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Chinese influence over Southeast Asia first began with "boots of soldiers", while the impact of Indians on the region was due to monks and traders, senior BJP leader Ram Madhav said on Wednesday.
Speaking at a seminar here on "India and Southeast Asia: The Cultural Connect", Madhav said former prime minister P V Narasimha Rao should be credited with formulating the 'Look East Policy' in the early 1990s and engaging with the region.
"A major difference existed between the two efforts (of India's and China's), migrations. In the case of the Chinese, it was the soldiers who travelled to those lands first, followed by the traders. It was the boots of the soldiers on the soil that took the Chinese influence to these lands," he said.
"That was followed by trade, commerce and other contact with those lands. The result was that the Chinese influence remained limited to the areas where their army could reach, for example North Vietnam," he said.
"Whereas in our case, it was the priests and the monks who travelled first, followed by the traders, sailors, and others," he added.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)