officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is an island nation in
South Asia, located about 31 kilometres (19.3 mi) off the southern coast of
India. Popularly referred to as the Pearl of the Indian Ocean, it is home to
around twenty million people. Due to its location in the path of major sea
routes, Sri Lanka is a strategic naval link between West Asia and South East
Asia, and has been a center of Buddhist religion and culture from ancient times.
Today, the country is a multi-religious and multi-ethnic nation, with nearly a
third of the population following faiths other than Buddhism, notably Hinduism,
Christianity and Islam. The Sinhalese community forms the majority of the
population, with Tamils, who are concentrated in the north and east of the
island, forming the largest ethnic minority.