Wuhan, a city on the banks of the Yangtze river in hinterland China, far from the country\u2019s prosperous \u2018golden coastline\u2019 of Shanghai and political capital Beijing, is a city pregnant with metaphor. In 1966, it was in Wuhan that Chairman Mao\u2014then at the lowest ebb of personal popularity\u2014swam across the Yangtze to signal that he was, contrary to rumours, in good health and ready to take on his critics; an act described as one of Mao\u2019s greatest in political theatre. That Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian PM Narendra Modi met in Wuhan is a strong political message which underscored the significance of Sino-Indian relations: \u201cFlow as the Yangtze and the Ganges,\u201d as Xi said in the course of six meetings spread over 24 hours. The biggest takeaway from the summit, which had no set agenda, was \u2018strategic guidance\u2019 to militaries to build trust, and \u2018peace and tranquillity\u2019 in the India-China border region. Further, the door for communication channels, via reciprocal invitation, has opened. To his credit, Modi tapped his personal chemistry with Xi to seek \u2018predictability\u2019 on border issues\u2014general elections are not far away. In the brouhaha, it is important to keep in mind three aspects that are very important for India in the context of managing China. First, as Modi articulated, view \u2018developments in India-China relations from a strategic and long-term perspective\u2019. Second, view China\u2019s so-called \u2018hostile acts\u2019 from a Chinese perspective rather than a India-focused perspective. Third, a pressing need to pay attention to the widening gap between China and India, in terms of social indicators and economic growth\u2014because economic growth is a key driver of power. China respects power. Reset India\u2019s China policy as long-term and strategic: Modi\u2019s visit has come at a time when India\u2019s China policy needs introspection. Several factors have led to a questioning whether India\u2019s policy is adequate, beginning with the baggage of history\u2014a post-1962 policy that focused on short-term, piecemeal, \u2018play-as-you-go\u2019 that placed the territorial dispute at the centre with trade and people-to-people contacts at the periphery. India\u2019s China policy was tactical in intent and may have well-suited the times and climes so far. But beyond governments of the day and across the political spectrum, a long-term strategy and vision is needed to guide India\u2019s engagement with China. The change has to align with the shifting geopolitical landscape of Asia in the last decades. India\u2019s China policy is no longer adequate to address China\u2019s key power status\u2014cemented by its dramatic rise and emergence as the world\u2019s second most important player. Perhaps this has reflected in India\u2019s inability to pre-empt China. For the record, China\u2019s \u2018entente cordiale\u2019 in South Asia is not a surprise. The Qinghai-Tibet line (2006) was slated to extend to Shigatse (the seat of the Panchen Lama, in 2014), and onwards to Kyirong (Gyirong in Chinese), Nepal, by 2020. The China-Nepal bus service along the 736-km Kodari Highway started in 2005, and Human Rights Watch (HRW), among others, has drawn attention to Nepal\u2019s cooperation in clamping down on Tibetan refugees. Refugees from Tibet to Nepal have trickled from the average of 2,000 in 2008 to less than 200 in 2013. With respect to Bhutan (which does not maintain diplomatic relations with China), following the 1998 agreement between the two on the border, both maintain Honorary Consul since 2004. In a decade, Bhutan\u2019s national sentiment has quietly undergone a change. The picture in Pakistan is no different. The upgrade of the 1,300-km Karakoram Highway (N-35), regular bus service between China and Pakistan beginning in 2006, and China\u2019s interest in a Sea Line of Communication (SLOC) began with the construction of the Gwadar port on the Persian Gulf in 2002, following Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji\u2019s visit in 2001. Both were a prelude to the current $46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) under the ambit of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI, 2015). Understand Chinese expansionism from Chinese perspective: India reads and interprets China\u2019s policy and action in the neighbourhood, particularly South Asia, as directed against itself, or as \u2018anti-Indian\u2019. The context of China\u2019s approach\u2014the larger picture emerging in East