The term for tea across India is Chai, bearing quite a resemblance to the Chinese Cha. Coincidence?
Based on the rich history of the silk road, where centuries saw caravans transporting Chinese textiles, tea, and other luxury goods through the Indian Subcontinent; some degree of shared etymology isn’t out of the question.
But do these two lightning economies, also making up the Asian half of BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) still maintain such spirited ties? It doesn’t seem like it.
Although it is still unbelievably difficult for the average Chinese citizen to travel abroad in any capacity – largely due to the PRC’s own government, a cursory consulate search will find that the popularity of India as a travel destination is proportionately among the lowest.
“We have 1.3 billion people here and 1.2 billion in India which is altogether 2.5 billion. But around 700,000 people visited each other’s country last year which is very low,” Deputy Director General of Asian Department in Ministry of Foreign Affairs Sun Weidong said in an interview in early 2012.
Likewise, if the physical observation of traffic is any indicator, India is wildly unpopular as a travel destination for the Chinese. At the Guangzhou Development Bank Tower enclave in Luwan financial district, Shanghai, the Indian visa application center sits nestled between the centers for Canada and New Zealand, both of which are considered across China as desirable holiday spots. All three centers open at a standard 8am on weekdays, and by 7:55am a line of eager tour goers is nearly forcing open the door at the Canadian application center. Whether it comes down to simple preference or the propensity of communist educated Chinese people to dislike any culture that appears too traditional, in contrast, only one earnest looking man is waiting at the door to India.
And vice versa. The depiction of Chinese people in India’s illustrious Bollywood media industry is downright archaic. Focusing primarily on their propensity to eat unorthodox cuisine, including insects and household pets, the common opinion of the Chinese is unflattering at best.
Already comparatively dismal in the human development index, in areas other than the quality of education and freedom of press, India’s consumption and industry statistics are meager in appetite when compared to China. And these comparisons unfortunately aren’t all too uncommon, the similarities in that both nations boast overwhelming populations, and economic booms over the past decade continue to draw comparative speculation.
Now with the utter dominion of China over India in the London Olympics, a road is set for India to suffer further embarassment at the hands of the Middle Kingdom☼