WIkipedia “Indo-China” and it will refer to Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia and then onto the defeat of the French colonialists (so much for liberte, egalite e fraternite) and the ‘American anguish’ over defeat even though they killed 2 million Vietnamese, opened the path for Pol Pot and destroyed the jungles with Dow Chemical Agent Orange (soon to be seen at the London Olympics).
Geographically, it makes more sense to see Indo-China to the north west of this region.
Myanmar, Yunnan, the Seven Sister states, Bangladesh, West Bengal, Bhutan, Nepal, Tibet and Kashmir.
And this area is the new fault line in much of our lifetime. A Venn Diagram of states, provinces and regions in a Nuclear Neighbourhood.
The great prize for Washington is the ‘containment’ of China by building up India, making inroads into Myanmar and sowing discontent in Tibet and Western China up to Chongking.
The great prize for Delhi? (I don’t say India as like I never subscribed to the idea of ‘whats good for General Motors is good for America’ I also don’t believe that the neo-imperial tendencies of South Block and neo-liberal ideologies of Mumbai-Delhi are any good for the state of India)…….. a fulfilment of the urge to be the Asian superpower (piggy-backing the US) putting China back in its cage.
A necessary condition for Delhi is therefore economic, political and military domination of South Asia, a version of the ‘Near Abroad’ to use post Soviet terminology.
This 21st century Indo-China is the next frontline. The ‘re-opening’ of Myanmar should be seen in this context.
Essentially, this has the makings of the ‘Balkan Question’ of the 1800s up to the assassination of Franz Ferdinand and the onset of an epoch changing World War. This time it moves east, out of Europe into Forgotten Asia.
Minerals, Natural Gas, hydro-energy, cheap labour, a half a billion consumers, the gateway to the potential riches of Northern Indian gangetic plain and to South-east Asia up to Singapore and Hanoi as well as the untapped potential of Western China (a continent away from Shanghai and the Pacific Coast)…. added to the vital rare earths of Tibet and the perennial impasse (and half a million Indian troops) over Kashmir…… the armed national liberation movements in the Seven Sisters and the inexorable rise of the Maoist rebellion in the Strategic Corridor cutting the sub-continent in half from Nepal down to the Bay of Bengal.
In the next post in this series, we turn to a country in the middle of all this.. a population with a history of volatile politicisation, with a youth bulge and a desperate need for jobs, economic uplift to offset a looming environmental catastrophe…..