The members of the uncommitted ‘Afro-Asian’ group of nations which is playing an increasingly important role in world affairs are located mainly in two regions — the Middle East and South East Asia. India, Pakistan and Ceylon are best regarded as part of South East Asia — which will form the subject of this chapter — the rest of this region comprising the various countries occupying the long peninsula and chain of islands stretching south from China towards Australia. As it appears dangerously vulnerable to communist expansion, this area is most important in world affairs and the subject of much anxiety on the part of the West. Though the Western powers have very few territories of their own in South East Asia to defend, it would obviously be a grave setback to their position — a serious alteration against them of the world balance of power — if it were to fall to communism. They have been devoting considerable effort to measures to prevent this happening.
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