islands share a maritime border with Thailand and Indonesia; the Indian subcontinent was home to the urban Indus Valley Civilisation of the 3rd millennium BCE. In the following millennium, the oldest scriptures associated with Hinduism began to be composed. Social stratification, based on caste, emerged in the first millennium BCE, Buddhism and Jainism arose. Early political consolidations took place under the Gupta empires. In the medieval era, Zoroastrianism and Islam arrived, Sikhism emerged, all adding to the region's diverse culture.
Much of the north fell to the Delhi Sultanate. The economy expanded in the 17th century in the Mughal Empire. In the mid-18th century, the subcontinent came under British East India Company rule, in the mid-19th under British Crown rule. A nationalist movement emerged in the late 19th century, which under Mahatma Gandhi, was noted for nonviolent resistance and led to India's independence in 1947. In 2017, the Indian economy was the world's sixth largest by nominal GDP and third largest by purchasing power parity. 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 and inadequate public healthcare. A nuclear weapons state and regional power, it has the second largest standing army in the world and ranks fifth in military expenditure among nations. India is a federal republic governed under a parliamentary system and consists of 29 states and 7 union territories.
A pluralistic and multi-ethnic society, it is home to a diversity of wildlife in a variety of protected habitats. The name India is derived from Indus, which originates from the Old Persian word Hindush, equivalent to the Sanskrit word Sindhu, the historical local appellation for the Indus River; the ancient Greeks referred to the Indians as Indoi, which translates as "The people of the Indus". The geographical term Bharat, recognised by the Constitution of India as an official name for the country, is used by many Indian languages in its variations, it is a modernisation of the historical name Bharatavarsha, which traditionally referred to the Indian subcontinent and gained increasing currency from the mid-19th century as a native name for India. Hindustan is a Middle Persian name for India, it was introduced into India by the Mughals and used since then. Its meaning varied, referring to a region that encompassed northern India and Pakistan or India in its entirety; the name may refer to either the northern part of India or the entire country.
The earliest known human remains in South Asia date to about 30,000 years ago. Nearly contemporaneous human rock art sites have been found in many parts of the Indian subcontinent, including at the Bhimbetka rock shelters in Madhya Pradesh. After 6500 BCE, evidence for domestication of food crops and animals, construction of permanent structures, storage of agricultural surplus, appeared in Mehrgarh and other sites in what is now Balochistan; these developed into the Indus Valley Civilisation, the first urban culture in South Asia, which flourished during 2500–1900 BCE in what is now Pakistan and western India. Centred around cities such as Mohenjo-daro, Harappa and Kalibangan, relying on varied forms of subsistence, the civilization engaged robustly in crafts production and wide-ranging trade. During the period 2000–500 BCE, many regions of the subcontinent transitioned from the Chalcolithic cultures to the Iron Age ones; the Vedas, the oldest scriptures associated with Hinduism, were composed during this period, historians have analysed these to posit a Vedic culture in the Punjab region and the upper Gangetic Plain.
Most historians consider this period to have encompassed several waves of Indo-Aryan migration into the subcontinent from the north-west. The caste system, which created a hierarchy of priests and free peasants, but which excluded indigenous peoples by labeling their occupations impure, arose during this period. On the Deccan Plateau, archaeological evidence from this period suggests the existence of a chiefdom stage of political organisation. In South India, a progression to sedentary life is indicated by the large number of megalithic monuments dating from this period, as well as by nearby traces of agriculture, irrigation tanks, craft traditions. 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; the emerging urbanisation gave rise to non-Vedic religious movements, two of which became independent religions. Jainism came into prominence during the life of Mahavira.
