Strait of Malacca (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
In Robert Kaplan's very well done book, Monsoon, the author discusses the strategic importance of the Indian Ocean in the next fifty years. The basic idea is that the entire flow of natural resources from Africa to satisfy demand in India and China must cross the Indian Ocean. For the goods to reach China they must pass through the Straits of Malacca near Singapore (shown to the right), which is a potential choke point of strategic importance. Kaplan speculates that China will make significant investment in Myanmar, Thailand or Malaysia to create an alternative to the sea route through the Straits of Malacca.
This story in Big Think suggests that Myanmar (formerly Burma) may be the site of such investment. The Chinese are investing in a port project in Dawei shown below and a new road north to the Chinese border.