East of India, South of China: Sino-India Encounters in Southeast Asia

Vikash Chandra is Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at Dr B.R. Ambedkar Government Degree College, Mainpuri, Uttar Pradesh, India
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  • November 2018
    Book Review

    With the rise of China and the rising tension between the China-South China Sea littoral states, the Southeast Asian region has emerged as a pivot of international politics. Changing US policy towards Southeast Asia in the wake of China’s rise and India’s initiatives to expand its footholds in the region have further mainstreamed the region. China has shown reluctance in accepting the involvement of an extra-regional power in South China Sea affairs. Therefore, it is likely that in the coming years, the region will witness extensive overt and covert competition between two rising powers. Competition between China and India to influence the region, however, is not a new phenomenon. Rather, it goes back to the mid-twentieth century. The book under review seeks to explore India-China-Southeast Asia engagement in Southeast Asia and its impact on the Asian order. To understand the evolution of the Asian order, Amitav Acharya examines the triangular engagement on selected ‘events and turning points’ (p. xvi) and argues that although both China and India have affected the region in various ways, yet, it was India that affected the region politically, economically and culturally throughout the past millennium and played an ‘instrumental role in organising regional cooperation of the post-colonial Asian nations’ in which Southeast Asia was a major theatre (p. 218). Methodologically, the book approaches the issue from a normative and ideational perspective.