China is much praised for its economic performance and its rapid growth; much less mention is made of its diplomatic activities even though they are very persistent. Alain Lamballe unveils some aspects of Chinese policies in South Asia, showing how China is forging close links with its South Asian neighbours, especially India, but also Pakistan and Burma.
By building infrastructure, financing strategic bases and developing industrial linkages China is increasingly strengthening its position throughout the Asian continent for a combination of economic, political and security reasons. The Chinese strategy, aimed at offsetting the influence of the United States in the region, could in the long run help to reduce some regional tensions (Kashmir, in particular) and upset the international status quo, especially if India joins in. According to Alain Lamballe, the 21st century could then indeed be the century of Asia.