More than 61 million people with diabetes live in India, a country that is already facing challenges such as malnutrition, poverty and socioeconomic burden caused by communicable diseases. The main reasons for the ever-increasing diabetes epidemic are population growth, urbanization, unhealthy food habits, obesity and lack of physical activity. Diabetes also causes other complications, including cardiovascular disorders, diabetic retinopathy, diabetic nephropathy and peripheral neuropathy, which are responsible for severe morbidity and mortality. Treatment of diabetes and its complications is a major challenge in India owing to several issues, including sociocultural factors, lack of appropriate facilities for diabetes care, an inadequate health system, poor monitoring and follow-up of patients, and problems in implementing effective management and educational strategies. Healthcare professionals and policymakers have to come together to address these problems in diabetes care and design appropriate preventative and management strategies.