Recent research has found that the subsiding Sunda Shelf (Southeast Asia) was permanently exposed prior to ca. 400 ka with initial submersion-exposure cyclicity, associated with interglacial-glacial sea-level cycles, beginning between 400 and 240 ka. We analyzed the impact submersion-exposure cycles on regional environment and climate through a 640 k.y. leaf-wax carbon isotope (δ13Cwax) reconstruction at Andaman Sea Site U1448, representing relative changes in C3/C4 plant abundances. Prior to ca. 250 ka, the Sunda region was inhabited by a stable C3 (forest) biome, after which submersion-exposure cycles initiated with the deglacial sea-level rise at ca. 250 ka. During subsequent glacial-age sea-level drops, the newly exposed shelf was rapidly colonized by C4 grasses, followed by slow transitions back to C3 forests, representing a tenfold increase in the variability of C3/C4 vegetation in the Sunda region. The C3/C4 regime shift since 250 ka is coherent across the Southeast (SE) Asia peninsula and Sunda Shelf and is coincident with a shift in the east-west sea-surface temperature gradient in the equatorial Pacific Ocean. We hypothesize that the expansion of C4 grasslands promoted and sustained drier glacial-age climates over SE Asia via a feedback mechanism that contributed to weakening the ascending branch of the east-west atmospheric circulation in the equatorial Pacific region known as the Walker Circulation. Our results indicate that the Sunda Shelf region has a larger influence on Walker Circulation than is seen in current paleoclimate simulations.