One of the recurring themes in Bollywood cinema is that of long-lost siblings reuniting. Recently, India seems to have found some new siblings - in China. Among other things discussed during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's recent visit to the mainland, New Delhi and Beijing, Bangalore and Chengdu, and Calcutta and Kunming, were, respectively, declared sister cities. The twinnings make some sense: New Delhi and Beijing are capitals with huge populations and long and rich histories; Bangalore and Chengdu are both information technology and manufacturing hubs; and Calcutta and Kunming are both entry portals to South Asia - there is even a plan to build a highway between the two, through Myanmar, Bangladesh and northeast India, in order to boost trade in the region. "Sister-city agreements are a popular form of diplomacy, meant to promote understanding between countries," says D.S. Rajan, director of the Chennai Centre for China Studies. Their importance would seem a little diminished, however, by the fact that China has now established such agreements with more than 2,000 cities around the world. According to an official statement: "The two countries have not only agreed to establish sister-city relations, but also have expressed their intention to create mechanisms for its implementation." You want something even vaguer? Well, the phrase "people-to-people contact" has appeared - with striking regularity, but no elaboration - in suitably lukewarm media reports. It may be that the memory of the last time India showered sibling affection on China, in the guise of plans for the "Shanghaisation" of Mumbai, in 2005, still lingers. All that ever came of those was a rash of slum demolitions and some new skyscrapers - perhaps not surprising, in hindsight, given that the whole Shanghai dream blueprint was based solely on one report, Vision Mumbai, by the management consultancy firm McKinsey. Rajan is optimistic though. "Such an agreement … is a good sign for relations between the countries," he says. "Hopefully, this will soften the atmosphere at a strategic, political level." In Bangalore, though, most people are reserving judgment.