( Gulf ) - Cupid may end up doing more than what diplomats can. As the world's two most populous nations come together, more and more Indian men living and working in China are falling in love with Chinese women - and marrying them too.
The growing rapprochement between the Asian giants has led to increased human traffic between India and China. Today thousands of Indians, almost all of them men, are making their mark across China in a wide variety of fields.
Diplomats and other Indians in the country admit love is definitely in the air.
"Yes, there is this trend [of Indians and Chinese marrying]," said Mehernosh Pastakia, a restaurant owner who came to China 17 years ago from Mumbai and married a Chinese girl a decade ago.
"There are strong similarities between the two societies on issues like family values," Pastakia, 41, said. "Of course, there are also differences. So a lot of understanding and adjustment are needed."
Pastakia admitted that when his wedding took place, "it was something totally new [at that time]. The first time you were looked at with awe. Over a period of time, you tend to get accepted. It doesn't take long."
When Pastakia married, there were not many Indians in China. Today, thanks to the booming economies in both countries, there are some 10,000 Indians in China, including some 6,000 students in the 18-23 age group.
The mainly male Indians work for multinational companies or are in business - and are therefore economically well off.
Ravi Ranjan, who has been teaching Indian literature and culture and Hindi in Peking University for two years, said a growing number of Indian men and Chinese women were becoming friends although not all of them tied the nuptial knot.
"Women here are marrying foreigners in large numbers. Indian men are among those they are choosing as life partners," he said. "Some don't marry immediately. They have a live in relationship, and then depending on the circumstances marriages take place." Ranjan, who is from Hyderabad, pointed out the Chinese were deeply committed to their cultural values and this did affect marriages. "I know of a Chennai man married to a Chinese woman. Their son is being raised as a Chinese citizen. They never go to Chennai."
Sadhnik Roy, who has lived half his life in China and whose family-owned company has a turnover of $700 million (Dh2.5 billion), is also married to a Chinese. He said he sees no problems in a Chinese-Indian wedlock if the couple share a similar cultural and educational background.