Asia's balance of power has become fairly lopsided

The leaders of China and India are meeting in the city of Wuhan for an unusual summit. China's President Xi Jinping and India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi won't have aides in the room; there will be no written notes and no joint statement at the end. There will be, we are told, no agenda.

In fact, there is an agenda - a sobering one for anyone counting on India to serve as a "counterweight" to China. Mr Modi's main goal for the summit is to get China to stop kicking sand in India's face. The last thing he can afford as his country approaches general elections next year is another confrontation similar to the India-China face-off in the Himalayas last year. Any such dust-up would likely end in politically disastrous humiliation for India.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 28, 2018, with the headline 'Asia's balance of power has become fairly lopsided'. Print Edition | Subscribe