For all practical purposes a country has a sovereign status. It takes its own decisions. In this regard India is a country - seventh largest in in terms of area and second largest in terms of population to be precise.
People often confuse country to be a homogeneous entity - with a common culture, common language. This is in fact the basis on which the early nation-states emerged. But in today’s times, this definition is as useless as “ueue” in queue. It doesn’t matter if a country has historically been a political entity. What matters is the present political union.
Still, for the sake of argument, India as a country has its distinct culture. The entire country emerged from the same strands of cultural reality.
Chandragupta Maurya initially a Hindu (which he didn’t know then) after ruling the country from Pataliputra fasted to death as per the Jain practice of sallekhana in Shravanbelagola (in present Karnataka)
The great Rajendra Chola from the present Tamil Nadu assumed the title of Gangaikonda Cholan after the victory over the Pala dynasty of Bengal
This is India. This is India’s history.
India has been a separate geographical entity. India has been a melting point of cultures, customs and traditions. This is who we are. If the yardstick of being a country is having a distinct culture, our distinct culture of being culturally heterogeneous is truer now than ever