Chinese Checkers with Li Peng 

Li Peng, China's second most powerful leader, came visiting India in early January, and clearly his interest was more than a pose with Mrs. Li in front of the Taj. A lot had happened to the world and Asia since his earlier trip of 1991, fast on the heels of the Tiananmen Square massacre. In South Asia, India (and Pakistan) had gone openly nuclear and New Delhi is now in full embrace with the United States.

For India and the rest of South Asia, it is the direction taken by Beijing that is a matter of immense strategic and economic concern. Although no longer viewed as an enigma, China is a subject of abounding interest, concern and speculation. Changes in that one country will affect everyone. Deprivation of freedom of expression and association is unsustainable in a globalised economy within the information age, and the cataclysmic upheavals which will overtake China when (not if) the tight lid of political control comes off will have consequences for global security.

Loading content, please wait...
Himal Southasian