Where China Meets India: Burma and the New Crossroads of Asia by Thant Myint-U

Namrata Goswami was Research Fellow at Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi. Click here for detail profile.
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  • July 2012
    Book Review

    Thant Myint-U has written a book that weaves together travel anecdotes, historical narratives, strategic discourse and an optimistic future for Burma, the country he originally belongs to. The book is neatly divided into three sections: Burma, China and India. Drawing attention to the critical significance of Burma as the connecting edge between two rising giants of Asia, Myint-U elegantly argues that the future geopolitical map of Asia will be drawn in this, until now, ‘backwater’ state (p. 6). To the author, Burma has always been the historical link between India and China, lending its support for the spread of Buddhism from India to China and trade via the old Silk Road in pre-British times. After the British occupation of Burma in 1824, its political link with British India became stronger. Myint-U takes us through a historical journey of British outposts in remote Burmese towns like Maymyo, along the old Burma Road, a town that rose to prominence during the Second World War. On 5 April 1942, American General Joseph ‘Vinegar Joe’ Stillwell met Chiang Kai Shek in Maymyo as part of the Allied Forces fighting against the Japanese invasion of Burma. The reader is also offered great details on small Burmese towns like Hsipaw or Lashio in the Kachin Hills, along the Burma Road.