This book determines two major changes that occurred between the start of 1750, when the Qianlong emperor brought the empire to the height of its power, and when Qing weakness in the face of European empires became starkly evident. It employs the word “India” to refer to the region more commonly known in current scholarship as South Asia. Changes in geographic and strategic thinking permitted a unified foreign policy. Qing policy had varied from that of its neighbors. The most crucial variable in Qing foreign relations was whether the court and private scholars considered themselves to be facing an assortment of discrete, localized challenges, or a single, integrated crisis involving the empire as a whole. Frontier policy was supported by an assumption of minimalism. An overview of the chapters included in this book is given.
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