Further India / Indo-China /
The Indo-Chinese Peninsula forms the southeasterly division of the Asiatic continent. It embraces the vast peninsula which extends from the Bay of Bengal on the west to the China Sea on the east, and which stretches to the southward into the smaller and more elongated Malay Peninsula. It is bounded to the North by China and Tibet; to the west by India and the Bay of Bengal; to the south by the Strait of Malacca and the Gulf of Siam; and to the east by the South China Sea and the Gulf of Tonquin.
Further India is also called India beyond the Ganges, the Indo-Chinese Peninsula, Indo-China, and the South Eastern Peninsula. The terms “Farther India” and “Indo-China” are emblematic of the preoccupation with external actors, whether Indian, Chinese, or European, in the development of this region. The term Indo-China captures the two major world civilizations that have historically influenced the peoples of this realm. The archeological, linguistic and historical evidence depicts millennia of sequential migration of peoples and influences into this southern peninsula of the Asia mainland. The Indic civilization overlaid and inspiredthe traditional cultures of Southeast Asia while the Sinic civilization penetrated and dominated the economic activities of these peoples.
This peninsuala forms the continental part of South East Asia, along with Macronesia. The term Indochina and Southeast Asia are at times used interchangably, but they should not be, as they are two distinct realms. Macronesia is a the largest archipelago on Earth, with many of the world's largest islands, and includes Indonesia, the Phillipines, and Malaysia, with a number of other smaller island countries. The mainland of Malaya is not, strictly speaking, part of Macronesia, as it is not an island, but it is generally included in the region for cultural reasons.
Indo-China can be delineated by the major rivers and intervening highlands. The country consists of a series of mountain chains, separated by long narrow river valleys, which lie in the direction of north-west and south-east. The head-waters of the mighty Irrawaddy, Chao Praya, Mekong, and Red River (Song Koi) lie in the mountainous southern provinces of today‘s China. The river valleys and surrounding plains of these rivers are the heartlands of the major agriculture-based kingdoms of antiquity and nations of today. The mountains and high plateaus create sub-regions and boundaries throughout the mainland. East-westmovement is channelized and truncated.
The climate resembles that of India, but is more humid. Located in the tropics, the Southeast Asia realm has a hot climate with a dry and wet season. Topography and latitude combine in the northern areas to produce a subtropical climate with cooler temperatures at altitude. The monsoon winds and rain influence most of the realm.
The soil is fertile, the vegetation luxuriant, and the forests are magnificent, including teak, trees yielding elastic gums, and the taban or gutta percha tree. Rice is the chief grain; but the sago, cocoa, and other palms afford much food. The animals are similar to those of India; but large apes, elephants, and rhinoceroses are more numerous, and the tapir is found in the extreme south. Minerals of almost every kind are abundant.
The Greater Mekong Subregion groups Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam and China's southern province of Yunnan. The six nations share the Mekong River, which is recognized as the lifeline of Southeast Asia. As for BIMST-EC, it comprises seven countries, namely Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Thailand.
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