As China’s economy grows, the nations of South East Asia are slowly being drawn into China’s sphere of influence. This is really bad news for India. China already has a deep strategic relationship with Pakistan on India’s western border. If South East Asia falls into China’s orbit, India will be completely surrounded. In this game, you play India, and you must keep the nations of South East Asia allied with you.
Quick design note: this is game is intended to simulate a non-violent contest for influence over the nations of South East Asia. The title does have the word “War” in it, but this is not a classic war game. The game engine is designed to give the flavor of a cold war like conflict in which diplomats, spies and special forces quietly advance their nation’s interests in a strategically important region. In this case, a classic war game would not be very interesting. China and India both have powerful nuclear weapons, so a shooting war would not be in either country’s best interests. South East Asia is also home to large Indian and Chinese populations. A hot war would generate lots of refugees, and domestic political problems, for both countries. Finally, both nations have enough soft power to get what they want without spilling blood. China has the world’s largest economy, and imports natural resources from countries like Australia and Indonesia. India’s economy is dwarfed by China’s, but India does have three key advantages: 1) Bollywood and other Indian cultural exports are quite popular in the region, 2) China has territorial disputes with most South East Asian nations, 3) India is growing increasingly close to the US. A few BrahMos anti-ship missiles, a couple of joint military exercises with Indian and US forces, and a Prime Ministerial photo op with Priyanka Chopra might be all India needs to keep Chinese military bases out of Indonesia or Malaysia.
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