India, Oct. 10 -- Today, carefully calibrated swings between bonhomie and brinkmanship define the nature of India-China ties. In April 2018, for instance, the inaugural Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Xi Jinping informal summit in Wuhan, China, was confirmed five days before their meeting. This time again, the announcement for the second informal summit was made just three days before Xi lands in Chennai.

When such brinkmanship is mounted, and then followed by a walk in the woods or a boat ride, it seems to suggest that these two leaders are becoming global game changers, unlocking infinite opportunities. The Mamallapuram seaside walk, while reviewing Unesco-recognised heritage monuments, will allow Modi to invoke stories of t...