Asia, Northeast Asia and the Pacific\u2014is often lost in din. What is obscured is why China is staking claims and what underlies the rationale of territorial \u2018salami slicing\u2019, \u2018historic rights\u2019 and \u2018One China\u2019 policy. The answer is writ in post-1978 China, which had been following moderniser Deng Xiaoping\u2019s 24-character principle of \u2018biding its time\u2019 as it \u2018got rich\u2019. But that did not stop China from stoking a familiar theme of humiliation\u2014\u2018One Hundred Years of Humiliation\u2019, as China calls it (following the Opium Wars of the 19th century). Though never colonised in the manner of India, China\u2019s \u2018middle-kingdom\u2019 complex (where it imagined itself as the centre of the world) has raised its head, that of China wronged by the Western powers. For example, Hong Kong\u2019s reversal to China as a Special Administrative Region (SAR) in 1997 was framed as a redressal of the wrong. China\u2019s policy in the 1990s and 2000s to \u2018keep a low profile and bide your time\u2019 (taoguang yanghui) has metamorphosed into to \u2018do something\u2019 (yousuozuowei), with aspirations of becoming a \u2018Comprehensive National Power\u2019 (zonghe guoli) by 2050. China is claiming ambiguous \u2018historic rights\u2019\u2014\u2018cow\u2019s tongue\u2019 or the \u2018nine-dash line\u2019 in the South China Sea\u2014which goes back to the 15th century. China is stirring a hornet\u2019s nest in the East China Sea, claiming that the disputed Senkaku Islands (as known to the Japanese) or Diaoyu Islands (as known to the Chinese) belong to China. Seen in this peculiar context, Doklam or South China Sea, CPEC or East China Sea, Tawang or Senkaku Islands, the theme is a familiar one, where \u2018China rising\u2019 is increasing hinging on South Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia and the Pacific. As China sees it, it is not undermining India or Japan, the Philippines or Australia (rumours go there are unofficial talks between China and Vanuatu for a military base in Vanuatu, which Vanuatu denies but Australia is concerned about), but contesting on the back of history, as it chooses to interpret it. India needs to view the totality of not just what is happening in its own neighbourhood alone. The Quad (informal Security Dialogue between America, India, Japan and Australia), America\u2019s pivot and Japan\u2019s \u2018Asian Security Diamond\u2019 and even Australia\u2019s eagerness to be part of Malabar naval exercise, are important responses\u2014and India will need to pick and choose as well as keep a strategic balance, as it buys time. Economic strength as key driver of power: \u201cIt\u2019s the economy, stupid,\u201d is key to India\u2019s long-term engagement. China is proof that economic strength is the key driver of power. Beijing\u2019s power status emanates from its forex surplus and its double-digit growth up until 2010, and growth at 6.9% (2017) is still high by international standards. According to the Asian Development Bank (ADB), developing Asia would need $26 trillion from 2016-30, or $1.7 trillion per year (double the $750 billion estimate by ADB in 2009). It is Beijing\u2019s cheque book that is filling the blank. Economics is causing unprecedented alignments. In the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte has normalised relations with China despite the history of bad blood over the South China Sea. In 2016, the Philippines won the landmark arbitration case at the international tribunal in The Hague, but today, Duterte\u2019s ambitious three-trillion-peso \u2018build, build, build\u2019 infrastructure plan banks on $24 billion support from China. In Malaysia, Najib Razak, on the cusp of elections (May 2018), has shored up his popularity because of mega-infrastructure plans, including the $13 billion East Coast Rail Link (2017) connecting the east coast to Port Klang on the west coast\u2014backed by China. In the ASEAN, Cambodia\u2019s long-time strongman Hun Sen has emerged as the poster-child of ascendant China, casino to real estate to infrastructure, including the recent $57 million bridge, backed by China. In the medium and long term, it is economic strength that will give India economic and military muscle (with a few good partnerships with allies along the way). In that sense, in the grand equation of Sino-Indian relations, in a role-reversal of sorts, India buys time to \u2018bide its time\u2019. The author is Singapore-based Sinologist and adjunct fellow at the Institute of Chinese Studies, Delhi. Views are personal.