Buddhism, based on the teachings of Gautama Buddha, attracted followers from all social classes excepting the middle
A rocket-propelled grenade is a shoulder-fired anti-tank weapon system that fires rockets equipped with an explosive warhead. Most RPGs can be carried by an individual soldier; these warheads are affixed to a rocket motor which propels the RPG towards the target and they are stabilized in flight with fins. Some types of RPG are reloadable with new rocket-propelled grenades. RPGs, with some exceptions, are loaded from the muzzle. RPGs with high explosive anti-tank warheads are effective against armored vehicles such as armoured personnel carriers; however armored vehicles from the 2010s, such as main battle tanks, are too well armored to be penetrated by an RPG, unless less armored sections of vehicle are exploited. Various warheads are capable of causing secondary damage to vulnerable systems and other unarmored targets; the term "rocket-propelled grenade" stems from the Russian language РПГ or ручной противотанковый гранатомёт, meaning "hand-held anti-tank grenade launcher", the name given to early Russian designs.
The static nature of trench warfare in World War I encouraged the use of shielded defenses including personal armor, that were impenetrable by standard rifle ammunition. This led to some isolated experiments with higher caliber rifles, similar to elephant guns, using armor-piercing ammunition; the first tanks, the British Mark I, could be penetrated by these weapons under the right conditions. Mark IV tanks, had thicker armor. In response, the German rushed to create an upgraded version of these early anti-armor rifles, the Tankgewehr M1918, the first anti-tank rifle. In the inter-war years, tank armor continued to increase overall, to the point that anti-tank rifles could no longer be effective against anything but light tanks. With the first tanks, artillery officers used field guns depressed to fire directly at armored targets. However, this practice expended much valuable ammunition and was of limited effectiveness as tank armor became thicker; this led to the concept of anti-tank guns, a form of artillery designed to destroy armored fighting vehicles from static defensive positions.
The first dedicated anti-tank artillery began appearing in the 1920s, by World War II was a common appearance in most armies. In order to penetrate armor they fired specialized ammunition from proportionally longer barrels to achieve a higher muzzle velocity than field guns. Most anti-tank guns were developed in the 1930s as improvements in tanks were noted, nearly every major arms manufacturer produced one type or another. Anti-tank guns deployed during World War II were manned by specialist infantry rather than artillery crews, issued to infantry units accordingly; the anti-tank guns of the 1930s were of small caliber. As World War II progressed, the appearance of heavier tanks rendered these weapons obsolete and anti-tank guns began firing larger calibre and more effective armor-piercing shells. Although a number of large caliber guns were developed during the war that were capable of knocking out the most armored tanks, they proved slow to set up and difficult to conceal; the latter generation of low-recoil anti-tank weapons, which allowed projectiles the size of an artillery shell to be fired from a man's shoulder, was considered a far more viable option for arming infantrymen.
The RPG has its roots in the 20th century with the early development of the explosive shaped charge, in which the explosive is made in a pointed cone shape, which concentrates its power on the impact point. Before the adoption of the shaped charge, anti-tank guns and tank guns relied on kinetic energy of metal shells to defeat armor. Soldier-carried anti-tank rifles such as the Boys anti-tank rifle could be used against lightly-armoured tankettes and light armoured vehicles. However, as tank armor increased in thickness and effectiveness, the anti-tank guns needed to defeat them became heavy and expensive. During WW II, as tank armor got thicker, larger calibre anti-tank guns were developed to defeat this thicker armour. While larger anti-tank guns were more effective, the weight of these anti-tank guns meant that they were mounted on wheeled, towed platforms; this meant that if the infantry was on foot, they might not have access to these wheeled, vehicle-towed anti-tank guns. This led to situations where infantry could find themselves defenseless against tanks and unable to attack tanks.
Armies found that they needed to give infantry a human-portable weapon to defeat enemy armor when no wheeled anti-tank guns were available, since anti tank rifles were no longer effective. Initial attempts to put such weapons in the hands of the infantry resulted in weapons like the Soviet RPG-40 "blast effect" hand grenade; the RPG-43 and RPG-6 used shaped charges, the chemical energy of their explosive being used more efficiently to enable the defeat of thicker armor. What was needed was a means of delivering the shaped charge warhead from a distance. Different approaches to this goal wo