Sunday, January 30, 2011

Shoring Up the Flank

Given that I think that China and India would have great difficulty achieving decisive results in a fight along their very difficult common border, it makes sense that India and China would compete for influence in Southeast Asia. Dominating that region would be key for either China to project naval power into the Indian Ocean and for India to project power into the South China Sea. Obviously, dominance would block the other, too. From India's point of view, I wrote:

In the long run, India needs to be able to project power into the South China Sea to make sure India can pose a threat to interrupt China's trade.

For that, India also needs a diplomatic offensive to gain the friendship of Thailand, Malyasia, Indonesia,Vietnam, the Philippines, and Taiwan. Alliance with America, Japan, South Korea, and Australia wouldn't hurt, of course.

So I imagine we could expect more of this:

In a sign of the new significance that India is attaching to its ties with Southeast Asia, India hosted Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono at its Republic Day celebrations this year.

Each side will have intense interest in waging a cold war for the allegiance of the region's states.

UPDATE: I forgot about an earlier post where I noted that India has gained access to Vietnamese ports.