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India, officially the Republic of India, is a country located in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, and the second most populous country in the world. India has a coastline of over seven thousand kilometres, and borders Pakistan to the west, Nepal, the China and Bhutan to the north-east, and Bangladesh and Myanmar to the east. In the Indian Ocean, it is adjacent to the island nations of Sri Lanka, Maldives and Indonesia.
Home to the Indus Valley Civilization, a centre of important trade routes and vast empires, India has long played a major role in human history. Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism and Sikhism all have their origins in India, while Islam and Christianity enjoy a strong cultural heritage. Colonised as part of the British Empire in the nineteenth century, India gained independence in 1947 as a unified nation after an intense struggle for independence. The country has one of the most diverse populations of wildlife, geographical terrain and climate systems found anywhere in the world.