The International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance interviews guest lecturer Thant Myint-U about the future of democracy in Burma and the region.
Thant Myint-U’s Where China Meets India is a vivid, searching, and timely book about a remote region that is suddenly becoming a geopolitical center of the world. From their very beginnings, the civilizations of China and India have been separated from each other, not only by the towering summits of the Himalayas, but also by the vast and impenetrable jungle, hostile tribes, and remote inland kingdoms that once stretched a thousand miles from where Calcutta is today, across Burma, to the upper reaches of China’s Yangtze River.
But in the next few years, this last great frontier will likely vanish - the forests destroyed, dirt roads replaced by superhighways and high-speed trains, insurgencies ended - leaving China and India closer together than at any time in history. The great interior of China will also be connected to the Indian Ocean as never before. And this basic shift in geography, as profound as the opening of the Suez Canal, is taking place just as the centre of the world's economy is shifting decisively to the East.
What will this change mean? Thant Myint-U is in a unique position to know. Over the past few years he has traveled extensively across this vast territory, where high-speed trains and gleaming new shopping malls are now coming within striking distance of the last far-flung rebellions and impoverished mountain communities. And he has explored the new strategic centrality of Burma, where Asia’s two rising giant powers appear to be vying for supremacy.
Where China Meets India takes us across this fast-changing Asian frontier, giving us a masterful account of the region’s long and rich history and its sudden significance for the rest of the world.
A travelogue, a work of history, and an informed look into the future, Where China Meets India takes us across the fast-changing Asian frontier, giving us a masterful account of the region’s long and rich history and its sudden significance for the rest of the world.