Speaking Of Asia

China-India wayang kulit may not last

The recent informal summit between Narendra Modi and Xi Jinping is a shadow play between two wary Asian giants forced by circumstances to ease tensions.

Entering the cabin of a Chinese jetliner bound for Beijing from Dalian last July, I was surprised to hear Sanskrit chants in the vicinity of my seat. The Bollywood release Dangal starring Aamir Khan had become a major hit in China and I assumed that one of my co-passengers was checking out some aspects of Indian culture on his cellular phone.

After a while I realised that the mellifluous music was filtering through the plane's public address system, probably meant to soothe the nerves of passengers before take-off.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 04, 2018, with the headline 'China-India wayang kulit may not last'. Print Edition | Subscribe