Those interested in learning about the history, culture, politics, religions about the remote and underreported on region encompassing Burma and its surrounding countries, should read “Where China Meets India: Burma and the New Crossroads of Asia.” It is a fascinating account of the region and the country recorded by author Thant Myint-U through his extensive research of a myriad of literature written on the subject combined with personal travels on the ground over the past 30 years— literally through the actual terrain of the region.
Myint-U — born in Burma and spending his higher education years at Oxford University in England and Harvard University in the U.S. — has brought readers a very clearly written, thoughtful, culturally sensitive, understandable and reader-friendly history of the area.
He walks you through this history in chronological sequence and places you topographically in locations mostly throughout Burma, China and India and, at times, in neighboring countries. He does this effectively, so that, you can imagine that you are beside him during his travels and feel as though you are experiencing what he experiences. His research informs you about the whens, whys and wherefores of the three major subject countries and how they influenced and continue to influence each other. His account brings the past and contemporary histories of the region alive. It leaves you with an informed opinion about what directions each of these countries may go to further their influences upon each other. You are, in effect, invited to guess who the winners and losers will be and what will be won and lost. For example, will Burma benefit economically and politically by increasing ties with China instead of India? The outcomes are up for grabs, and the well being of millions of people are at stake. Further, these outcomes have worldwide implications for the so-called balance of political, military and economic power for the Western world as well as its Eastern counterparts.
In short, I recommend this book as fascinating, educational and revealing reading.
If it doesn’t blow your mind, it will at least open your mind to consider new vistas.