China’s role in Southeast Asia is of a multi-dimensional nature and, as in the case of all small and medium powers that are forced to deal with the presence of a great power in their midst, the Southeast Asian nations have to negotiate and mediate China’s presence. The resulting conduct of foreign policy, foreign economic policy and security policy towards China is no longer based on the strategic considerations of insulated government elites, but are the result of complex decision-making processes which are also influenced by non-governmental actors.
Narendra Modi’s overwhelming election victory has brought with it expectations of fast and noticeable improvements in the living conditions of hundreds of millions of Indians. The main focus of the new government is, therefore, the economic development of India, which is also one of the two leading guidelines for Modi’s foreign policy. The other major concern for the new government is the relationship with China. Modi’s success or failure in these two areas of India’s foreign policy will determine the country’s future role as a great power in global politics.