Sri Lanka

The teardrop-shaped island has withstood — and imbibed from — centuries of Portuguese, Dutch and British colonial influences to today emerge as South Asia's leader on most social indexes, with a per capita income twice that of its giant neighbor, India. Home to idyllic beaches, lush green mountains, a kaleidoscope of Buddhist and Tamil culture, and exotic flora and fauna, Sri Lanka has long drawn tourists from across the world. Now, its strategic location is also attracting a fresh tussle for influence between New Delhi and Beijing.

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