Globespotting : Indrani Bagchi's blog-The Times Of India . . New Delhi: When US secretary of state Hillary Clinton travels to Yangon later this week, the first such visit in 50 years, New Delhi can claim some credit for the USâ€™ change of heart. â€œAt least our policy to Myanmar is vindicated,â€ said officials. Over the past couple of years, India has maintained an intensive engagement with the US on the reclusive south-east Asian nation. Since April, 2010, the MEA and US state department have begun an East Asia dialogue, where Indian diplomats have taken pains to explain to the US why engagement was better than sanctions that hit the poor. To the extent that New Delhi has been able to convince the US, Myanmar may go down as the first success story of this dialogue. However, the decision by Myanmarâ€™s president Thein Sein in September to stand up to the Chinese by cancelling a $3.6-billion dam project in Myistone signaled more powerfully than anything else that Myanmar was ready to â€œbalanceâ€ China. India gave $500 milllion in credit to Myanmar in October soon after Naypyidawâ€™s decision. For years, India has fended off US criticism regarding its policy of engagement in Myanmar. When the US and the EU were piling on sanctions on Myanmarâ€™s regime, hoping to see it break under the pressure, Indian diplomats were expounding on the futility of the exercise. Many Indian strategists believe that Myanmarâ€™s isolation drove it into the arms of China. Indiaâ€™s own decision to embrace the military junta was partly to offset this, partly in response to Myanmarâ€™s own desire to have options other than China. Indiaâ€™s security concerns regarding north-east militancy have been addressed so some extent by Myanmar, which has spurred India to engage more deeply with the military regime. When the junta decided to go in for a reconciliation programme, leading up to elections in March, 2011, India was cheering from the sidelines. In the past few years, India has intensified its own ties with Myanmar, even being one of the few countries whose diplomats were allowed access to Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi. And in December, Delhi will host a parliamentary delegation from Myanmar, led by Thura Shwe Mann, to take lessons in parliamentary democracy from India. United Statesâ€™ engagement in Myanmar will be good news for India, because it balances Indiaâ€™s fears of encirclement by China by its â€œstring of pearlsâ€.