When it comes to time zones, India takes a page out of China’s handbook. The whole of India falls under a single time zone, even though the time zones on a map split India into a number of places. India certainly isn’t a small country and China is massive. However, both remain in a single time zone.
The only countries that are technically in the same time zone as India are Nepal (even though they are 15 minutes ahead), and Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka is actually a newcomer to the fold, having followed the time of a specific city prior to just falling under the same umbrella as India.
There are many who believe that India’s reluctance to switch to multiple time zones is hurting the citizens who live there. Historically speaking, India’s choice to remain in the same time zone is a result of past British rule.
Why is India’s Time Zone Controversial?
IST (India Standard Time) is not something that everyone in India accepts and adores. The thing is, India (from east to west) stretched for nearly 2,000 miles. If you stand on the western border of India and watch the conclusion of a sunset, that sun won’t set for another two hours on the far eastern border.
That two-hour difference is a big distinction. This puts a lot of strain on workers and kids still in school. Since the time is the same everywhere, some kids have to get up and go to school much earlier or much later than is considered normal.
This negatively affects their overall education (the human brain is not made for weird hours it would seem) and it also affects the health of workers throughout the country. It’s also a reason that more countries don’t share a time zone with India.
Why Do Only a Couple of Countries Share a Time Zone with India?
If India were to embrace multiple time zones across the country, more countries to the north, south, east, and west of India would share time zones with the country. This is true simply because of how the time zones are laid out across the globe.
The fact that India only uses one time zone, and the surrounding countries embrace whatever time zone they are officially in, means that very few countries technically share a time zone with India. It’s all a bit confusing until you look at India and the surrounding countries on a map, overlaid with time zones.
Since there are a lot of discussions (both within and outside of India) about embracing the multiple time zones throughout the country, things may change in the near future. That means more countries would begin sharing a time zone with India.
All Things Considered
Since India is very hesitant to split the country up into multiple time zones, which would have a positive effect on everyone who lives there, only a couple of countries share a time zone with it. India is large enough that there is a 2-hour difference between the east and west borders.
Unfortunately, that’s not going to change much until the powers that be in India decide that it should change.