More importantly, if China looks inland, China actually will create new enemies as dormant foes feel threatened and react. As long as we are there to bolster these new Chinese foes they will be more likely to resist than fold against superior power.
And China will find themselves required to be both a major land and sea power at the same time. The Soviets, Nazis, the Kaiser's Germany , and Napoleon's France all failed when they tried to be both with insufficient resources. China, too, will fail if they attempt this in the next couple generations.
We are supreme at sea but are not really a major land power despite our dominance in land warfare. We do not have military land power capable of continent-spanning operations. We fielded both dominant land and sea power in World War II but have not tried since then.
China is opening up new paths into Tibet to confront India:
China seeks to create "a string of anti-Indian influence around India" that is "designed to marginalize India in the long term," according to one Indian strategist. Prime Minister Singh laments "the desire of extraregional powers to keep us engaged in low-intensity conflicts and local problems, to weigh us down in a low-level equilibrium."
China is also expending money and manpower to construct strategic road and rail links in India's backyard. A high-altitude rail line linking Qinghai in China with Lhasa in Tibet, which began transporting Chinese military personnel in early December, reportedly features a planned southern spur leading to the disputed Sino-Indian border, enabling the rapid movement of Chinese military forces in the event of conflict. Beijing and Islamabad are conducting surveys for a rail line across the Karakoram mountains linking western China to northern Pakistan, which would tie up with Chinese-funded roads and railways leading to Pakistani ports on the Arabian Sea. China is reported to be considering construction of a rail link to Nepal, traditionally a buffer state under India's influence.
China has reportedly constructed 39 transport routes from its interior to its contested border with India--which Indian planners perceive as more of a military threat than a commercial opportunity, since much of the border is closed to trade. China's program of road and rail works along its border with the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, which Beijing claims as Chinese territory, has led New Delhi to accelerate "strategically important" road construction in the region. China is also funding extensive road and rail projects in Burma, traditionally the land corridor for both commerce and armies between East and South Asia.
India will react with its own communications network and nuclear weapons. The result will be that India's north and China's southwest won't just be a corridor for exert Chinese influence on India and threaten India, but a path for Indian counter-attacks, too.
China may count Burma, Bengladesh, and Pakistan as friends to confront India; but India has America. And we have friends in central Asia, Pakistan, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Taiwan, and Australia.
Nor do I know how long China can count on Russia being a nice little poodle to China.
As long as China's west was poorly developed and garrisoned, it would have remained a huge buffer zone against land threats. China would face only poor Vietnam in the south and shrunken Russia to the north. But now China is prompting India to arm up and look out for China in a major way.
The Great Game is under way in Asia. Just by playing, China is losing and we are winning.