RAS Book Club

Where China Meets India: Burma at the Crossroads of Asia

Author: Thant Myint-U (2012)

From their very beginnings, China and India have been walled off from each other: by the towering summits of the Himalayas, by a vast and impenetrable jungle, by hostile tribes and remote inland kingdoms stretching a thousand miles from Calcutta across Burma to the upper Yangtze River.

Soon this last great frontier will vanish―the forests cut down, dirt roads replaced by superhighways, insurgencies crushed―leaving China and India exposed to each other as never before. This basic shift in geography will lead to unprecedented connections among the three billion people of Southeast Asia and the Far 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.

At once 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.

Thant Myint-U was educated at Harvard and Cambridge universities and later taught history for several years as a fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge. He has also served on United Nations peacekeeping operations in Cambodia and the former Yugoslavia, as well as with the United Nations Secretariat in New York. He is the author of a personal history of Burma, The River of Lost Footsteps.

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