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India-Bharat Conundrum: What happens to .IN websites if the Parliament renames the country?

There has been growing speculation regarding the possibility of India officially adopting the name “Bharat.” This speculation has been fueled by the recent circulation of an invitation for a G20 dinner scheduled for September 9, which notably referred to the “President of Bharat” instead of the usual “President of India.”

Furthermore, another instance that has added fuel to speculations of this kind is that in a separate state document, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was referred to as Prime Minister of Bharat.

Additionally, there is an upcoming special session of the Parliament, leading some to connect the dots and suggest that the government might introduce a resolution to change the country’s name from “India” to “Bharat.”

If such a change were to occur, it could pose some challenges, particularly in domain names and internet identity cases. The.IN domain is a country code top-level domain or ccTLD that signifies the website’s association with India. It functions like the +91 code we have internationally for all telephone and mobile numbers in India.

It indicates that the domain name was registered with INRegistry, an organization established by NIXI or the National Internet Exchange of India. Furthermore, IN has subdomains reserved for specific purposes, such as ‘gov. In’ for the government and ‘mil. In’ for the military.

While the specific top-level domain (TLD) may not always be a critical factor for websites today, historically, ccTLDs consisting of two alphabets have helped identify a website’s country of origin. For example, The US is associated with the United States, and . the UK indicates a British website.

If India were to change its name to Bharat, there is a possibility that a new TLD for the country’s websites would be chosen. However, it’s worth noting that many potential TLD options are already allocated to other countries. For instance, BH belongs to Bahrain, BR is designated for Brazil, and  . BT is reserved for Bhutan.

One possible solution could involve diplomatic negotiations with countries that hold such TLDs to explore the possibility of acquiring them. However, the chances of that happening aren’t that strong.

Alternatively, India could consider creating new TLDs incorporating “Bharat” into the domain.BHARAT or.BHRT. This could provide a clear and distinct online identity for the country in case of an official name change. However, this process would require careful consideration and coordination to ensure a smooth transition and avoid potential conflicts in the domain naming system.

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