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India may be moving to change its name to ancient Sanskrit term, G20 invitation suggests

The Indian government is replacing the nation’s usual name with an older Sanskrit term in official media, prompting questions about plans to make an official change.

In a dinner invitation sent to G20 summit attendees, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was referred to as “Prime Minister of Bharat” — signaling an unprecedented eagerness to leave behind the term “India.”

“India” and “Bharat” are considered interchangable terms within the country — but both domestically and internationally, “India” is the much more widely used name for the nation.

Sign seen for G-20 in India

Pedestrians walk past a billboard installed along a street ahead of the two-day G20 summit in New Delhi on Wednesday. (SAJJAD HUSSAIN/AFP via Getty Images)

The etymology of “India” is complicated and developed over thousands of years.

Ancient Greeks called the region “Indos” — thought to be transliterated from the term “Hindi” — and other cultures began linguistically identifying the area with the Indus River.

Article 1 of the Indian Constitution begins, “India, that is Bharat, shall be a Union of States.”

Timothy Nerozzi is a writer for Fox News Digital. You can follow him on Twitter @timothynerozzi and can email him at


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