AS AN independent nation Tasmania would rank 68th in a world total of 196 sovereign states, just behind Luxembourg in population.
We could indulge in a fun exercise of estimating the benefits of a unilateral declaration of independence by Tasmania, but secession does not fit comfortably into my own international vision.
More realistic surely is the ongoing search for local avenues of opportunity within the existing constitutional framework, with the Commonwealth setting the overall direction of external policies.
And it is worth remembering, that although very few Tasmanians have ever served at the political helm of Australian foreign policy making, the island state has contributed a disproportionate number of our most distinguished career diplomats over the past 60 years, several of whom were born or educated in Launceston.
Given the spectacular economic growth of the world's two most populous countries, China and India, it does make sense to focus on messages from the Commonwealth's White Paper, Australia in the Asian Century (despite its limited focus), and our version, Tasmania in the Asian Century, released earlier this year.
Understandably, the latter report found it easier to identify nine strategic goals, with the outlook optimistic.
An early state government response to its White Paper has been a commitment of $200,000 a year towards establishment of an Asia Institute at the University of Tasmania to help develop an Asia-literate workforce.
A worthy goal, but I wonder whether this project should be entrusted to the university without ensuring a measure of outside control.
Our universities are driven by research earnings and academic publication output, and most academics have limited understanding of the practicalities of doing business with Asia.
Yet, at public consultations in Hobart and Launceston, hosted by Foreign Affairs, many representatives of small business were pleading for practical assistance.
In 2012, almost 80 per cent of the 3550 overseas students attending UTAS were from Asia and the university plans to double that number by 2018.
Unfortunately, for the cause of productive cultural interaction, the majority seem to be Chinese business degree students.
Perhaps the government could exploit the popularity of Tasmanian cricket stars in India to attract more students and tourists from the subcontinent.
An internationally competitive Tasmania would include establishing an international shipping service.
A state task force on intermodal transport is due to report later this year and the state opposition has promised high priority for such a service.
My vision for Tasmania would include expansion of a shipbuilding industry for Asian markets and extended utilisation of the Australian Maritime College's world-class research facilities for defence production.
Tasmania is the only Australian state without overseas trade promotion offices, but that is not necessarily a serious disadvantage.
A windfall for Tasmania in the Chinese market would be a short visit to the state by China's President, Xi Jinping, before or after next year's G-20 meeting, a possibility he himself raised with then-prime minister Julia Gillard in April this year.
Mr Xi had served as governor of Fujian Province, with which Tasmania enjoys a formal sister- province relationship, but had never visited. The media coverage in China would work wonders.
A commentator on global mega trends, CSIRO chairman Simon McKeon, predicted that Tasmania will benefit from several problems likely to afflict large segments of the world's population, ranging from climate change to food scarcity.
Even in the short term, Tasmania's cool temperate climate and relative Britishness is likely to attract more Asian visitors.
Finally, let's not overlook Hobart's expanding role as gateway to Antarctica, at a time of increased international activity in Australia's Antarctic Territory.
Emeritus Professor Peter Boyce AO, was professor of political science at the universities of Queensland and Western Australia and was vice- chancellor of Murdoch University for 11years. He also lectured in political science at the University of Tasmania.