India and China’s relationship go back at least 2500 years of known history. In 2350 of those years, Indians and Chinese have not fought with each other. On the other hand, Chinese sent their best emissaries and knowledge seekers and scholars like Fa Hien and Zhuan Zhang (in India we know him as Hieu En Tsang) to India in search of knowledge. When the silk road was opened between Asia and Europe silk from Bengal’s mulberry trees were processed and muslin was traded all over Europe. The Chinese emperors even had a cordial maritime relations with the Bengal rulers (King Ganesh/Giasuddin) and Chinese helped Bengal to ward off Armed invasion for many years. Back in historical times, kings of Bengal gifted the Chinese emperor their first giraffe in the country that the Bengal merchants got from Africa. India’s religious leader Bodhidharma established Chinese Chan Buddhist school in China that then spread to Japan as Zen. Chinese artisans regularly worked as sculptors in the temples of India. Visit the Jagannath Puri temple in India and study the murals. Much before the advent of British, the Chinese traders established temple in the Kalikata village in Bengal by Hooghly River in Achipur and established one of the oldest Chinatown in the world.

Things between the two countries turned sour during the British colonial era as the Brits would like to keep the two Asian giants as rivals and keep them at loggerheads. Think of opium war and other conflicts and MacMahon Line conflicts and the saga continues.

India and China would do well to walk together rather than fight with each other as the two Asian giants have much more shared heritage and common things with each other.

Associate Professor of Epidemiology and Environmental Health at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand. Also in:

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