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When the Elephant meets the Dragon

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August 2006
When the Elephant meets the Dragon

When the Elephant meets the Dragon

2006 has been declared an India-China Friendship Year. And judging by the evidence so far, it's turned out to be more than a slogan. There have been many diplomatic initiatives, with this thaw even reaching the remote, snow-bound areas of the Himalayas that separate the two nations. In Sikkim last month, the opening of the Nathu La pass marked the resumption of trade between India and China on the historic Silk Road. Located at a height of 14,400 feet in a strategic region that includes Sikkim, Tibet and Bhutan, the pass had been closed since the Indo-China war in 1962. For India, the restricted trade at this time will include 29 export items and 15 imports from China. There has also been momentum on other fronts, with cultural exchanges taking the lead. A Xuan Zhang memorial will be declared open in India. And in this traveler-monk's birthplace in China, an Indian-inspired Buddhist temple will have its official dedication. There will be exhibitions and festivals in both countries, including the screening of films. Already, Lagaan has had a well-publicized release in Beijing. Hou Wei, touted as a Bollywood singer in China, is apparently not some wannabe star. "She is in fact one of Beijing's hottest entertainers having in the last couple of years become a sought-after performer at parties, weddings and restaurants, where bedecked in sparkling saris, she belts out a wide range of Hindi, Punjabi and Urdu songs," declares The Hindu. Things are also picking up in Atlanta. The India, China and America Institute (ICAI), a non-profit organization based in Decatur, has sponsored a special India-China issue of the Indian Journal of Economics and Business. It has several articles by local scholars such as Jagdish Sheth, Penelope Prime and Anupam Srivastava. Does this mean that, following decades of suspicion and rivalry, the two lumbering giants of Asia have finally learned how to tango?


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